- Is climate change really happening and is it caused by us?
- What are the root causes of climate change?
Is climate change really happening and is it caused by us?
Due to the complexity of the issue, the mountain of evidence for and against is beyond the understanding of most of us mortals, but it must be said that the scientific community is almost unanimously converging on the fact that it is both happening and is caused by us. Without wanting to be part of this debate, we think that we cannot go on as we are and that we should be behaving more intelligently anyway.
Watch this great video which doesn’t set out to answer the “is it happening?” question, but rather discuss the possible outcomes and ascertain whether we should do anything regardless. A great Lodgecol viewpoint and is also a bit of giggle too!
What are the man-made root causes of climate change ?
Well, you could say that the main cause of climate change is the increase in greenhouse gases (GHGs). This is not the root cause however, as these gases come from somewhere, and what is causing that? You will never hear politicians say the following as it isn’t in their interests, but is actually true:
Firstly, globally we are consuming too much per person, be this water, energy, carbon, waste, plastics, electronics, landfill etc. This consumption is growing unsustainably and in reality, underlines all of our financial models which say that growth = good or put another way, increased consumption = good. The problem is that almost all of these activities emit GHGs. A key objective in achieving sustainable development is being able to dissociate economic growth from CO2 emissions.
Secondly, (and more controversially) the population has exploded from 1 billion in 1800 to approaching 7 billion today which clearly strains the resources. The world population was up until 1800 been largely stable and definitely sustainable. Since global consumption (and since it is not sustainable, GHG emissions too) is a product of these two numbers, you can see that this can only lead to trouble! Want to see an estimate of ‘live’ global population? Check it out for yourself!
In 32 years (1973-2005) the energy used per person increased by 15%, but the population increased by 64%, totalling an 87% increase in energy demand in this period. What this tells us is that reducing our individual footprint is important, but much more so is having less offspring!
Most of the growth of both energy consumption per person and population growth is seen in the developing world. A key argument in current climate change negotiations is that the developed world really has no right to tell the developing world that they cannot grow in the same way that it has done already. Much work is now being done to redistribute finances and help introduce new technologies to developing countries which allow growth but reduce the environmental implications.
Politicians will never publicly say so, as having less population and/or less consumption reduces revenues and employment. But what price are we paying? Is continued economic growth really a good indicator of a better life?