The UN Secretary General called the recent IPCC report on climate change a “code red for humanity”. The report showed that global temperatures have risen 1.1°C since pre-industrial times, with the sharpest rise, unsurprisingly, over the past 50 years.
The report is shocking, but it shouldn’t be. Just this week wild fires have torn through Algeria, Greece and the US west coast. Earlier in the summer, central Europe suffered from unprecedented flooding, and we all saw the eerie pictures taken last summer of San Francisco and other areas of the West Coast lit orange by the smoke and smog of the nearby fires.
The IPCC report did not herald the end of the world, suggesting instead that cutting greenhouse gas emissions could quickly lead to noticeable change in the rates of global warming. In response, the Prime Minister has called for an end to the use of fossil fuels and to “consign coal to history” to make sure that we can meet our net-carbon neutral targets and slow the increase in global warming.
We’re incredibly fortunate to be living in the North East, whose industrial past was built on the coal industry, but is already leading the way in renewable energy production. The UK’s first ever off-shore windfarm was built off the coast of Blyth in 2000, and Blyth will also be the site of the new Gigafactory, manufacturing batteries for electric cars. The world’s largest windfarm is planned to be built at Dogger Bank in the North Sea, based out of the Port of Tyne! Our infrastructure is changing too with charging points for electric cars are available in many of our public car parks. Newcastle is one of the top ten areas equipped for electric cars, with 3.5 public charging stations per 10,000 people. This might not seem like a lot, but compare it to London which only has 2.75, or places like Sheffield and Birmingham which have less than one.
Our age and background can significantly influence our view on climate change. It has certainly been the focus and fight from younger generations who are going to be most impacted, which has created more of an interest from older people, not to mention the major catastrophic impact on so many lives.
From a business perspective the spiralling inflationary costs of energy are encouraging more people to consider turning off lights and enforcing energy efficiencies. Whatever the reason or motivations, we all need to do more, before it is too late.