Air Clean Up
What Is Climate Change?
Jun 13 2021
Climate change is the term used to refer to the long-term and large-scale shifts in global temperatures and weather patterns that our planet is currently experiencing. Although climate change is a natural phenomenon of life on Earth and has been occurring long before the dawn of man, its recent acceleration is a substantial cause for concern.
That’s because the scientific community believes that anthropogenic activity over the last centuries or more has caused a massive increase in the amount of harmful greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere. This, in turn, can cause an elevation in the temperature of the air and oceans, as well as melting of the polar ice caps, rising of sea levels and an upturn in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.
What causes climate change?
Climate change should be differentiated from changes in the climate, which can be caused by a whole host of natural phenomena. However, the term “climate change” is generally used to refer to the human impact upon our environment, which has been caused by a substantial increase in the emissions of gases like carbon dioxide and methane since the Industrial Revolution in the 18 century.
Some of the biggest causes of those emissions are exhaust fumes from vehicular transport, smokestacks from power plants, factories and other industrial facilities and the agricultural sector. As such, it must fall to these industries (and the private businesses which operate within them) to address their environmental policies and curb their carbon footprint as much as possible.
What can industry do?
The best thing that industrial companies can do is to follow the lead of climate scientists, who advise a number of courses of action. First and foremost, firms can look to optimise their current setup to make it as energy efficient as possible, which will not only consume fewer precious resources, but also result in less emissions as a result of their practices.
Secondly, businesses can also strive to transition to more environmentally friendly and sustainable forms of energy generation. This means installing solar panels or harnessing wind energy to power their premises and equipment, as well as paying to offset any carbon emissions that they cannot avoid. They should also investigate the possibility of implementing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology into their infrastructure to remove as much CO2 at the point of source before it has a chance to infiltrate the atmosphere.
What the future holds
Thankfully, inroads are being made into the issue. China, which is the world’s biggest polluter in terms of CO2 emissions, has spent more in investing in renewable technology than all other nations combined in recent years. In the UK, the government have set a target of 2050 to achieve a carbon-neutral state, by which time any emissions will be compensated for by reforestation, soil management and CCS technology.
However, many critics believe that the approaches adopted by the UK, China and almost all other major nations do not go far enough. Activists like Greta Thunberg and Greenpeace are calling for more concrete measures and more stringent targets to be introduced in a bid to slow climate change and prevent global warming from exceeding 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels. Whether that will happen remains to be seen, but it’s clear that the world is in dire need of urgent action to address the situation.
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