"I see climate change as the greatest challenge facing Britain and the World in the 21st century"
"Climate change is the most severe problem we are facing today - more serious even than the threat of terrorism"
Quotes from Sir David King, the UK Government's Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government Office of Science from October 2000 to 31 December 2007
Put very simply greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap the heat from the sun. The higher the concentration of these gases the warmer the Earth gets. We have been releasing vast stores of CO2 by burning fossil fuels. These fossil fuels are the remains of ancient plants and animals which captured the CO2 in the atmosphere at a time when the global temperatures were much higher than now. This led to a reduction in atmospheric CO2 levels which in turn led to a reduction in temperature. By burning the fossil fuels we reverse the process.
We use fossil fuels amongst other things for transport (petrol and diesel), electricity, and heating. To significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions requires reductions in many areas at the same time. The biggest changes we can make are through improving energy efficiency - using less fuel in the first place, for example by insulating your house.
After making sure that the insulation of your house is good another part of the solution is moving to alternative, low carbon, heat sources, like wood or solar for example.
There are many other things that we can do as well as insulating our houses and moving to low carbon heat sources. Here are a few suggestions:
- Eat less meat - agriculture accounts is the largest single emitter of greenhouse gases and the lion's share of this is down to raising animals.
- Switch to a 100% renewable electricity supplier like Good Energy or Ecotricity
- Walk or ride a bike if you can
- 2 people sharing a small car is better than going by bus - Liftshare
- Going by train is better than travelling by bus (or even 2 people sharing a small car)
- Flying results in very high CO2 emissions
- Use low energy lightbulbs and appliances