Our Column from this months Keynsham Voice:
During the first 11 days of December the leaders of over 140 nations around the world will gather together in Paris to thrash out an international deal to tackle climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
President Obama, Vladimir Putin and David Cameron will be among the presidents and prime ministers rubbing shoulders to talk about the greatest threat facing global peace and stability.
The aim of the talks is to achieve – for the first time ever – a universal global deal on tackling climate change, which will be fair and equitable for all countries across the world. Ninety seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is happening, and that it’s due, in large part, to mankind’s activities.
They also agree that the world urgently needs to prevent global warming exceeding 2C above pre-industrial levels. This undoubtedly means that all countries will have to take action to limit and even reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Whilst governments are looking at wholescale policies like decarbonising our energy supply (burning less fossil fuel), encouraging more energy efficient transport and investing in new technologies, we can all do our bit to help reduce emissions.
It’s not true that the problem is so big that individual actions won’t make a difference. Every positive action helps to take a small amount of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) out of our atmosphere. And if everyone takes little steps, they will add up to big changes.
What can we do? Firstly, we can reuse, repair and recycle more. There’s a lot of energy in ‘stuff’, and every time we buy something new we’re helping create more GHGs. We can replace our lightbulbs, insulate our homes, turn down our thermostats and use less hot water. All of these things make sense for the planet and our pockets.
There’s one other thing we can do. Producing meat accounts for 15% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. If we all commit to eating a little less, having a regular meat free Monday for instance, it’ll make a really big contribution to tackling climate change.
It will also be good for our health. In the UK, on average, we eat twice the amount of meat that is recommended for a healthy diet. Pledging to eat a little less – whether by going veggie once or twice a week, or just cutting down the amount of meat we put in our meals – is a win-win: good for the planet, and good for us too!
Published in Keynsham Voice December 2015, www.keynshamvoice.co.uk