Coping with climate change

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  • Created by: keeels
  • Created on: 09-05-14 16:13
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  • Coping with climate change
    • Mitigation strategies involve taking action to reduce how much climate change occurs, e.g reducing emissions may help to slow the temperature increase, so less ice may melt and the sea level would rise less
      • Carbon tax- taxing companies or people who produce CO2. Increasing costs discourages overconsumption of energy.
      • Changing the energy mix- changing the mix of sources of energy, i.e lowering the proportion of energy made from fossil fuels and increasing energy from sources that produce less greenhouse emissions e.g nuclear power
      • Modified agricultural practices - cut methane generation from farm animals e.g by developing new types of feed
      • Emission cutting technologies - carbon capture and storage involves storing the CO2 produced (e.g by power plants) using methods like injecting it into geological formations e.g coal seams
      • Energy conservation - using less energy e.g switching off home appliances when they're not being used
      • Waste strategies - increasing the amount of waster that's being recycled, which should directly cut methane emissions from landfill sites
      • Tree planting - planting new trees create new carbon sinks so more CO2 will be stored as organic matter
      • Carbon offsetting - indiviuals and companies can calculate the amount of CO2 their activities are producing, then offset them by paying for activities that take up an equal amount of CO2 (like tree planting)
    • Adaptation strategies involve taking action the impacts that the changes are having, e.g sea levels are rising so defences could be built to protect vulnerable settlements
      • Lifestyle adaptation- people adapt the way they live to suit the new conditions, e.g planting new crops that will flourish in the new climatic conditions
      • Improved risk assessment - looking at the likelihood that people or property will be damaged by climate change impacts, and evaluating the need for insurance policies
      • Flood adaptations - building physical defences such as flood barriers to reduce the impacts of flooding, and having better flood warning systems
      • Water resource management- using freshwater resources more efficiently to cope with drought conditions e.g installing water meters in homes to discourage people from using a lot of water
      • Community awareness- educating local communities on the potential impacts of climate change. Emergency action plans can be tailored for specific communities
    • Some of these strategies need to be applied on a global scale (e.g changing the energy mix, introducing emission- cutting technologies) while others can't be done on a local scale (e.g community awareness, waste strategies
      • Many of the strategies have only a small impact on their own, e. energy conservation in homes, but when all the strategies are combined the impacts can make long term difference
      • Limitation - e.g building physical flood defences works whilst flooding remains below a certain point. If sea levels continue to rise defences like the Thames barrier won't high enough to cope with the higher flood waters
        • Side effect - e.g changing the energy mix would reduce emissions, but using more nuclear power would produce more nuclear waste. It's a long time before the waste becomes safe, so it's expensive and dangerous to dispose of.
    • Key players
      • Governments - develop strategies on an international, national and local scale.
      • Businesses - can be responsible for contributing to climate change, or can help to slow it down. They may lobby governments to reduce restrictions and allow them to continue producing greenhouse gases, or they may help by investing in new technologies to combat climate change
      • Non- governmental organisations - can have many roles and views depending on what they're set up to do and who their members are, e.g Greenpeace is an environmental pressure group that tries to persuade governments to recognise and take action against climate change
      • Communities and individuals - strategies developed on a larger scale are carried out at a local level, e.g a government may decide to encourage recycling, but the recycling is actually done by individuals
    • Kyoto Protocol
      • The Kyoto protocol was an international agreement between more than 180 countries to monitor and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2012
      • The agreement divided the countries into two groups - developed and developing
        • Developed countries agreed to cut emissions (overall 5%)
        • Developing countires didn't have to cut emissions, but needed to monitor and report their emissions
      • The agreement set up a market to trade in carbon 'credits' - all countries and businesses were given a limit on the emissions they could produce. If they produced less, they could sell the extra carbon credits - if they produced more, they needed to buy more credits. They could also gain credits by helping to reduce emissions in developing countries - so developed countries invested in developing countries to help them develop in a sustainable way
      • Four countries with the highest emissions (the USA, Australia, China and India) didn't sign up for the original agreement in 1997. The USA and Australia felt that signing would impact their economies and that the developing countries shoud have targets as well. China and India thought it would slow their rate of growth
      • Most joined the agreement in the end by there was still lots of criticism - some people felt the targets weren't high enough and others thought it was pointless if the highest polluters weren't included -THE USA


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