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The Department of Energy actually has a calculator to tell you how much greenhouse gases you produce on a daily basis.
WHAT IS A CARBON FOOTPRINT? The amount of greenhouse gas you generate by an activity or process. In other words, what impact you make on the environment measured in metric tons of carbon dioxide (C02). How much greenhouse gas do you produce while going through your daily activities such as driving, electricity use, and heating your home?
WHAT EXACTLY ARE GREENHOUSE GASES? Bottom line: Without Greenhouse Gases to maintain Earth’s temperature, it would be too cold for habitation. We need Greenhouse Gases but…we’re tromping heavily with our carbon footprint boots and that’s making the temperature too warm. Hence, the Greenhouse Effect mutates into Global Warming and that’s taken us from “We really should consider renewable energy” to “We MUST implement renewable energy NOW”.
CARBON DIOXIDE IS A GAS SO IT’S HARD TO WRAP MY HEAD AROUND METRIC “TONS” OF CO2…HOW MUCH IS THAT REALLY? The tonnage doesn’t really matter as much as what you can do to reduce that weight. The average homeowner who drives to work, comes home each evening to a household of four, and flies once a year on vacation has an average carbon footprint of 17 tons of C02. That’s not counting what you breathe out…that’s the just excess CO2 you’re using that, multiplied by millions, contributes to Global Warming.
On the flip side, by taking simple steps like changing your light bulbs, driving 10% less, buying Energy Star appliances, you can cut your personal damage from 17 to 7 tons…and that’s not even counting installing solar panels on your house or business!
By taking that additional solar step, you not only zero out your own personal carbon footprint but you create a SOLAR FOOTPRINT, which lessens the damaging effects of others. Then you are not only serving as a role model for others, but you’re negating their damage until they take responsibility for their own footprint.
TRANSFORM YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT INTO A SOLAR FOOTPRINT. If you own your own home, take advantage of the tax and other incentives available and install a Solar System on your own roof. Even if you rent, you can still be a powerful Solar Champion by urging your local businesses and schools to seriously consider taking their Renewable Energy efforts to the next level.
It can be done. It’s already begun. One footprint at a time.
Climate monitoring is vital to further advance our understanding of the complexity of the climate system and its predictability. The data and associated climate information that are collected and disseminated to users, keep all stakeholders informed of the state of the climate and the natural environment.
Climate is sometimes referred to as “average” weather for a given area. The National Weather Service uses data such as temperature highs and lows and precipitation rates for the past thirty years to compile an area’s “average” weather. Climate.org seeks to provide reliable information on climate change, energy and the environment. The site is regularly updated with recent news and articles.
Climate change is with us. A decade ago, it was conjecture. Climate change and the energy hunger of the developed world and newly emerging economies like China and India are driving forces behind higher food prices, which directly affect the poor in a country like Egypt.
As the First Lady has stated it in her Opening Address on Saturday, the rich subsidize the transformation of food into biofuels, thus subsidizing the burning of food of the poor to drive the cars of the rich! Climate is the atmospheric condition in a certain location near the surface of the Earth. Is there such a thing as a global climate ?
Climate change and related impacts are becoming increasingly relevant to environmental, economic and security issues. This raises convergent points of interest and thematic platforms for those interested in confronting this global challenge from a multidisciplinary perspective.
Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge facing the world today. Rising global temperatures will bring changes in weather patterns, rising sea levels and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather. Climate change is the single biggest environmental threat facing our planet. Burning too much coal, oil and gas pollutes the atmosphere with greenhouse gases that heat up the planet.
Temperature, humidity, and rainfall, which are discussed hereunder, are the most important elements of the country’s weather and climate. Temperatures range between 70F and 90F (20C to 33C).
Climate simulations at NCAR have shown that changes in the Sun’s intensity explain less than a third of the global warm-up during the last century. The most likely explanation for a warming Earth is the greenhouse gases emitted when fossil fuels are burned. Climate data are used extensively in airport design and aeronautical engineering.
Wind direction and speed, visibility, air pressure, temperature, icing frequency, cloud cover, humidity, the character of the air (fog, haze, smoke, and dust storms for example), and other elements are significant. Climate is the average daily and seasonal weather for a region; including temperature, precipitation, wind, and sunshine. Observations are compiled over several decades and are classified into climate zones.
Climate change can be caused by internal and external forces like the Earth?s orbit, solar radiation and greenhouse gas concentrations. The ice age is an example of climate change. Climate is the average weather usually taken over a 30-year time period for a particular region and time period. Climate is not the same as weather, but rather, it is the average pattern of weather for a particular region.
Climates change rapidly on mountains, becoming colder the higher the altitude gets. The climate of a highland area is closely related to the climate of the surrounding biome.
What small scale manufacturers and retailers must know about WEEE:
Glasgow based, indeed UK based, manufacturers and retailers of electronic equipment have been slow to catch on to their WEEE obligations. As this is the fastest growing area of waste in the UK it’s imperative that they take on board what they are legally obliged to do.
The environment agency does not distinguish between size of companies. For example a PC retailer could put together a single PC for a client on a bespoke basis. Under the WEEE directive this retailer now has obligations under the producer (manufacturer) regulations. They must join a producers scheme, take back the clients’ old PC (all retailers must offer a take back scheme on a like for like basis), and have the WEEE recycled at their expense and not their clients’.
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive 2002/96/EC of the European Union aims to minimize the impact of e-waste (discarded or end-of-life electrical or electronic equipment – EEE), on the environment by increasing re-use and recycling and reducing the amount of WEEE going to landfills. It is closely linked to the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive 2002/95/EC which seeks to limit the presence of six hazardous materials in electrical and electronic equipment.
There are 10 categories of electronic waste or e-waste that fall under the WEEE Directive, plus a further 2 which fall under RoHS, large and small household appliances, infact any sort of electical or electronic product. E-waste in this directive means electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) designed for use with voltage ratings of up to 1000V ac or 1500V dc. Hence manufacturers of all electronic goods used in day to day life, fall under the purview of the directive. Since the consequences of non-compliance are serious (including possible ban on doing business in EU countries), manufacturers need to be conversant with the WEEE and the related RoHS directives.
The WEEE Directive seeks to minimize the environmental impact of e-waste by mandating its collection, treatment, recovery and/or recycling to be facilitated and financed by producers. It also proposes that consumers be able to return their waste equipment free of charge. Manufacturers, therefore, need to assess the impact of these requirements and initiate appropriate action for implementation.
This involves setting up collection centers for e-waste, arrangements for transportation to the recovery and/or recycling centers, facilities for recycling and determination of final disposal options, all at the manufacturers expense.
Recovery and recycling of electronic waste is specialist work, recycling plants must conform to minimum standards.
It is very important for a manufacturer to also understand the importance of certain pre-sales actions which must also be adhered to in order to meet compliance of the WEEE regulations.
Design equipment which can be dismantled into the smallest possible parts and components. This will facilitate recovery of the parts for reuse; a more economical proposition than say, recycling.
Ensure labeling of products adheres to the requirements of the WEEE Directive including a “Do Not Landfill” note.
Reduction of hazardous material content in the product greatly reduces the need for expensive recovery efforts. It also contributes to overall environmental conservation. For this reason, the importance of RoHS compliance of products and processes cannot be over emphasized. The sooner manufacturers recognize this fact; the better their profits will be long term.
Further, the WEEE Directive is based on Article 175 of the EC (European Community) Treaty – the Treaty establishing the European Union. This allows member states to include additional products so long as they countries adhere to European Community laws governing overall trade and commerce within and beyond the EU. Manufacturers must stay abreast of more environmentally sound practices and current WEEE changes. They also need to be aware of the implication of such changes on their businesses.
At Go Green, we offer solutions for a variety of Environmental issues. Please click on the following link to contact us.
Low-carbon means less greenhouse gases emissions, especially the carbon dioxide. Low-carbon economy is an economic model based on the low power consumption, low pollution and low-emission. It is another major progress for human society after the agricultural civilization and industrial civilization. The essence of Low-carbon economy is to use energy efficiently, exploit clean energy and pursuit of green GDP, the core of it is the energy technology innovation, system innovation and the fundamental change of concept of human survival and development. The concept of Low-carbon economy was firstly seen at government document in the UK in 2003 the Energy White Paper called our energy future: creating a low carbon economy. In the matter of systemic talking about a low carbon economy, it should be traced back to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992 and Kyoto Protocol in 1997.
Low-carbon economy is proposed with the background of the challenges to human survival and development due to the world’s climate warming. As the global population and economic scale growing, environmental problems caused by energy use constantly has been recognized by people. In this context, many new concepts such as carbon footprint, low-carbon economy, low-carbon technologies, low-carbon development, low-carbon lifestyle, low-carbon society low-carbon World and low-carbon city appear, at the same time, new policy turns up. In December 3, 2007, the United Nations Climate Change Conference formulated the Bali road map, which calls for developed countries reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% -40% in 2020. Bali road map is a landmark and plays a positive role on moving towards a low carbon global economy.
The theme of the 2008 World Environment Day is to change the traditional concepts, the implementation of low-carbon economy, which is put by United Nations Environment Programme. In the same year in July, eight countries in G8 summit said they would seek the other signatories who had signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to work together to achieve the long term goal that reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050. Thus, the low-carbon economy based on the low power consumption and low pollution would become the world’s hot spots.
In the UK companies covered by the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (previously known as the Carbon Reduction Commitment) have until 30th September to register with the Environment Agency who is operating the scheme on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
With less than a month to go, around 50% of companies affected have registered either as a full participant or as an information provider. This leaves many thousands of firms facing fines and other penalties.
Currently the prevailing sense if one of apathy or ignorance regarding the existence of the CRC, let alone its impact.
In essence the CRC attempts to encourage greater energy efficiency by means of placing an additional cost on carbon emissions, requiring organisations to measure and report on these, and by use of league tables to show which organisations have performed better than others.
The impact on IT
How then, does all this affect IT? Quite directly is the straightforward answer. In many service businesses and organisations the top 3 sources of power consumption are
Plug Load (all power consumption via devices that are plugged in)
In most organisations Plug Load is predominantly IT related, PCs, monitors, printers, faxes, copiers, network equipment and servers. In addition IT makes a significant contribution to the requirements for cooling with many server rooms requiring up to 150% more power for cooling the heat generated by servers, than for actually running the servers.
It should be clear that any business looking to reduce both their power bills and their liabilities under the CRC scheme should be looking at their IT environments as a key part of their strategy. Greenocity Ltd, a specialist in providing advice to businesses about improving their IT related emissions, have discovered that while general business awareness of the CRC scheme is low, knowledge of the scheme within IT departments and CIOs is almost zero.
Unless and until IT becomes an active participant in organisations’ energy efficiency strategies, these strategies will be operating with one hand tied behind their backs. It is therefore imperative that organisations need to ensure that:
Their IT organisations understand the implications of the CRC scheme
IT is given responsibility for the Carbon Emissions it produces, and provided with the incentive to reduce the emissions.
Energy Efficiency becomes part of the overall IT strategy, along with availability, customer service etc.
With the nature of IT replacement cycles extending over a number of years, and the requirement for IT constantly increasing, organisations that bring their IT functions into their carbon reduction early will find that IT can start to contribute towards delivering the reduction in carbon emissions; those companies that do not involve IT will find that their IT functions may well be increasing the level of their emissions, simply through a lack of awareness and focus.
So what can IT actually do?
There are a number of approaches that IT can adopt, including PC power management (an extremely cost effective and straightforward method of reducing power bills and carbon emissions .
Other solutions are more involved and need to be considered within the overall IT strategy. Initiatives such as virtualisation, cloud computing, thin clients, data centre design and consolidation can all contribute to a more energy efficient IT environment as well as simplifying the IT administrative burden.
One of the unique aspects of this legislation is that for organisations that truely embrace it and its aims, it will lead directly to lower power bills, an improved bottom line and a greener environment.
The ISO 14001 aims to reduce the environmental carbon footprints that many businesses leave behind today because of not taking the right steps to be environmental sustainable. This standard promotes the decrease in the waste of necessary business resources and also reduces the pollution that can sometimes be a by product of a business.
About ISO 14001
The most updated version of the ISO 14001 was released in the year 2004 by the International Organisation of Standardization (ISO), which was attended by members from all the committees from around the world. In order for a company to be awarded the ISO 14001 standard certificate, an external auditor has to audit the company by an audit body that has been accredited by an accreditation body. The certification auditors are required to be accredited by the International Registrar of Certification Auditor and the certification body has to be accredited by the Registrar Accreditation Board in the USA or by the National Accreditation Board in Ireland.
The structure of ISO 14001 is very much like the ISO 9000, which is management standard, so these two standards can be implemented side by side to achieve the best results. As a part of the ISO 14000 family, which deals with different aspects of environmental issues, ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 14002 deal with environmental management system (EMS). ISO 14001 gives the requirements for the EMS and ISO 14002 gives the basic guidelines for EMS.
Environmental Management System with ISO 14001:2004
The EMS, as per the requirements of the ISO 14001, enables the company, may it be of any size, location and income to:
It helps the company improve its environmental strategy and this positively affects their environmental performance. It helps in identifying and controlling the environmental impact that the activities, services or products of the company might have. And it helps in carrying out a systematic approach to set environmental targets and objectives, to achieve these and also to demonstrate that they have been achieved.
How does it work?
ISO 14001 does not specify or chalk out a definite level that each business has to reach. If the performance was determined, then it would have to be done for every specific business. But that is not how it works and has a very different approach, like:
The ISO has various standards dealing with environmental issues. ISO 14001 deals with a framework provided for a strategic and holistic approach to the businesses environmental policy, actions and plans. It gives the general requirements for the EMS. This also states the reference to the communication requirements for the communication of the environmental management issues between the company, stakeholders, the public and the regulators. As these standards are not company specific, any and every business can undertake them as long as they are dedicated to the continued and improved environmental performance and they have a commitment to comply with the set norms.
According to evolutionary theory, sheep get bigger in order to survive winters and to reproduce; but this isn’t the case on a remote island in Scotland. There the wild Soay sheep have gotten smaller over the past 25 years. According to a study published in the journal “Science”, climate change has made the Scottish winters shorter and thus baby lambs don’t need to put on as much weight in the first few months to survive. As these smaller lambs grow into sheep and mate, environment and evolution intertwine. The globally large problem of climate change is producing smaller animals.
According to Russian and U.S. scientists, Siberia’s Lake Baikai, the world’s largest, most biologically diverse lake, is facing severe ecological change because of global warming. The worst problem is that the lake’s food chain is dependent on algae. Shorter ice periods slow algae growth and algae are the principal food for crustaceans, which are the principal food for fish, which are the principal food for Baikai seals. Because the seals mate and give birth on ice, they could be forced into the water before molting, drastically reducing fertility. Doing nothing, however, is not a seal of approval.
According to environmental experts, the diverse coral reefs of the Coral Triangle will disappear by the end of the century if action isn’t taken to fight climate change. If the reefs disappear, so will the coastal economies supporting approximately 100 million people in Indonesia; Malaysia; Papua, New Guinea; the Philippines; the Soloman Islands; and Timor Leste. The Coral Triangle includes 30% of the world’s reefs, 76% of global reef-building, more than 35% of coral reef fish and numerous species of coral. Preventing this disaster requires regional attention to overfishing and pollution, as well as worldwide action on climate change. Climate change requires change.
According to the “Global Humanitarian Forum”, climate change disasters kill about 300,000 people a year and cause about $125 billion in economic losses – most being agricultural. The Forum also estimated that 325 million people are seriously affected by climate change and that number is expected to double by 2030. Rising sea levels, desertification and changing rainfall patterns reduce access to safe drinking water and food – which increases disease. About 99% of those who die because of climate change live in developing countries – countries which generate less than 1% of the greenhouse gases causing climate change. More than climate has to change.
An independent Australian researcher and scientist has recently turned their attention to investigating and bringing out the truth about Global Warming. What they found shocked them. Climate change is happening now and there is no escaping it. Read their findings below:-
“Much more likely than not, global warming is upon us. It is prudent to expect that weather patterns will change and the seas will rise, in an ever worsening pattern, through our lifetimes and on into our grandchildren’s…Nearly everyone in the world will need to adjust. Citizens will need reliable information. So it is an important job, in some ways our top priority, to improve the communication of knowledge”. – Prof. Spencer Weart
The fact is we aren’t being told the whole truth about global warming. For a start, our best climate scientists are being muzzled, harassed and forbidden from talking to the press about the things they know but dare not say. On top of that, fossil fuel companies have been avidly campaigning to spread misinformation and confusion about climate change and global warming…. After all, the last thing they want is control or limitation over their industry…
Yet, nearly every week now a shocking climate catastrophe hits the news… Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, mega-droughts in Australia, the Asian tsunami, laval mud oozing uncontrollably out of the ground in Indonesia, stunning melting of sea ice in the Arctic, the collapse of massive ice shelves in Antarctica, floating icebergs off New Zealand’s coast, accelerating glaciers in Greenland, and only this month, the earthquake off Japan measuring a massive 8.1 on the Richter Scale they are all (yes, even the seismic activity) signs of spiraling climate change… and, we ain’t seen nothing yet!
Truth is, climate change is not some far-way problem that our kids will have to deal with, as scientists at first thought it would be. Information that has only come to light in the last few years strongly suggests that it could get a lot worse very, very quickly. It could even be bad enough to threaten our food and water supplies, and is a looming threat to low-lying, heavily populated coastlines around the world….
Already we are seeing South Pacific islands submerging under the onslaught of rising seas levels.
Every day climate extremes are being recorded around the world that dramatically exceed official predictions. Groundbreaking research continues to uncover fundamental truths about climate that have yet to be incorporated into climate models and predictions. While many official scenarios still assume that changes will unfold in a gradual, linear fashion, newly understood climate forces have the potential to create rapidly accelerating, exponential shifts.
And fresh evidence about Earth’s climate past has only recently revealed that centuries of slow, creeping variations in our planet’s climate history have been punctuated by stunningly rapid change. No longer is climate seen as an inherently stable system that gradually shifts from one state to another. Our climate system has shown that it is capable of responding to relatively small upsets with radical instability and upheaval. Could it be possible that it is happening again? My research suggests that it is.
“Large, abrupt and widespread climate changes with major impacts have occurred repeatedly in the past, when the earth system was forced across thresholds. Although abrupt climate change can occur for many reasons, it is conceivable that human forcing of climate change is increasing the probability of large, abrupt events.” – Prof. R. B. Alley
But scientists have been a bit late to wake up. It was not until 2005 that the phrase ‘tipping point’ appeared in publications on climate, implying that it could change not only rapidly, but irreversibly. Such tipping points indicate a threshold of change beyond which the system loses its stability and transforms spontaneously into a radically new state….cold to hot, warm to freezing, wet to dry, calm to chaotic. It is now understood that even small creeping changes…like current global warming… can induce sudden, irreversible flips from one climate state to another.
We are now seeing possible tipping points in the melting of polar ice caps, and the thawing of tundra, both of which contribute to the warming that triggered them, and dramatically accelerating global warming further. In this way, rather than steady, gradual changes, what we could be facing is an abrupt rearrangement of our climate.
A report by the U.S. National Research Council first suggested in 2002 that abrupt and potentially catastrophic climate changes are not only possible but likely in the future.
“The world is teetering on the brink of abrupt climate change: a change that will be so rapid and
unexpected that human and natural systems will have difficulty adapting to it ”
- National Research Council.
The real question is what does it mean for our future?
It is no longer easy to deny that the climate is changing. The risk is that it may change quicker than we can fully understand or accept it. Trouble is we can’t really afford not to act now… We could easily be caught unprepared for this.
Right now in Australia, for example, we are heading into yet another El Nino event, of continuing drought conditions and extreme heat. El Nino events are becoming progressively more frequent and more intense with climate change, and are tipped to become the new “normal” climate for countries bordering the south Pacific. So we can anticipate tightening water resources and widespread failure of food crops in Australia. We will be forced to rethink the way we use…and waste… many essential resources that we have, until now, taken for granted.
My research into the latest facts on climate change reveal that this just one small aspect of the monumental climate shocks that are on the cards. Others who know, like me, are alarmed at what lies ahead. Unfortunately we missed the opportunity to avert this crisis with minor tweeks to our lifestyle and behavior, like changing light bulbs or catching the bus now and then. This late in the day we should be seriously preparing for the shocks ahead, because time is running out.
We need to rethink the way we live our lives if we want to have any future at all.
This is a volatile world. If climate shifted abruptly in the past, not just once, but repeatedly, it’s inevitable it will happen again. The question is, when?
Many parents want to teach their children about renewable energy and energy efficiency early in life because once they get in the habit of it, it will be a habit they continue to follow for the rest of their life. But where should you start when teaching renewable energy for kids?
A good start would be defining exactly what renewable energy is. You can suggest they make a list of non-renewable and renewable power sources and build from there. Some examples would be:
Non-Renewable: Oil/Gas, Natural Gas, Coal, Nuclear
Renewable: Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Hydro/Water
Explain to them how renewable energy comes from natural forces. It is different from fossil fuels as it does not make greenhouse gases or other pollutants.
You can further explain how the mass production of electricity using renewable energy sources has only recently become more popular. Some of the reasons why it’s becoming more popular include: climate change caused by pollution and fossil fuels are all being used up and becoming more expensive.
A great idea is to teach kids about energy efficiency. Have them make a list of all the powered devices they use for a day such as TV, computer, lights, etc. and for how long, and if possible the wattage of each device. If they can’t get the wattage, you can look up the average wattage for each device for demostration purposes. Do a rough calcuation to show them how much power they’re using in a day.
Now have them do an ‘energy conservation’ day where they turn off devices when they’re not using them, turn off lights when not in a room, turn down the heat/AC a couple degrees, etc. Now recalculate the daily wattage and show them how much energy they saved with a few simple changes.
Another great idea is show them how installing a solar panel or windmill can generate electricy for their own home. It’s not as expensive as you might think. You don’t need an expensive commerical system. You can build your own for £100-200 and your kids could even help if they’re old enough. The less they take energy for granted, the better.
These lessons will stick with them (especially at such an impressionable age) and they’ll be using these practices for the rest of their life. Teach renewable energy for kids, the sooner the better!
When humans cut down trees or burn fossil fuels, they release extra carbon into the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect. Mass deforestation around the world at an unprecedented rate is making the problem worse year by year.
Unfortunately, due to this climate change the earth is getting warmer as temperatures at the Earth’s surface have increased by an estimated 1.4°F (0.8°C) between 1900 and 2005. The past decade was the hottest of the past 150 years and perhaps the past millennium. The hottest 22 years on record have occurred since 1980, and 2005 was the hottest on record.
The Kyoto Protocol on cutting carbon dioxide emissions, believed to be the key cause of global warming, expires in 2012 and does not require major developing nations to make reductions. In addition, the US has rejected it. Increasing car usage around the world is leading to carbon dioxide emissions increasing not decreasing. As incomes rise in India and China, they are obviously looking at car ownership as a status symbol and the benefits that it brings. With nearly 2.5 billion between these 2 countries, this increased car ownership could cancel out any gains made in the West through reducing factory and car emissions.
Scientists and those in the know predict that climate-induced floods, rising sea levels, more frequent and intense hurricanes, famine, drought and conflict could also reverse recent gains in reducing poverty around the world and that the USA and UK will be affected by all or some of the above.
Climate change presents a significant challenge to the UK and to the international community. Recent Climate Change Conferences in Montreal and the G8 and the Gleneagles Summit have attempted to co-ordinate the international response to climate change.
There are also enormous opportunities if we are willing to take action. Government, business and individuals all have a part to play, and all of us will benefit from rising to the challenge of reducing the harm to the environment.
While some of the effects of climate change may be positive, such as longer growing seasons in certain countries and longer, hotter summers in the UK. These positive impacts are unlikely to be sustained as the globe continues to warm. Similarly, many developing countries are even more vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change and less able to adapt due to lack of money and will power