Wind Farm Myths

Myth: Tens of thousands of wind turbines will be cluttering the British countryside Fact: To obtain 10% of our electricity from the wind would require constructing around 12,000 MW of wind energy capacity. Depending on the size of the turbines, they would extend over 80,000 to 120,000 hectares (0.3% to 0.5% of the UK land… Continue reading Wind Farm Myths

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Wind Power

The power of wind is a renewable energy source that will never run out, emits no greenhouse gases or other pollution, and could be a cost-effective alternative to fossil fuel energy and nuclear power. That means that wind power, along with other sustainable forms of energy generation, will be part of the solution to global… Continue reading Wind Power

Solar Power

The sun provides all of the energy for life on Earth, powering plants, animals and human activity. Solar power systems allow us to generate electricity from sunlight. This can be direct conversion through photovoltaics or indirect through mirror arrays. Photovoltaics are small cells that convert solar radiation into a stream of charged electrons. These photovoltaic… Continue reading Solar Power

Sequestration

Sequestration is the process of pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and storing it somewhere safe where it will not escape and contribute to climate change. Reducing the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere is a necessary part of stopping climate change. Major changes need to happen to stop further emissions from contributing factors… Continue reading Sequestration

Nuclear Power

Nuclear power plants generate electricity in almost the same way as traditional fossil fuel-based power plants. Both heat water into steam, which powers a generator that produces energy from charged electrons. It is the method of heating the water that is the major difference. Fossil fuel plants burn coal, oil or gas to make heat,… Continue reading Nuclear Power

Green Infrastructure

‘Green infrastructure’ means sustainable versions of the fundamental facilities that serve society. Schools, hospitals, energy generation, transportation and communication systems are all part of the infrastructure that supports local, national and global economies and societies. Making these systems low-carbon intensive would go a long way to stopping climate change. Currently, buildings use about half of… Continue reading Green Infrastructure

Green Cities

Imagine living in a real jungle, not a concrete one. You could look out of your office window and see buildings covered in solar panels, vertical gardens ascending the walls, dropping fruit and herbs down for your lunchbreak. Enter the world of green cities, where entire towns take action to make their communities more sustainable… Continue reading Green Cities

Ethanol

Ethanol is made by fermenting plant sugars or the by-products of petroleum processing. Traditionally used as both an alcohol and a fuel for heat and light, today ethanol is employed as a transport fuel. Because it can be derived from renewable resources such as plant matter and organic waste, ethanol can replace the fossil fuels… Continue reading Ethanol

Biochar

Biochar is a form of charcoal that is made by burning organic matter in a combustion chamber with limited oxygen, a technique known as ‘pyrolysis’. Pyrolysis makes the wood, manure, or crop waste used in the process more structurally stable, making biochar difficult to break down. This means that biochar can remain in the same… Continue reading Biochar

Psychology

Science has shown us the reality of climate change and the urgent need to act, so why haven’t we? Are we rational enough to understand the problems, and achieve solutions? Or might we be programmed to shut down when faced with the overwhelming scenario of total ecological collapse? Behavioural studies reveal that when we are… Continue reading Psychology

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Water Shortage

Water shortages have flow-on effects, such as decreased food production, which leads to humanitarian crises and environmental refugees. Melting ice in mountain snows and glaciers, increasing droughts due to temperature rises and salt-water intrusion due to rising sea levels will greatly reduce the world’s fresh water supplies. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) now… Continue reading Water Shortage

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Rising Sea Levels

Sea levels have been rising slowly for the past century. This rise is 40% due to thermal expansion of the oceans, because as global warming heats the seas, the water expands. 60% of the observed sea level rise is caused by runoff from melting ice that results from rising global temperatures. Sea levels are currently… Continue reading Rising Sea Levels

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Oceans

Besides rising temperatures and higher sea levels, climate change will affect oceans through changes in current circulation, ice cover, fresh water run-off, salinity, oxygen levels and water acidity. The global oceans are at their hottest temperature since records began, and have been warming by approximately 0.1 degree Celsius per decade. That might not sound like… Continue reading Oceans

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Melting Ice

As the average global temperatures rise, the Earth’s icy extremes are disappearing. Both polar regions are losing sea ice, and glaciers and permafrosts are melting around the world. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that average air temperatures in the Arctic have warmed at twice the global rate. In addition, the pace of… Continue reading Melting Ice

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Food Production

Food production is threatened by water shortages, as well as extreme weather and rising sea levels as a result of climate change. Hunger has driven many drought-stricken farmers to tap into non-renewable water sources such as underground reserves. When these sources dry up, agriculture will have to cease, placing millions at risk of starvation. In… Continue reading Food Production

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Extreme Weather

Climate change means that the weather is changing over the long-term. One of the most dangerous aspects of this change is that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense. Storms, heavy rains, heatwaves, droughts and cyclones are all likely to increase over the next hundred years, with associated problems such as floods, reduced… Continue reading Extreme Weather

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Environmental Refugees

Environmental refugees are people who are forced to move away from their homes because the local environment has changed such that it is not longer possible too survive. Climate change is causing more frequent and more extreme weather events, causing homes to be destroyed. Global warming is also causing sea levels to rise to the… Continue reading Environmental Refugees

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Economic Impacts

Climate change will have disastrous economic, as well as ecological cost if no action is taken on emissions. If no action is taken on emissions, there is more than a 75% chance of global temperatures rising between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius over the next 50 years, with a 50% chance that average global temperatures… Continue reading Economic Impacts

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Climate Change by Continent

Below is a regional breakdown of the main impacts of climate change by continent in a business-as-usual scenario. Additional resources are provided with specific country-by country breakdowns. Africa By 2020, 75 – 250 million people will face severe food and water shortages. More famines will force farmers to become environmental refugees. Towards the end of… Continue reading Climate Change by Continent

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Climate Change and Extinctions

Climate change has already degraded conditions for many species, including people. Climate change could carry off 20% to 30% of all species on Earth before the end of the century. In addition to our other activities, such as hunting and destruction of habitats, our greenhouse emissions have lead to nearly 1 in 4 mammals worldwide… Continue reading Climate Change and Extinctions

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Population and Global Warming

Some argue that while the burning of fossil fuels is the proximate cause of global warming, a growing population is the primary cause. By 2050 there will be an estimated 9 billion of us on the planet, up from today’s 6.7 billion human beings. These extra bodies will require ever more environmental resources to satisfy… Continue reading Population and Global Warming

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Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels are the accumulated remains of prehistoric plant and animal bodies that decompose undisturbed over millions of years to form hydrocarbon deposits. Once they are used they cannot be replaced for tens of thousands of years, hence they are a non-renewable energy source. These deposits may be coal, oil, petroleum or natural gas, which… Continue reading Fossil Fuels

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Deforestation

Deforestation is the process of reducing forested areas to make way for non-forest uses of the land. Forests are vast collections of carbon, stored both in the trees themselves and in the soil and leaf-litter surrounding them. This is why reforestation can sequester carbon emissions (CO2) to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and thereby… Continue reading Deforestation

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Climate Change Positive Feedbacks

Climate Change ‘positive feedbacks’ are the effects of climate change that feed back into the climate system and reinforce the severity, speed and impact of global warming. The strength of positive feedbacks is very difficult to predict. For this reason, many positive feedbacks were omitted from the most recent IPCC report, which limited itself to… Continue reading Climate Change Positive Feedbacks

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Global Warming Causes

Global warming is caused by increasing the intensity of the greenhouse effect, which is the process by which the Earth’s atmosphere traps some of the Sun’s energy, warming the Earth enough to support life. Humans contribute to the greenhouse effect through by burning fossil fuels and deforestation. These actions are amplified by a rising population,… Continue reading Global Warming Causes

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Temperature Rise

New projections indicate that the Earth’s surface is likely to warm by between 2 – 7°C by 2100, a higher level to that predicted in the IPCC 4th assessment report. Improved scientific modelling and newer economic data shows a lower chance of emissions cuts than had been projected in the earlier scenarios. However the lower… Continue reading Temperature Rise

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Rate of Climate Change

According to the IPCC’s 4th Report, the melting of the Greenland ice-sheet (a major contributor to sea level rise) could not be included in sea-level predictions because we had no model for such a complex “non-linear” process. Their solution was to discount, for now the potential contribution of a three km thick mountain of ice… Continue reading Rate of Climate Change

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Climate Impacts by Degree

Global Climate models have been used to calculate various likely future scenarios. Consequences are related not just to the average global temperature but also to the length of time we remain at that temperature. Unfortunately, once C02 is in the atmosphere, its warming effects continue for centuries. In his book and Website Mark Lynas offers… Continue reading Climate Impacts by Degree

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Global Climate Models

Researchers use global climate models to calculate what will happen to temperatures, winds, water currents, and other parameters in each cube under various scenarios, for instance a doubling of the current atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. These calculations are used to predict the likely impacts of global warming, including temperature rises and rates of change. Essentially,… Continue reading Global Climate Models

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What is the IPCC?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is part of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). The IPCC is a scientific body, its purpose it to review and assess the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information on climate change, however it does not conduct any research itself. Nearly… Continue reading What is the IPCC?

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Palaeoclimatology

Palaeoclimatology means the study of climates in the distant past, using ice cores, sea sediments tree rings and the fossil record. Paleoclimatologists research climate events and trends in the past in order to gain better understanding of the current and likely future of the climate. Because palaeoclimates, or climates in the past, were not originally… Continue reading Palaeoclimatology

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