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Understanding Climate Change

30th November 2015 @ 6:06am – by Adrian Leighton
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I don't know about you but thinking about Climate Change and Global Warmer sometimes just leaves me cold. It seems just one more thing alongside terrorism, budget cuts and health warnings to keep us in a perpetual state of anxiety. On Saturday morning at St. James Church we were given the opportunity to understanding more clearly what all the noise, of which we will hear a lot more when the Paris Climate Change Conference gets underway this week, is really about.

Dr Sharon George

from the Environmental Hub Unit at Keele University came to make us wise. With her science background she was able to unpick the science of climate change for us and although some of the numbers may have flown by us like a flock of starlings, the pattern was clear – IT IS HAPPENING. Furthermore, it is happening at a speed and intensity that, whatever the Conference decides, it will be hard to reverse.

She explained the process and effect of greenhouse gases of which Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane and Nitrous Oxide are the most prominent. It's all about keeping a proper balance with the energy that the Sun throws at us and this is now not happening big time. Although we think of climate in terms of weather the Global Warming we are warned about it likely to make us much colder. The reason is that the energy which is out of balance goes into the oceans and the waming of oceans changes the saltiness and this in turn effects the currents. So we will have to say "Bye Bye Gulf Stream" and hello "Arctic Cold". We are more north than we think.

One of the frustrating things for us in this country is that the technology is available to make the bad boy of coal into the good guy. It only needs long term investment which because politicians and business are more concerned with short term economics and effects, lacks the commitment.

However, as was pointed out, this is a global issue and can only properly be addressed by all nations together. Will the conference come up with any significant decisions? Conflicting national interests makes this a very difficult call.

Meanwhile here in Audlem we may feel powerless in the face of problems of such huge dimensions. It is however, worth knowing that the total is made up of many individuals and therefore our contribution whether positive or negative is significant.

So what should we do?

  • Insulate our home to the highest standard we can. The less energy we need to generate the less the planet suffers.
  • Don't use our car so much (difficult but possible). Cycling and public transport might be possible.
  • Shop locally and buy locally produced products (as much as possible). The supermarkets will one day get the message!
  • Use our own bags when shopping (plastic bags use oil and do not degrade).
  • Make our concerns known and keep informed through online "people power" sites, such as 38Degrees.

But of course we have heard all this before – the difficulty is doing it. But doing it we must for our children and our children's children.

Adrian Leighton


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