HOW TO AVOID CLIMATE CHANGE

What do we understand by Climate Change?
Global solutions to avoid climate change
Measures to fight Climate Change from home
How to avoid climate change when leaving home
Why is climate change important?
Consequences of climate change on nature
How climate change affects species
Sea level rise
Longer droughts, destructive rains and farmer suicides
Climate change in the United States
What is the Paris Agreement?
What does the Paris Agreement include?
Causes of the US President’s Opposition to Climate Change
How does the departure of the US harm the Paris Agreement?
Ironically, the U.S. may lose out
What do we understand by Climate Change?
Climate Change is a change in the statistical results of weather patterns over a very long period of time (ranging from decades to millions of years).

It can refer to an average change in the temporal variation of weather or in the resulting long-term weather conditions (e.g. more or less extreme weather events).

Its causes can be of diverse nature: variations in the degree of solar radiation received by the earth, changes in the structure of the tectonic plate, eruptions of volcanoes and also the degree and type of human activity influence global warming.

In recent years we have seen how the words “climate change” have made headlines and have found their way onto the public agenda. There are those -from the business world, such as Ecoembes among others, politicians, from the Ministry of Environment and civil society…- who have already joined the commitment to combat this phenomenon. Others, however, still view the fight with some skepticism, considering that it is only “a passing fad”. It is true, climate change is a trend, but it is not for nothing.

Global solutions to avoid climate change
At the international level, it is certain that climate change is one of the greatest threats facing humanity in the fight against it. And that the time is now or never. Faced with this reality, various agreements have been reached to take measures to contain the causes that provoke it – mostly the emission of greenhouse gases – and to mitigate its effects, especially adverse weather phenomena due to the warming of the Earth’s surface:

Comply with the Kyoto Protocol which contains the objectives to combat global warming from 2014 to 2020. A first period ending in 2012 was signed in 2008, after which actions were reinforced that initially aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the world by 5.2%, compared to 1990 levels.
To make the Paris Agreement work, which replaces the previous one, and to achieve its objectives: to keep the increase in the average temperature of the Planet below 2ºC, and if possible below 1.5ºC. The IPCC recommended in its Fifth Report to reduce the accumulated CO2 emissions from all these various anthropogenic sources since 1870.
To carry out the energy transition towards a model of production and consumption of energy accessible to all, clean and sustainable.
Increase energy efficiency and reduce energy demand, both in electricity and air conditioning and in transport.
Combat deforestation and implement sustainable practices in agriculture and livestock.
Achieve more sustainable mobility within and between cities, as well as by sea and air.
To implement ecological and sustainable criteria in construction and building.
Measures to combat Climate Change from home
At the domestic level too, each and every one of us can contribute to reducing emissions by putting these habits into practice:

Consume fresh, nearby and seasonal products. This avoids wasting energy, and therefore releasing emissions, by reducing production and transport activities.
Performing household tasks in a more sustainable way. For example, rationalizing the use of your appliances by running the dishwasher or washing machine at full load and with cold water, and using the waste heat by turning off the fire or the glass-ceramic cooker a few minutes earlier.
It is also important to look at the energy label of this type of appliance when buying it and follow the advice of the brand to use the most ecological programs.

Reduce consumption, reuse purchased products and recycle waste by separating it and depositing it in the appropriate containers or at a clean point.
Isolate homes to consume less energy. Tricks such as lowering the blinds at night when it is cold or during the day when it is very hot contribute to using less heating and air conditioning. It is also important to have good window and door closures to maintain the temperature.
Use LED bulbs. According to the Spanish Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving, IDEA, they can generate savings of up to 80%.
Hire renewable energies. As the website of the initiative #PorElClima Community says, they produce energy without emitting CO2 emissions and they renew themselves naturally since they come from the sun, the tides or the wind, among other sources.
The #PorElClima Community also recommends using thermostats to regulate the temperature, minimize the use of the stand by, use the stairs instead of the elevator, among others.

 

How to avoid climate change when leaving home
According to the IPCC, annual anthropogenic GHG emissions are directly related to the energy supply sector (47%), industry (30%), buildings (3%) and transport (11%). In Spain, the transport sector accounts for 25% of total greenhouse gas emissions and almost 40% of emissions from the diffuse sectors:

In the city, avoid the private car and instead use public transport or bicycles. This could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 11% within 35 years according to a study by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy ITDP and the University of California Davis.
Car pooling or renting. It’s getting easier every day as citizens become more aware and agree to make the same trips. In addition, electric car sharing services have been implemented in recent years in many Spanish cities.
Practice efficient driving, such as driving as much as possible in the longest gears and at low revolutions. In the web of the European Commissariat of the Automobile CEA there are more advices.
When making long journeys it is advisable to use the most sustainable means of transport at all times. In general, the train is the most sustainable means of transport, taking into account the number of people, the kilometers travelled and the emissions released, as it is estimated that it emits 14 grams of carbon dioxide and would transport the most people: 156.
Why is climate change important?
It seems to be a long way off, but the reality is that the effects of global warming are already palpable, especially in the Arctic Circle – which is warming twice as fast as the rest of the Earth – but also, to a lesser extent, are noticeable in other areas of the planet. These impacts include, among others:

The loss of species. WWF estimates that more than half of the species in the most biodiverse areas of the planet – such as the Amazon or the Galapagos – may disappear by the end of this century as a result of climate change.
Rising sea levels and the likelihood of flooding as a result.
The increasingly long and pronounced droughts
The increase in intensity and frequency of hurricanes and other natural disasters
The reduction in labor productivity due to increasingly harsh conditions due to extreme temperatures (especially in Southeast Asia, according to a report by the International Institute of Global Health, United Nations University). It is estimated that this drop in productivity could cost the global economy more than 1.8 billion euros by 2030.
The forced displacement of people who have and will have to leave their homes as a consequence -directly or indirectly- of any of the above reasons (climate refugees)
Consequences of climate change on nature
HOW CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECTS SPECIES
The increase in the average temperature of the planet, as a result of human action through the emission of greenhouse gases, is affecting the health of ecosystems in various ways.

One example is the migration of birds. In Spain, without going any further, we see how more and more storks settle for longer periods, sometimes including winters. Thus, many specimens have stopped their traditional trips to Africa, or at least they shorten their stays, because here they find warmer and warmer temperatures (and food in the dumps).

The unexpected sedentariness of some birds, just as happens with “invasive” species, can affect the entire food chain, putting the ecosystem as a whole in check and therefore impacting on the environment.

 

SEA LEVEL RISE
We hear about sea level rise, but why exactly does it happen? One of the causes of this phenomenon – perhaps the most obvious – is the process of melting of the “air conditioning” of the Earth: mainly the territories of Greenland and West Antarctica. In addition, the formation of lakes on the surface of this frozen layer accelerates the process, since the filtration of this fresh water acts as a lubricant for the ice currents and makes them slide faster towards the sea.

At the same time, the glaciers and ice caps melt and, contrary to what has historically happened after the summers, the ice no longer returns to its usual shape. Global warming is causing winters to be delayed and springs to be brought forward, so the ice is not fully recovered. On the other hand, and this is a factor intrinsic to the nature of water, the increase in water temperature causes it to expand and, as a result, the oceans take up more space.

LONGER DROUGHTS, DESTRUCTIVE RAINS AND FARMERS’ SUICIDES
A recent study published by the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Germany revealed that, in Europe alone, the extent of “dry regions” could increase by up to 26% if the average temperature rises by 3 degrees Celsius over the next 80 years.

Drought, which leads to problems such as famine and malnutrition due to lack of harvest, could lead up to 700 million people to leave their homes before 2030, according to scenarios contemplated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

When it does rain, moreover, rainfall can be much more destructive and wipe out farmers’ crops. In India, for example, massive waves of farmers’ suicides have been linked to climate change and its effects on their agricultural production. A study by the University of California concluded that for every degree the temperature rises above 20 degrees, there are 67 more suicides in the Asian country.

Since the COP 21 Climate Summit held in Paris in 2015, no one has doubted that climate change exists, that it is anthropogenic (caused by human action) and that it is urgent to combat it. Its effects affect us all and everywhere in the world. It is therefore the duty of all, governments, local administrations, international organizations, companies, NGOs and citizens to take action.

Climate change in the United States
In June 2018, President Donald Trump has declared his determination to take the US out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Since his arrival at the White House, Donald Trump has not stopped generating controversy with his politically incorrect and sometimes offensive decisions. So far he has shown us a strong character, a passionate attitude and indifference to criticism when he has taken social, political or economic measures.

However, now the implementation and viability of a global climate measure has been put at stake. From The Green Circular Economy we are going to try to analyze the causes and consequences of this news and try to give an answer to the following questions

Why has the President taken a position of denial? Is it crazy as all the media want us to believe? How does the US non-compliance hurt? What aspects does the Paris Agreement contemplate and why is the participation of the US citizenry so important?

Let’s get started.

What is the Paris Agreement?
It is a consensus pact within the United Nations Framework on Climate Change that establishes measures for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through mitigation, adaptation of ecosystems to changes in the effects of Global Warming.
It will come into force in 2020, the year in which the application of the Kyoto Protocol will end.
The agreement was negotiated by 195 countries and opened for signature in April 2016.
What aspects does the Paris Agreement include?
A control on the percentage of pollution emitted by each country on a global scale. In this control, the nations that participate and promote the agreement announce the results they obtain during the periods that have been established and participate in the subsequent negotiations.
It tries to reduce the exploitation of polluting fossil energies and to promote the use of renewable energies.
It encourages states that are in optimal economic conditions to finance and help developing states to better adapt to and cope with the consequences of climate change.

Causes of the US President’s Opposition to Climate Change
Donald Trump became president of the United States with the idea of fulfilling a very clear objective within his electoral program: to establish a protectionist policy that promotes the country’s internal economy and exports to the detriment of foreign competitors and import trade.

This is a measure that, from an objective point of view, does not necessarily have to be bad. In principle, it does so because it wants the best for its country and its people.

– “America First”- ok Donald Trump.

Apparently, pressure from Republican Party senators has had a lot to do with the outcome of the balance. People, who although they act in favor of the economy and the country’s internal industry, “seem to have forgotten” that Climate Change is not something that only affects one country, it affects us all on a global scale.

He has also put on his side, Scott Pruitt (the top official in the country who was appointed by Donald Trump to head the environmental agency) denying the human contribution to global warming.

All right Scott Pruitt, we’re all wrong except you.

How does the departure of the U.S. hurt the Paris Agreement?
Although the US is the second most polluting country in the world (second only to China), perhaps its abstention from participation in the Accord is more beneficial than harmful.

 

To begin with, before he became president, Donald Trump had made clear his lack of interest in environmental issues (always putting economic ones first).

Being the president of the United States, if he had continued within the Paris Agreement, he would have had the power to slow down or veto every measure of an economic nature that would have been applied for this purpose.

China, on the other hand, will fill the gaps in world leadership that the US will leave from now on. It will continue with its policy: leading the defense of free trade, reducing emissions from its industry, and taking the lead in the fight against climate change.

Ironically, the U.S. may lose out
Even if Donald Trump acted in this way to preserve his country’s economic interests, he may have made a serious mistake.

The collateral damage of this decision could result in a loss of credibility or negotiating power in trade or terrorism matters.

It will also affect thousands of jobs in the United States where Trump was voted for.

Finally, it should be noted that, as many companies (including Exon, Apple, Levis, Mars and Nike) have observed, maintaining and promoting a polluting economic model is not profitable in the long run.

It is not profitable for reasons of leadership, corporate social responsibility and, above all, business.

“Building an energy-efficient economy in the United States will ensure our country’s competitiveness and the position of American companies as leaders in the global marketplace, while doing the right thing for our planet,” the head of one such company told The New York Times.

Although attitudes such as those held by Donald Trump may offer us a discouraging international outlook, we all have to contribute to curb the consequences of Climate Change.

 

And you? What do you think about this global problem?