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Met Office maps impacts of climate change

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The Met Office and the UK government have launched a comprehensive new map to show how the impacts of climate change could change the way we live around the world.

The complex ‘Human dynamics of climate change’ infographic was published last week to illustrate how rising temperatures will affect human activities such as food production and trade.

In the centre of the infographic is a map of present-day human interaction, which shows things like population density, water scarcity and melting glaciers as well as the directions of trade and the importation of crops.

Surrounding this map are six smaller maps that, based on a business as usual greenhouse gas emission scenario, forecast what might happen if little effort is made to mitigate or adapt to climate change.

They highlight a range of troubling impacts. One warns that temperatures on the warmest days of the year may rise by more than 6C across Europe and parts of Asia and North America by the end of the 21st century.

Others show that the number of days of drought may increase by more than 20% in parts of South America, Australia and Southern Africa, while the risk of flooding may rise across 70% of Asia.

The risk of flooding is also expected to decrease across most of Europe, but that does not include the UK, where floods will actually become more frequent.

At first glance though, the inforgraphic does seem to suggest that it is not all so bad. One map estimates that global yields of wheat, rice and soybean will actually increase in a warming world, as losses in Africa and Asia are compensated by increased output elsewhere.

However, the Met Office point out that the calculations behind this do not take into account the availability of water for agriculture, hiding the variability that will come as droughts grow more common.

The most worrying prospect flagged by the maps is that in some countries these risks may collide. Increasingly water stressed nations may find themselves with rapidly growing demand for water because of growing populations and the need for greater agricultural production.

“While we see both positive and negative impacts, the risks vastly outweigh any potential opportunities,” explained Dame Julia Slingo, Met Office chief scientist.

Foreign office minister Mark Simmonds added that the project “reinforces the point that climate change is a global problem.

“No country is immune, and we all need to work together to reduce the risks to our shared prosperity and security”.

By focussing on the worst-case scenario, it is hoped the maps will highlight the urgent need for action to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Although many governments, companies and investors around the world are taking action, most indicators suggest the world is currently on track to warm by more than 2C this centuryAbove 2C, a threshold suggested by scientists and agreed by world leaders, experts fear that irreversible tipping points will be set in motion. 

However, a report submitted to the UN last week found that with international cooperation and significant investment in energy efficiency, low-carbon energy and fuel switching, the world’s biggest polluters could decarbonise before it is too late. 

Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image / Reto Stöckli via Flickr

Further reading:

Climate’s ‘annual physical’ reveals record-breaking global warming

Met Office issue heatwave warnings for the UK

Climate change targets may not be enough to prevent 2C global warming

Leading economies issued pathways to climate change targets

Planet likely to warm by ‘catastrophic’ 4C by 2100

Environment

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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