Response to Global Warming in the UK

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  • Created by: Megan
  • Created on: 29-04-14 10:51

EU Emission Trading Scheme

Emissions trading allows the governemtn to regulate the total amount of emissions produced, by setting the overall cap for the scheme, but gives companies flexibility to determine how and whree the emissions reductions will be achieved. PArticipating companies are allocated allowances but can emit excess of their aallocation by purchasinf from the free market. Conversly, a company that emits less than its allocation can sell its surplus. THe environemtnal outcome is not affected because the smount of allowanes is fixed. THe EU climate change programme attempts to address the eed to reduce CO2 through this scheme - members effectively make these savings within their own country, or can buy these emissions reductions from other couuntries

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Energy Production

Most of the UK's eletricity comes from thermal power stations (Gas 40%, Coal 33% and Oil 1.12%). A modern nuclear power station emits 16tonnes of CO2 per megawatt hours,compared with 356 tonnes for gas and 891 for coal. Nuclea power stations are cleaner in terms of greenhouse gas emissions but they cost a grreat deal to build and then need to deal with their radioactive waste. THis means they are more expensive once decommissioning costs are included in costing. France generates 75% of its energy by nuclear energy and this means the British Government is likely to replace older nuclear stations as they reach the end of their life.

THe energy industry is under increasnig pressure to reduce emissions of greenhous gases. CO2 emissions in the UK were 500tonnes in 2005. Some reductions will be acheivved by CCS, which is gainging growing attention among power and oil producers. One possibility could be to store CO2 under the North Sea.

Disused oil fields had the capacity to store upto 10years worth of the UK's total annual carbon emissions and old gas fields could hold 30years. Salt rich layers of rock beneath the sea floor (saline aquifers) can trap CO2 pumped down into them. At the moment, dumping CO2 in the North Sea is prohibited, but the UK government is pursuing amednments to relevent laws so CCS projects can be approved

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Renewable Energy Sources

  • Wind power is clean, sustainable and inexpensive but people dislike seeing them and see them as a form of environmental damage
  • Geothermal power is largely untapped - energy in the uppermost 10km of the Earth's crust is equivalent to 50,000 times the total energy stored in all of the world's oil and gas
  • The temperature a few metres below the grouund surface in the UK is around 12dc. Ground source heat pumps are now avaliable to pump this heat from below the ground to warm homes
  • Biodiesel to run vehicle engines with far lower CO2 emissions. Some companies manufacure it from used oil frrom restaurants. However, the switch has affected food supplis and raised prices
  • Excrement can be used to generate electricity
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Local Responses

  • Reduced use of air travel
  • Funding to reduce the amount of energy used in homes by improving insulation
  • Recycling schemes encourage reuse of cans, plastic and bottles
  • Agriculture is responsible for a fifth of the world's emissions so buying locally produced food
  • Energy rating new products like cars and washing machines to enocurage use of more energy efficient machinery
  • Walking/cycling instead of driving a car
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