Climate change: A student perspective

What is the University doing to combat climate change?

Some still question the theory of global warming and climate change, but the truth is, it’s happening, it’s real. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence to support it.

NASA released statistics showing that “April was the seventh consecutive month reported to break global temperature records”. Furthermore, 2015 was around 0.8 degrees centigrade warmer than the 20th century average. A recent Nature paper demonstrates that around two thirds of the climate change we are experiencing is due to human activities, such as greenhouse gas production and deforestation.

The mountain of evidence just keeps on growing, and it is clearer than ever that climate change requires more attention, fast. We, as the next generation, will have to endure the impacts and work to repair damage.

The impact of climate change is predicted to be extensive. For example, temperature increasing globally (up to 100 degrees fahrenheit), sea levels rising (0.8 – 2m by 2100), melting of glaciers and changes in circulation patterns. The BBC recently reported that if climate change is allowed to continue, Antarctica’s Totten glacier could become ‘unstable’ in the next few hundred years, which could increase sea levels by up to 2m. The International Panel on Climate Change state: “Taken as a whole, the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time.” This shows how much of a problem we have on our hands.

It all seems rather bleak but there are things we can do. In April, 175 countries including China and the USA signed the Paris Agreement aiming to keep temperature increase below 1.5 degrees centigrade.

Image: Pixabay

Image: Pixabay

The University is already taking action to reduce its carbon footprint. David Duncan, University Secretary and Registrar, stated that “The University takes a proactive approach to climate change,” which is implemented by himself and Professor Deborah Smith, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research. The University promotes a range of strategies to reduce environmental impact: improving efficiency of heat and power supplies, ensuring that new buildings are built to high environmental standards and encouraging colleges and departments to reduce energy usage.

It seems that the University is ticking a lot of the boxes regarding combating climate change, and aims to be a “sector leader in this area” but even David Duncan admits there is “much more to be done”.

Overall, climate change is arguably the biggest threat our planet faces, and strategies need to be implemented at international, national and local scales to mitigate the impacts.

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