Students of the International section have been discussing climate change and global warming. We were selected to visit the COP21 Paris site at Le Bourget, but, unfortunately, due to the recent terrorist attacks, our trip was cancelled, leaving us all stranded with unanswered questions.
Fortunately, last Thursday, we were fortunate to welcome Professor Wolfgang Cramer, research director at the CNRS and the Mediterranean Institute for Biodiversity and Ecology and former co-chair of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He is also an adviser to the IPCC (Intergovernmental panel on climate change).
Dr Cramer explained that as we burn fossil fuels, like coal, oil and natural gas for energy or farm methane-producing cattle, or cut down and burn forests to create fields, carbon accumulates in the atmosphere and generates a greenhouse effect. What lies ahead ? Changing rainfall and snowfall patterns, increasing droughts and severe storms, melting glaciers and sea level rise which will create severe risks to our natural systems and to human’s well-being. The goal right now is for countries to pledge to stop using fossil fuels to keep global warming below a 2° threshold.
But what are the solutions ? The world’s governments need to act, but here are four key things we can all do to slow down climate change :
1) Reduce your heating from 20° to 19° to save 7% energy
2) Reducing you internet usage can save 10 kg of CO2 emissions per user/per year
3) Eat less animal protein and more seasonal fruit and vegetables to reduce GHG (Greenhouse gas) emissions
4) And last, but not least, use public transport and start cycling. Bus passengers use about 14 times less energy than cars.
Thank you again Dr Cramer for your insightful conference which will help us to be more environmentally aware and active.
Reported by Sive Gaudy, 3e International class