A changing climate will affect many more areas of our lives. for example:

  • As the climate warms new areas of the world will become attractive for tourism (for example Canada and Northern Europe) which could well have an impact on our tourism industry
  • The effect of water shortages worldwide - not just from the impact of climate change but also the result of a growing global population and changing food habits - is likely to result in even more political instability in places like the Middle East and central Asia, with a knock on effect on oil production and our energy security. This may be exacerbated by refugees from low-lying countries who are fleeing the direct impact on their homes of rising sea levels.
  • Agricultural patterns will change, having an impact on our food prices and therefore our basic cost of living.

It is time that we took this seriously. We may not be a huge contributor to global CO2 as an island, but on a per capita basis we are among the highest emitters in the world - much of this because of the fossil fuel transport embedded in our island lifestyle. We have an obligation under the Kyoto protocol to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, but even more, we owe it to ourselves to do all we can to reduce the degree of climate change that happens.

glacierThe Big Thaw: When temperatures rise and ice melts, more water flows to the seas from glaciers and ice caps, and ocean water warms and expands in volume. This combination of effects has played the major role in raising average global sea level between four and eight inches in the past hundred years, according to the IPCC.
 - environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/big-thaw

Things we could do today:

The Government could start to take seriously the goals that were set in the Energy White Paper of 2011: to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 30% below 2008 levels. This is completely achievable but does require a plan and political will. We should all be attentive to our own emissions - there are plenty of things we could reduce with virtually no impact on our lives, for example packaging, single-use grocery bags, conserving energy in our own homes, keeping our cars in good condition so that they run efficiently. This is a conversation that has been very slow to start on the island, but this is an increasingly urgent issue for the island and in fact for the whole world.

Climate change is not primarily a scientific concern, it is a human concern. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report points out that it is already affecting global economics and creating huge social issues. It is something that will have an impact on us all.

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