Why is climate change important?
Climate changes have always been with us throughout the history of the Earth. What is important now is that there is an acceleration in global warming, in large part due to the action of man: specifically through the increased generation of greenhouse gases that accumulate in the atmosphere and produce heat.
What are greenhouse gases?
CO2 is the principal emission, produced by burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil. It is usually measured in terms of parts per million. Currently, the global level of CO2 emissions is 386 ppm and it is increasing between 2-3ppm a year. The global level currently stands at 390 ppm and increases by 2-3 ppm annually. By adding methane, the total level is 440 ppm.
Why is there such controversy over the concept of climate change?
There is a consensus that there is an increase in CO2 taking place and thereby a progressive warming of the earth. However, there are different opinions on the impact of this process – the temperature levels that will be reached, the pace of increase, the impact of this increase on sea levels, the earth in general and different species, and over the steps needed to face this situation. The debate involves both ethical and political considerations and revolves around when and how action should be taken.
Why is the temperature increasing?
The so-called “Greenhouse Effect” is a natural process whereby certain gases present in the atmosphere, among them CO2, retain part of the radiation that we receive from the Sun. This enables more or less stable temperatures over time. However, an increase in these gases produces more heat retention and thereby an increase in the temperatures, with all the consequences this implies for the natural world and man himself.
The use of fossil-based energy such as oil, gas and coal, which contain carbon, releases CO2 to the atmosphere with heating (1 atom of carbon unites with 2 of oxygen). Our civilization follows an ascending dynamic where rise energy consumption as a result of the population growth has a significant impact.
What are the consequences of global warming?
A warmer climate will have a direct impact on agriculture and the availability of water resources. Sea levels will rise, in consequence of the accelerated process of melting the polar ice caps. At present, it is estimated that without far-reaching measures to reduce emissions, the average global temperature will increase 4 °C by 2050, with very serious consequences.
What is the solution to global warming?
According to the scientists, the main feasible alternative is to reduce greenhouse emissions as soon as possible. Emission reduction measures have a retarded impact, so that global temperatures would continue to rise for a time, even if reduction measures are in place. The later these measures are taken, the more difficult it is to achieve reductions in time. Currently, the goal set by scientists is to limit global warming to +2 ºC.
What are the available tools to reduce emissions?
There is a wide range of alternatives, including electricity generation via clean and renewable sources such as wind, sun and marine energy, as well as new technology such as CO2 capture and storage (CCS). An important role is also played by energy efficiency (programmes and new technologies that assist energy savings in the home and at work) and the development of electric vehicles.
How can electricity companies help to reduce emissions?
Electricity companies can have a major impact, as a result of the different technologies they employ. Thermal electricity generation produces large quantities of CO2 which escape into the atmosphere and contribute significantly to global warming. Companies such as IBERDROLA, which have focused heavily on renewable energy, can reduce their emissions to a large degree.
What do increased CO2 emissions have to do with me?
Your home generates more than a million tonnes of CO2 a to the atmosphere every year and this level is continuing to rise. You can take part reducing your emissions with this tips.
What is the emissions trading market?
This is a mechanism created by the Kyoto Protocol, involving the trading of CO2 emissions certificates. Governments set emissions limits for industry and these certificates are issued to companies that can be bought and sold in the market.
What is the role of the United Nations in the climate change negotiations?
Since the early 1990s, the United Nations has coordinated negotiations on climate change, through annual summits of member countries. The negotiations reached a climax in 1997 with the Kyoto Protocol, by which signatory countries committed to reduce their emissions by 5% for the period 2008-2012. The United States signed the Protocol but did not ratify it, although it is an active member as a reflection of its size and influence in relation to emissions.
When and where was the last COP celebrated?
Doha, capital of Qatar, hosted the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP 18) between November 26 and December 7, 2012.