Pathways to a Low Carbon and Sustainable Future

With ever increasing concern about Climate Change and the increased occurrence of weather-related disasters such as flooding, droughts, hurricanes, typhoons and the consequences of these events causing landslides and damage to property, loss of valuable and productive land and loss of life, it is important to consider how best to minimize the adverse impacts of Climate Change in the future. Individuals and Society should strive for net zero carbon emissions and if possible should explore opportunites to be carbon NEGATIVE – i.e. sequester more carbon than is actually emitted.

There are many approaches that can be taken from changing diets, methods used for transport to improved performance of energy use in buildings. Some approaches can have a direct and immediate impact such as switching off unnecessary appliances and thereby save money. Others can be effective even with existing technology to ensure, by careful management, that resources are used effectively. Yet others may require initial investment but can pay back handsomely in the medium to long term.

It is easy to be seduced by glamorous new technology and think one is doing their bit, but often there are more mundane actions which are more cost effective and require little expense to implement. Some people see paying for carbon offsetting as a way to make a contribution, but such strategies should only be used after other strategies have been explored, and, where possible, implemented. In the following example of energy use in buildings there should be a six step strategy, but this strategy is also relevant, with slight modification in wording in other areas, such as transport etc.:

N.K.Tovey   MA, PHD, CEng. MICE, CEnv. Reader Emeritus in Environmental Sciences. 

Environment and Sustainability Rotary Action Group (ESRAG) Director.  

1. Raising Awareness

Switch off appliances;  limit standby use.

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2.Effective Management of Energy Use

This can lead to up to 50% savings.

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3. Installing More Efficient Appliances.

Replace old inefficient appliances.

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4. Installing Renewable Energy

Install renewable energy systems.

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5. Implementing Carbon Sequestration such as Tree Planting

Tree planting etc..

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6. Paying for Carbon Offsetting

Pay to offset residual emissions.

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