OPINION: MOST people discussing climate change usually mention two degrees temperature change. When the earth was last four degrees cooler, there was a 60 metre ice shelf where we currently live. The last time the earth was four degrees warmer, oceans were five metres higher. So two degrees matters a lot.
The issue is that this is an average. In some places it is cooler than it was in 1900 and in some places it is warmer, however, at the polar ice caps it is three degrees warmer than it was in 1900.
The issue with the polar ice caps melting is not only will ocean levels rise but methane gas trapped in the ice is released. Methane has 34 times the heat retaining capacity of carbon. This not only contributes to global warming, it accelerates it.
Approximately 70% of the earth’s surface is water and it absorbs heat and carbon which in turn affects water temperature which in turn affects currents, rainfall patterns and wind movement. Floods, droughts and food supplies are impacted dramatically.
We have all witnessed storm damage and extreme weather events either personally or vicariously through the media. In the 1970’s there were 660 extreme weather events recorded on the planet. In the 2000’s there were 3,322 extreme weather events. This is nearly a fivefold increase. The events aren’t coming every now and then, they are coming all the time and they are more violent.
So it is fair to ask the following questions:
- What will you do when your house, car, built environment and infrastructure are constantly destroyed by extreme weather events?
- What will you do when they can’t be insured anymore?
- How will you get to work? Will you still have a job?
- How much money can you keep giving to charity to assist those in need?
- What are you doing to avoid this?
It is easy to do nothing. The path of least resistance. Some people have a sustainability person at work who takes care of their “obligations”. The problem is we don’t have a sustainability officer at home. What can you do?
- Go to 100% renewables as energy inputs to your house and workplace – demand it in public places
- Use public transport
- Buy carbon offsets and environmentally responsible products
- Print double sided
- Turn off lights and computers at night
- Employ recycling and waste management
- Adjust the way you use heating and cooling
OFFICE/RETAIL/INDUSTRIAL: A robust sustainability strategy which reduces and mitigates risks and positively contributes to a better environment.
By Tony Crabb, national director, research, Cushman & Wakefield.*
Property Reviewer on Australian Property Journal