Autumn term 2010|
Climate change is becoming an ever more important issue in our lives. We have come to realise that the modern ways of man place an enormous amount of stress on the Earth that nature simply can’t handle. Some of the climatic problems that are developing today, such as global warming, ozone depletion and El Nino, will have severe effects on our ecosystem.
The world is warming up. As we burn up the planet’s coal, oil and gas reserves, and cut down its remaining forests, greenhouse gases are pouring into the atmosphere. The delicate balance of atmospheric gases that sustains life is thickening, trapping more and more heat and irreversibly changing our world. For all the technological gloss of the 21st century, we are still living in an industrial era, pumping out emissions from coal, oil and gas. Worse, our energy is supplied through a criminally wasteful, centralised energy system. Most of all energy generated in power stations is lost as waste heat up the chimney and along transmission lines. But there are clean, affordable and proven solutions for the most polluting sectors: electricity, transport, industry and domestic. An important thing to realise when thinking about climate is that, atmospheric and oceanic circulation carries different climatic features all over the planet. For example, the emissions of greenhouse gases from industry in the Northern Hemisphere may contribute to increasing the Greenhouse Effect, which has implications for the entire planet. The days of "dump it in your own backyard" are over, as we realise that there is only one big planetary backyard! An increase in our industrial, agricultural and energy practises in the last 150 or so years has contributed to a build up of Greenhouse gases (Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Chloroflorocarbons (CFC'S) and Nitrous Oxide) in the atmosphere. These...