The problem is Climate change and Global Warming – something that will affect everyone and virtually all businesses.
In this post we will talk about some of the facts that have led to common misconceptions and misinformation; often peddled by the media.
What is Climate Change and what is Global Warming?
Climate change is simply a period in the Earth’s history where its average weather (climate) has altered for a length of time. Now here’s the rub; Climate is concerned with the average weather of a place taken over many years – usually 30+ years. If there is an unusually hot day or an unusual cold snap, this is weather and not climate (despite what the media might have you think!). If however the cold snaps began occurring every year and were no longer “unusual” but became more like the “normal” (over many years), then this might start to be considered as climate change.
It should also be noted that climate change has occurred throughout the Earth’s history. For example, 25, 000 years ago we’d all have been under an ice sheet, certainly in the north of Britain.
The land mass that makes up the British Isles has experienced all sorts of climates in the past from Arctic to Tropical in the geological record.
Global Warming is a period in the Earth’s history where the climate has heated up or is heating up. Currently the climate is heating up and this is usually what people are referring to when talking about Global Warming.
What are the causes of the current Global Warming?
It is generally now accepted by a vast majority of climate scientists that the current warming of the climate has been brought about by humans through an enhanced Greenhouse effect created by the burning of fossil fuels (predominantly). Fossil fuels, when burnt, release carbon dioxide and other gases that help trap heat from the sun in the Earth’s atmosphere (Greenhouse Effect).
Whilst there are other factors that can produce changes in the Earth’s climate, such as planetary orbital changes and volcanic activity, there is now overwhelming evidence pointing at humans as being responsible for the current warming. The burning of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution until the present day is what is producing Global Warming
How will it affect me and my business?
A warming of the climate will have a wide range of direct and indirect effects both on individuals and upon businesses, some of which are;
- More extreme hot summer weather presenting a risk to health for the elderly;
- A need to make greater use of air conditioning both for individuals and businesses;
- Increase rates of evaporation and reduced rainfall will lead to water shortages;
- More powerful and increased frequency of storms (especially in Autumn) leading to building structural damage, transport disruption and communication disruption.
- Increased risk of flooding from intense rainfall events, leading to property damage, power cuts, transport disruption and communication disruption.
- Rising sea levels leading to increased coastal flooding and erosion.
- It is also likely that there will be increasing amounts of legislation aimed at reducing carbon emissions which may lead to costs for businesses, although there is often financial assistance to accompany these. For example, the Electric Vehicle Charging (EVC) grants that are available to install charging points.
In general, it is certain that both individuals and businesses are going to be affected by Global Warming either directly or indirectly. Whilst sitting on an island in the Atlantic Ocean will make many of the future climate scenarios less harsh in the British Isles, it does mean that we will be more susceptible to extreme Atlantic storms.
Many businesses and individuals should look now to try and mitigate the future effects of a changing climate. Due to a “lag time” within the climate system, there are going to be effects that cannot be now prevented, and careful consideration of the likely effects should be undertaken to try and mitigate the risk to both businesses and individuals.
What can I do to try and help reduce Climate Change and Global Warming?
By reducing the amount of fossil fuel that is burnt, less greenhouse gases are released and there will be less warming of the climate.
5 Practical ways to help be part of the solution:
Use LED lamps in all your lights
They may cost more initially but the reduced energy usage combined with a longer lifespan mean that they not only help save the planet but also help save the pennies. LED lighting technology has come on leaps and bounds in the last 10 years and LEDs can replace pretty much any type of incandescent lamp. At Tomlinson Longstaff Ltd, we can help with lighting designs, give you information about the latest lighting technology and help advise you on ways to improve your electrical efficiency.
Better insulate your home / workplace and use modern efficient heaters
Keep the warmth in and turn down the thermostat. Better insulation will not only help you stay warmer in winter but will also help keep you cooler on those hot summer days.
Walk / cycle more and drive less
You’ll burn less fossil fuel but you will burn more calories! You’ll be fitter, feel better and have more fun. If you can’t walk or cycle, consider trying to use public transport whenever you can – you won’t need to worry about being on your phone and you’ll not have to think about parking.
Use electric vehicle(s)
More and more Electric Vehicle Charge points (EVC) being installed all the time – over 5,500 charging points added in the last 12 months alone! With electric vehicle technology continually improving, the price and convenience will mean more and more people are able to switch from fossil fuelled vehicles to electrically powered vehicles. There are grants available from the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to help pay towards the installation of charging points both for home owners and businesses. Typically, £500 towards each charging point is available under the OLEV scheme. There are still grants available towards the purchase of certain electric vehicles as well.
We are OLEV registered EV charge point installers. We can help advise you on getting grants, charge point installation and the different products that are available.
Consider using an environmentally friendly energy provider that supplies energy generated from renewable sources such as Hydro, solar or wind power
There are more and more of these energy providers and they are now very competitive in price and service compared to more “traditional” providers.
It is up to everybody to help play their part in reducing Global warming because everybody is going to be affected in some way – and one of the saddest aspects is that many of the world’s people who have played least part in causing the problem are going to be worst affected.
Make sure that you become part of the solution.
Contact us to find out more about electric vehicles, LED lighting and other ways to become more energy efficient.
Tomlinson Longstaff Ltd is an electrical contractor based in Country Durham, north east England. We offer a wide range of electrical services including design, testing, installation and maintenance.