Never before has it been so important for us to sit up, take notice, and take action on climate change. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on climate change states that
Changes in climate over the past 100 years are to be considered unprecedented and largely as a result of increased greenhouse gas emissions.
For years, human activities have driven the burning of fossil fuels, releasing greenhouse gasses to the environment. Akin to the glass panels of a greenhouse, these gasses trap heat within our atmosphere, a process also known as ‘global warming’.
The impacts of climate change reach far and wide, including increased air and ocean temperatures, melting of the polar ice caps, rising sea levels, increased rainfall and flooding, and increased occurrence of extreme climatic events.
If we continue to release these gasses into the atmosphere at the same rate as we have done over the past 100 years, we should expect unprecedented climate change over the next 100.
In Ireland, we have seen some very real evidence of climate change. Over the past 100 years, the mean temperature has increased by over 0.7 degrees (source: climateireland.ie). Whilst this may not sound all that much, the effects of such an increase can be dramatic.
If we continue on this path, ocean acidification will have harmful effects on our marine ecosystems, sea levels will rise, we will see more intense weather systems, water shortages will become more common, water quality will be reduced and animal and plant ecosystems will be affected, altering our landscape forever.
Although in size we are a relatively small country, we can still play our part in reducing climate change. Ireland has committed to transitioning to a competitive, low carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050. By this time, Ireland plans to have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 80% (of 1990 levels) across the electricity generation, built environment and transport sectors.
Play Your Part
Each and every one of us can have an impact on climate change. Consider the choices you make each day: how you travel, the food you consume, the products you use.
What you may feel to be small steps can have a considerable impact on your carbon footprint. Actions such as showering rather than bathing, putting lids on pots and reducing hob heat, drying clothes outdoors rather than in a tumble dryer, and turning appliances off rather than placing them on standby are just some of the ways in which you can play your part.
For more ideas on how you can reduce your carbon footprint visit the Environmental Protection Agency website, epa.ie. Friends of the Earth also has a footprint calculator you can use to calculate your impact.
Playing Our Part
At College Group, we are serious about our commitment to reducing CO2 emissions and protecting our environment. We continually invest in the latest technology and processes to help reduce, not only our personal carbon footprint, but the carbon footprint of our country.
We have long since adopted the use of tallow as a fuel and subsequently reduced our dependency on imported fossil fuels for energy purposes. We work tirelessly to minimise carbon emissions from our business. Our investment in biodiesel is also a significant sustainability project, as a switch to this green fuel can lower carbon emissions by up to 85%.