Adapting to climate change

Climate change is scientifically, widely recognised to be happening as a result of the anthropogenic input of greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere.

Consequently we need to look at adaptation and mitigation to limit the social, environmental and economic impacts.

Allen & York are environmental recruitment specialists with 15 years experience and an expanding energy team that has already quadrupled to match the demand of the industry with the Government’s targets – potentially creating 160,000 ‘green collar jobs’.

Mitigation, in simple terms, is taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is being achieved through various channels such as energy management and increasing use of renewable sources.

Energy management is the supervision of energy usage and how it can be minimised, whether implementing for personal or public use it can dramatically reduce the cost of bills. Furthermore, it can increase a Company’s green standing by reducing carbon footprint – through greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide – and enhancing corporate social responsibility.

Carbon capture and storage is another recognised method of limiting the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by capturing it from large sources such as factories and power plants leading to a reduction of emissions by an estimated 80-90%. This is a relatively new concept and is not fully operational at any existing power plant.

Another form of mitigation would be through the development of renewable energy sources wind, biomass, solar and tidal energy.

Air flows can be used to power wind turbines of which 2120 are operating in the UK with an additional 3614 turbines in their planning stages emitting zero greenhouse gases. Many of Allen & York’s clients are companies undergoing these planning stages that will eventually power an estimated 5 million homes through wind energy alone.

Biomass is a product of photosynthesis from plants and can be used immediately as a fuel or to create biofuel by being burned to release the stored energy.

In connection, solar energy is electricity generated from solar radiation and is an important element of the photosynthesis process to enable plants to photosynthesise, creating biomass.

A reliable, renewable source of energy is tidal energy as it can be captured from the tides in a vertical and horizontal direction generating power through tidal stream generators – a similar mechanism to that of a wind turbine.

There has been a proposal for the creation of the Office for Renewable Energy Deployment to help deliver the Government targets of sourcing 15% of the UK’s energy from renewables by 2020 and along with other policy drivers we are likely to witness continued growth in this area such as the Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol came into force on 16 February 2005 with objectives for industrialised countries to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases by 5.2% compared to 1990 over the period, 2008-2012.

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), is an arrangement under the protocol, for industrialised countries that are committed to greenhouse gas reduction to help with projects in developing countries reduce their emissions.

This effort is an alternative to more costly emission reductions in their own countries.

Whilst mitigation is taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation is literally adapting to the effects of climate change. A simple example of adaptation can be seen at Allen & York.

Situated in Wimborne, Dorset, Allen & York have made changes to their environmental policy by implementing a ‘seasonal dress code’.

Mark Allen, managing director at Allen & York said, “As a result of increasing temperatures from the earths’ changing climate, we have adapted by offering an alternative dress code for the summer months that allows employees to wear lighter clothing than during the winter.

This has been put in place as a substitute to the use of air conditioning that uses a substantial amount of energy therefore reducing operating costs and bettering the quality of air that could otherwise lead to health risks.”

Transferable skills are now in high demand as the UN anticipates a boom in wind, solar and geothermal power jobs as a result of a transfer from oil and natural gas.

The increasing use of solar energy and wind energy combined will create an estimated 8 million jobs by 2030.

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