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  • Matthew & Kata

Climate Change Á La Matthew

With the season changing, and the days shortening, it is a good time to think about what is happening in the rest of the world. You will all have heard that COP 27 has just finished in Egypt. Most commentators seem to agree that this has been a weak conference, with no real progress on reducing carbon emissions, or even targets. There have been 2 small gains though. A fund has been set up for low income countries suffering the worst effects of climate change, to be funded by the richer countries, in a kind of compensation for climate wrongs done. Another small, but significant step is that farming and agriculture have been officially recognised at the conference as significant players in the effort to reduce carbon emissions. Intensive industrial farming is a huge net emitter of carbon to the atmosphere, but carefully planned regenerative agriculture can be a solution to the climate problem, as the soil potentially can take up almost unlimited amounts of carbon, if the focus is on soil health.

Many people are turned off climate change issues by the mass of conflicting information. How do we know climate change is really happening and the result of human activity? There is a lot of confusing information and misinformation out there, but logic dictates that we are rapidly destroying our climate, and in the process losing biodiversity at a rate not seen since the last ice age. For anyone out there who remains a "climate sceptic", it is worth considering that for millions of years CO2 levels have been reducing in the atmosphere until the start of the industrial revolution (with some minor fluctuations). Since then we have been buring fossil fuels at a rate of exponential growth. The last 20 years alone CO2 emissions to the atmosphere have risen from 25 billion tons in 2000 to 34 billion tons in 2020. This 50% rise over 20 years can't be sustained, and clearly the biggest emissions come from electricity and heating (31%), transportation (around 20%) - most coming from private car use, and agriculture (11%) (if all aspects of food and farming are considered this figure is more like 35%, as it includes energy and transportation emissions from the whole food chain).

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by these figures and the scale of the problem, so what are the practical things we can do: 1 grow your own food, or alternatively buy low inpact foods (organic vegetables are a great place to start!), 2. Start to find ways to cut down on your car use. 3. Re-think your heating and insulation. All these might seem like tough challenges in a cost-of-living crisis, but with careful thought and planning you can save money at the same time as reducing your carbon footprint.


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