WHAT IS CLIMATE CHANGE?
Climate change is caused by an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, in the earth’s atmosphere. These greenhouse gases (GHG) are naturally present in our atmosphere where they act as an insulation layer, maintaining the Earth’s temperature by trapping radiation from the sun. In fact, if it weren’t for these gases, the earth’s temperature would be around -18⁰C!
In the past, carbon emissions have been left to the natural carbon cycle; however, since the industrial revolution and our reliance on fossil fuels, humans have caused a significant increase in GHG emissions resulting in an imbalance in the carbon cycle. As atmospheric concentrations of GHGs increase, so too does the heat that they trap, causing instability in global climate patterns. It is predicted that this will cause higher average temperatures and longer periods of drought. It is also predicted that Australia will experience a reduction in rainfall totals and that more of the rainfall we do receive will be in storm events, leading to flash flooding.
AUSTRALIA AND CLIMATE CHANGE
While Australia’s overall GHG emissions are low compared to countries such as the USA and China, World Bank figures show Australians are among the worst GHGs emitters per capita in the developed world.
A major contributing factor to Australia’s high emissions is Victoria’s reliance on brown coal for electricity generation. Brown coal generated electricity is one of the dirtiest forms of electricity due to its high water content and low heat generation. It produces more carbon dioxide emissions than other non-renewable sources of electricity, such as black coal and natural gas, and significantly more carbon emissions than renewable forms of electricity generation, such as solar.
When considering how we can reduce the volume of GHGs we produce, it is important to keep in mind our individual contributions and take responsibility for our own actions. There are a number of ways we can do this, but the first step is to be aware that our everyday actions have consequences. Take, for example, your trip to work or school this morning. Did you walk, take public transport, or drive? Do you remember to turn the lights off when you leave a room? And do you leave electrical appliances on standby, or turn them off completely when they’re not in use? While these activities may seem minor, when all 23 million Australians forget to turn the light or computer off, it begins to add up! There are plenty of other ways to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, many of which will be addressed here in the coming months, so make sure to stay in touch.
At CarbonetiX, we believe in an integrated approach to climate change mitigation. The practical nature of our work allows our clients to understand their current energy and water usage. With the knowledge and support they need, users are empowered to make improvements to energy and water efficiency, save on utility bills, reduce their carbon footprint, and work towards a more sustainable future.