It is by now a well-known fact that humanity’s steady use of fossil fuels over the last few centuries has contributed extensive amounts of greenhouse gases back into the atmosphere. We’re now dealing with the consequences of our actions more than ever before.
When you turn the lights or heating on in your home, drive somewhere in your combustion-powered car, or cook dinner, fossil fuels provide the majority of this energy. It is no wonder then that people are worried about the effects of having such a reliance on these fuels that harm the environment.
According to studies, if temperatures increased by 4ºC compared to pre-industrial levels, sea levels across the world could increase by up to 10.8 metres. This is why world leaders are trying to limit rising temperatures to just 2ºC, a monumental task when the majority of our lives relies on energy from burning fossil fuels.
If sea levels were to rise, coastal regions around the UK are at risk of being submerged. Take Liverpool for example, whose iconic Albert Docks could be underwater if ice shelves continue to melt amid hotter temperatures.
It’s not just Liverpool that could be affected by rising sea levels, on the other coast of England, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne could see parts of the city submerged, including the Millennium bridge.
A potential rise in sea levels isn’t the only consequence of increased pollution. however. Poor air quality, which used to be a thing of the past, is still very much a threat if emissions are not regulated.
An independent study of UK emissions from 1970 to 2008 saw an 85% reduction in black smoke pollutants since 1990, but just a 9% reduction in CO2 emissions from 1990 to 2008.
While the CO2 levels have continued to drop since 2008, there is still a long way to go until these emissions are completely negated.
The UK has started to introduce ultra-low emission zones in densely populated areas and provided grants for households looking to switch to electric vehicles. Smog is still a real threat in densely populated areas when traffic and congestion levels are high. Major cities such as Birmingham and Manchester could be clouded in dangerous smog:
As weather events become more extreme, soaring temperatures could cause droughts to be more intense and longer-lasting than the UK has ever experienced.
According to a Met Office study comparing two 30-year periods of 1961-1990 and 1991-2020, the average temperature in the UK has increased by 0.8ºC. The amount of sunshine the UK receives has increased by 5.6%.
The number of days of air frost (when air temperatures drop below 0ºC) has reduced on average by 11.1 days annually, with some regions having seen this fall by up to 14 days.
To put this into perspective, we’ve created visualisations of what residents in London could expect the river Thames to look like following frequent long periods of sunshine with minimal rainfall.
As you can see, the images are a stark contrast to the London we see today. Current efforts to control emissions must continue before these images become a reality.
But it’s not all doom and gloom! Around the world, there are many positive projects that showcase our efforts to try and reduce emissions and repair the damage to the planet we have caused.
The aviation industry has collectively committed to going carbon neutral by 2050 (at the latest), through the use of Sustainable Air Fuels, investing in sustainability projects, and reducing waste created throughout operations.
Just this year, solar and wind power generation is finally growing at a rate that is in line with climate targets. The target for growth within solar and wind power is a 10-year average growth rate of 20%. Solar generation rose globally by 23% in 2021, with wind power growing by 14% in the same period. Together, both renewable sources contributed 10.3% of total global electricity generation, up by 1% from 2020 levels.
You too can help the environment by installing solar panels in your home. Installing solar panels can save around 1 tonne of carbon from entering the atmosphere annually due to decreased demand from fossil fuel power plants, all while helping to reduce your electricity bills at the same time. Get in touch today to start your solar journey with us.