There is very strong evidence to suggest that our climate is changing. Over the past 100 years the earth has warmed by 0.74°C and global greenhouse gas
emissions have increased by 70% since pre-industrial times (Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th assessment report 2007).
The most significant greenhouse gas is Carbon Dioxide (CO2
), but there are many other greenhouse gases. They are released by burning fossil fuels and deforestation. These gases trap heat and artificially warm the earth’s surface.
About 40% of carbon emissions in the UK are as a result of human activity. The biggest sources of emissions for most people are energy use in the home, driving and air travel.
Climate change affects everybody and it is imperative we all take action to reduce our carbon footprint.
How will it affect us?
Average temperatures and sea levels have already increased in the South East region. The region is likely to be effected by:
- Hotter drier summers, warmer wetter winters, higher sea levels and an increase in extreme weather events such as heat-waves, droughts and flooding.
- By 2080 it is predicted the English Channel will rise by 54 cm's.
Globally it is predicted temperatures may rise between 1.8°C – 4°C by the end of the century. It is predicted this will speed up the melting of glaciers, cause sea levels to rise and increase the frequency of extreme weather events like storms and flooding.
What is Gosport Borough Council doing?
Gosport Borough Council has an important leadership role to play in addressing the causes of climate change. The Council has developed a Climate Change Strategy which demonstrates its commitment to carbon reduction. In July 2008 the Council signed the Nottingham Declaration (PDF), a voluntary pledge indicating its commitment to address the causes of climate change and prepare for its impacts. For more information on the Nottingham Declaration click here.
The Council also joined forces with the Carbon Trust in 2008 to reduce its carbon footprint from Council buildings and activities. It set an aspirational target to reduce its carbon footprint by 30% over a five year period. Significant progress has already been made and the Council has reduced its carbon emissions by 13% (178 tonnes). This has been achieved by:
- Improving insulation in the Town Hall
- Reducing the Council's fleet mileage
- Staff energy awareness campaigns resulting in visible behavioural changes
- Buying greener and less polluting products.
All members of staff take responsibility for reducing the Council's energy and use of resources. Energy Champions have been appointed on each floor and undertake ongoing awareness campaigns to engage staff. New employees are issued with Climate Change Induction
leaflets to encourage them to develop environmentally friendly working practices.
The Council is putting plans in place to make sure it is prepared for climate change and more extreme weather events, so it can avoid disruptions to its services. Risk assessments have been carried out for all services and action plans are now being developed for those services deemed to be at high risk in the short term. New Council owned buildings will also be made more resilient to cope with more challenging weather patterns.
The Council also measures and reports its greenhouse gas emissions
Doing your bit
You may find it hard to believe that your actions will make a difference, because climate change is such a global issue. But there are plenty of ways you can help the environment and save money at the same time. Click on the links below to discover how you can help.
Reduce waste and Recycle
Travel wisely Use water wisely Green shopping
Energy Saving Trust