Update on Climate Change
22 June 2021
22 June 2021
The G7 nations agreed to step up action on climate change and renewed (developed countries agreed in 2009 to contribute $100bn a year in climate finance to poorer countries by 2020, however the target was not met, in part because of the Covid pandemic) a pledge to raise $100bn a year through to 2025, to help poor countries cut emissions. The G7 leaders also promised to help developing countries move away from coal.
Climate change activists and environmentalists have commented that the G7’s reaffirmation of the $100bn target doesn’t come close to addressing the urgency and scale of the crisis. With just under five months to go until the UK hosts COP26, global ambitions need to be raised and bold action is required now to cut emissions.
Global warming is attributed, since the mid-20th century, to the human created “green-house effect” or the warming that happens when the Earth’s atmosphere traps the heat radiating from Earth toward Space.
Life on Earth depends on energy coming from the Sun, and about half of the light that reaches the Earth’s atmosphere passes through the air and clouds to the surface, where it is absorbed and then radiated upward in the form of infrared heat. It is estimated that 90 percent of this infrared heat is absorbed by “green-house” gases and radiated back toward the surface.
Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide are some of the gases in the atmosphere that block heat from escaping. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution mankind has increased atmospheric CO2 concentration by 47%. This is the most important force of climate change, as the graph below shows.
The effects that were predicted are now occurring – rising sea levels, shrinking mountain glaciers, accelerating ice melt in Greenland, Antarctica and the Artic, shifts in flower and plant blooming times and longer, more intense heat waves.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was formed in 1988 to collect and assess evidence on climate change. Since then, it has produced a series of alarming climate models. Under these models, most of the planet’s ice cover would melt by the end of the century and trigger a cascade of irreversible consequences, including flooding strong enough to engulf entire cities.
By 2060, the cost of inaction on climate change is predicted to reach a staggering $44 trillion, with the highest anticipated GDP losses in the Middle-East, Northern, and Sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia.
There will be more extreme-weather events. In 2018, there were 14 extreme-weather events that resulted in more than $1 billion in damages.
Buildings, including our homes, are the third largest producers of carbon emissions in the UK today. Our homes alone account for 40% of all the UK’s carbon emissions.
There several steps we can take when thinking about carbon reductions and our homes, there include:
Retrofitting homes to be net zero carbon or at least 80% better performing than 1990 levels, by 2050, is very challenging, and understandably homeowners may feel overwhelmed by this challenge. Many homes will require a substantial package of measures which may not be practical or indeed affordable to undertake in one phase. Prime Meridian will assess the condition of your homes and using this data and information prepare a plan setting out the necessary scope of improvement measures. These improvements can be applied now or over a longer timeframe. Contact us for more information.