The importance of the effect of business activities on the environment has long been acknowledged. Until relatively recently, business activities were generally thought to be in conflict with environmental management, but many companies, irrespective of size or type of business, now recognise that a more efficient use of resources can bring substantial cost savings (e.g., raw materials, waste disposal, energy and transport).
The importance of climate change is now widely recognised both within the UK and around the globe. The agreement of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris was a landmark universal agreement by all UN Member States. The agreement is for a reduction in emissions and to keep global warming below 1.5oC compared with the ‘preindustrial era’ (circa 1850s). Currently it is believed that the increase is already at 1.1 oC. In 2020 COP 26 is planned for Glasgow in November to continue the momentum.
It has just been acknowledged that we have experienced the highest temperatures recorded, with the last decade achieving the highest average temperatures at the surface of the planet.
To you or I a one or even two degree difference may seem insignificant but to the planet and the smallest organisms within ecosystems this difference can be the difference between life and death.
Greenhouse gases trap in the suns solar energy, with higher temperatures in the atmosphere melting the Antarctic ice at record speeds, resulting in higher sea levels and changes to the underground water currents which drive our weather.
It’s not all about global warming, it is climate change which is the problem. Over the last decade evidence is there to show an increase in droughts in some areas as experienced right now by Australia with the bush fires raging up to 40 metres high.
However, in other areas such as Deli are experiencing records cold temperatures, and areas such as the UK experiencing record rainfall and the flooding risks. Cliffs in Norfolk, one of our lowest lying counties, falling into the sea, leaving priorities on the verge of falling in to the sea.
Change to the environment can lead to health problems, with diseases common in tropical areas now spreading to other regions. Food supplies can be damaged by damage to crops by acid rain, droughts or as last year in the UK excessive rainfall harming crops such as potatoes.
Internationally seas and rivers are being contaminated with vast quantities of and non-degradable waste just floating to endanger sea birds and other aquatic organisms.
Organisations and individuals can all play their part in reducing greenhouse gas production and waste generation.
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