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Knowing the facts and the current situation we face surrounding the climate crisis enables us to tackle it head-on.
The sixth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report does not beat around the bush when describing the climate crisis that we face.
Shocking floods. Rampant wildfires. The highest global temperatures on record.
There is no doubt that the climate crisis is real; human behaviour is unmistakably warming our planet.
Without huge reductions in greenhouse gases over the next decades, average global surface temperatures will surpass the 1.5oC limit set in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. This threshold isn’t an arbitrary target set by world governments; it’s the point at which life on our planet will be irreparably changed.
The message is clear. Time is running out, but we all have the power to reduce our individual greenhouse gas emissions.
While natural events like volcanic eruptions contribute to climate change, the main drivers are through human activity and include:
As of July 2021, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere is the highest it’s ever been in human history, with 416 parts per million (ppm) recorded by sensors at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii.
Pre-industrial CO2 levels were 278 ppm, which suggests that humans are halfway to doubling the CO2 levels seen in the period between 1750 and 1800.
The annual CO2 concentration for 2021 is estimated to hit 416.4 ppm, taking into consideration a small decrease in emissions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Earth’s atmosphere once contained this much CO2 over three million years ago, when sea levels were several metres higher and trees grew at the South Pole.
The 2005 Paris Agreement set an internationally recognised target to keep global warming below 1.5C. The IPCC report explains that whatever scenario we are in with regards to extremely high emissions or low emissions, it’s virtually impossible to keep global temperatures under 1.5C.
The report also estimates that global surface temperatures are now 1.07oC warmer than they were between 1850 – 1900. Since 1970, these temperatures have risen faster than in any 50-year period over the last 2000 years, with 2016-2020 being the hottest five-year period since 1850.
Based on current emissions, the world is predicted to reach between 2.7oC and 3.1oC of warming by 2100.
Analysis by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that the average global temperatures in 2020 were 0.98oC warmer than the 20th century average.
You only need to read the news to realise that climate change is causing more frequent and severe hot weather events. These once occurred once every 10 years between 1850 and 1900 on average but will now likely occur 2.8 times every 10 years. If the world hits the 1.5oC warming threshold, this is predicted to occur 4.1 times every 10 years.
Heavy rain is now happening 1.3 times every 10 years, compared to once every 10 years 150 years ago. When global warming reaches 1.5oC, this will increase to 15 times every decade – more than once per year on average.
Melting polar ice sheets, glaciers and warming oceans are causing sea levels to rise. Since oceans take a long time to warm, most of this is already set in.
If warming is limited to 1.5oC, over the next 2000 years the global mean sea level will rise to between 2 and 3 meters above current levels.
If warming is limited to 2oC, this will reach between 2 and 6 meters above current levels.
One of the most well-known effects of global warming is that sea ice and glaciers in the Arctic are melting.
Between 2011 and 2020, annual Arctic Sea ice reached its lowest level since 1850.
In 1910, the Glacier National Park in Montana in the USA had 150 glaciers. In 2017, this number had fallen to just 26. The effects of melting ice will be felt by those that depend on melting glaciers to provide their drinking water, as well as habitat loss for polar bears, penguins, arctic foxes and other arctic animals
Dengue, the world’s quickest growing mosquito-borne virus, currently kills over 10,000 people and affects around 100 million per year. As global temperatures continue to rise, experts predict that Aedes aegypti which carry the disease will benefit from shorter incubation periods and thrive in areas that were once uninhabitable.
A recent study published in the scientific journal Nature cautioned that as global temperatures rise, dengue could spread to the US, higher altitudes in central Mexico, inland Australia and large coastal cities in eastern China and Japan.
According to the biennial Living Planet Report published by the Zoological Society of London and the WWF, the average size of vertebrate (mammals, fish, birds and reptiles) populations declined by 60% between 1970 and 2014.
This doesn’t refer to total animal populations, but the relative decline of different animal populations as they lose habitats and ecosystems are destabilised by human activity.
In the last 30 years, half of the world’s coral reefs have died as a result of rising global temperatures and human activity.
Coral is a complex organism, consisting of multiple symbiotic structures that work in collaborative harmony. This includes a seaborne algae which creates the energy the coral needs to survive; when the water heats up, the algae living in the coral’s tissues leave or die off. This leaves the coral “bleached” as it becomes white or pale, leaving it at risk from disease.
This has a massive effect on the thousands of species who rely on coral reefs as their primary habitat.
Use your power and swap your diesel for fossil-free HVO fuel.
It’s not going to save the world from the climate crisis alone; but small steps can help make a difference.
It’s simple. Rethink. Replace. Refuel.
There’s no need for costly retrofits like its electric or hydrogen-powered counterparts. HVO requires no engine modifications or new infrastructure and reduces up to 90% of net CO2 emissions straight away.
A simple change now can bring huge benefits for our planet.
We can help you on your journey to net zero. Call 0330 123 3773 to do your bit today.