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Climate Change re-re-confirmed, now it’s up to you

By Gavin, 3rd February 2007

So no one should have any doubts left. Really. There can be no reason to not act.

I’m only linking to the Guardian story, but you’ll see this on all the main news sources today. It’s not pleasant reading. In fact it’s terrifying, but the important thing is that you must change.

  • 20-50% of land species threatened with extinction
  • Sea levels rise by up to 59cm. 1.8m people at risk from coastal flooding in Britain alone
  • Droughts. African crops slump 15% to 35%. Global production falls 10%
  • Half the Arctic tundra at risk. Europe loses 80% of alpine glaciers.
  • Fresh water availability halved in southern Africa and Mediterranean
  • 2.5bn people exposed to dengue fever
  • Wind strengths increasing 15-25%. Great damage to infrastructure

“Average temperatures could increase by as much as 6.4C by the end of the century if emissions continue to rise, with a rise of 4C most likely, according to the final report of an expert panel set up by the UN to study the problem. The forecast is higher than previous estimates, because scientists have discovered that Earth’s land and oceans are becoming less able to absorb carbon dioxide.

The IPCC panel stressed that such an outcome was not inevitable. A significant switch to “clean and resource efficient technologies” would cut expected temperature rises by half. But even their most optimistic scenario would see a likely increase in temperature of 2.4C over pre-industrial levels by 2100. The EU has defined any rise over 2C as ‘dangerous’.” – Guardian

Also, no one should have any doubt about the other forces of dis-information that have been at play.
“Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world’s largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.” – Guardian

So, if you’ve not done already, look at all the advice out there. I’ve been compiling lots of links over the past year at http://del.icio.us/globalcool – please send me more and I’ll add them. We’ll be adding them to the Global Cool site soon, in a similar way to the way I’ve added to the d::gen site.

Global Cool is asking people to make positive steps to make a difference, which is great.

Personally I’d recommend doing everything you can. There are tiny things you can just re-programme in your life that make a difference. Once you’ve done them, they become normal very quickly.

Travel, heating and water are the places to start.

I have never owned a car – I walk or cycle everywhere I can, when I fly I offset (although this is tricky). I’ve lived in rural areas (car share, buses, cycle), in small towns (car share, trains, cycle) and London (cycling is the fastest way around town, I guarantee it – otherwise the tube, or a cab – all London cabs are “carbon neutral” and there are many hybrid taxi firms now). It’ll become socially unacceptable to have one person in a car for normal use.

Insulate yourself – put on a jumper or another t-shirt. Insulate your home – there are tiny, free things you can do (I’m sure they’ll all be in Make soon). Remember insulation applies to COOLING as well as WARMING.

In our home, we reduced the amount we “flush” – it’s weird initially as it’s a programmed response, but then it becomes normal, so get over the stigma and reduce your water consumption. Take showers. Share baths.

And for the geeks:

Running servers, I now opt for the low energy ones (SUN led the way, and now Dell and others make power efficient servers). Dual-PSU’s are actually a waste of time and double your power consumption. Hard-drives are among the worst offenders. Reducing your CPU temperature will reduce the air-con power.

Coders – I heard from “a source” that some software (Ruby, Ajax?) actually is more CPU intesive so has it’s own CO2 footprint. Here’s another reason to increase the efficiency of your code – reduce its power usage.

And, one of my favourite hacks (thanks to Matt) – get a timeswitch (cheapest I found was £15) for your kit (e.g. stuff that goes to standby, your ADSL router) so it’s only “on” when you need it to be and autmatically off when you don’t need it. Remember stuff on standby is awful – apparently one Sky digi-box uses 1 amp when on and 0.9 amps when on standby.

We’ve also set up a wiki for energy hacks – http://www.carbonhacks.org – add your hacks there!

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