Last week we published a long article, by Ian Douglas, called Climate Change: Mitigation, Adaptation, Resilience. The well received post looked at the three pillars on how to respond to global warming and climate change: mitigation, adaptation and resilience. This post looks to focus on the first of those three pillars, mitigating climate change, in more specific detail and forms the first part in a trilogy of posts that will look at each one in turn.
Before you get started: Watch the Climate in Crisis: CHEC’s Earth Day 2021 Webinar!
What is Climate Change Mitigation?
The dictionary definition of mitigation states that it’s “the action of reducing the severity, seriousness, or painfulness of something.”
This is quite easy to relay back to climate change in that mitigating climate change is simply to reduce its severity, seriousness or painfulness.
More specifically, climate change mitigation involves reducing greenhouse gasses that are being released into the atmosphere as this is a major driver of a warming climate.
While that explanation may be easy to understand, we all know that this is not an easy task.
Climate change impacts individuals, families, communities, cities and countries. No one can hide from its impacts.
Rising sea levels, increased global temperatures, powerful hurricanes, dryer droughts and forest fires are just some of the impacts already being felt through the effects of a warming climate.
So what can we do to mitigate climate change?
How Do We Mitigate Climate Change?
There is a growing body of work that looks at how we can mitigate climate change.
The UN Environment Programme, NASA and the BBC are organisations who have written their own guides on mitigating climate change. They include steps such as:
- The use of new technologies
- Utilising clean energy sources
- Phasing out dirty energy sources
- Making dirty energy sources more efficient
- Changing people’s awareness and perceptions
The Use of New Technologies
There are many new technologies being developed that will look to help fight the climate crisis. These range from the more commonly known technologies such as renewable solar and wind energy production to the less well known such as carbon capture and storage. The amount of different technologies that could help is endless.
Utilising Clean Energy Sources
Clean energy sources are often defined by the fact they produce zero carbon emissions. This is certainly needed in any battle to reduce greenhouse gasses. The aforementioned solar and wind energy production systems usually fall into this category. However, it should be noted that while they are cleaner than the use of fossil fuels, they do rely on the use of lithium-ion batteries for storage which is not clean in itself, as it relies on extensive mining.
Phasing Out Dirty Energy Sources and Increasing Their Efficiency
The phasing out of dirty energy sources is something that has been in the public conscious for a long time. It is well known that the use of oil, diesel and petrol in cars and planes contributes significantly to the climate crisis. A switch to cleaner energy sources can help. Governments are starting to ensure this becomes reality and are starting to ban such fuels in new cars. However, bans like this take time, and even the UK’s ban, which has been moved forward to 2035, may be too little, too late.
Changing People’s Awareness Mitigating Climate Change
Despite the conclusive evidence that the climate crisis is here, there is still a huge divide and many deny this science. This makes it more difficult for positive change to take hold. It slows down the mitigation process. This is why public awareness and education is imperative to mitigating climate change.
How Can I Help Mitigate Climate Change?
People often say “one person can’t make a difference”.
Let us tell you a secret.
This isn’t true.
Mitigating climate change is a big challenge. It will require effort from everyone.
There are hundreds of different ways that you can contribute to mitigating climate change. Therefore, to help you get started we’ve listed just a few of them below:
- Fly less – Reduce your flights to lower your carbon emissions. Trains are becoming more popular. They are a greener way to travel.
- If you have to drive, switch to an electric car – The next time you look at purchasing a vehicle, check out electric and hybrid vehicles. They are cleaner options. However, if you can walk. Walk!
- Ditch fast fashion – Buy sustainable clothing that does not harm the environment. Alternatively, fix your old clothes!
- Change your eating habits – Changing your eating habits slightly can have a big impact on your carbon emissions. Try going meat-free at weekends to get started. You’ll learn new ways to cook and help the environment at the same time.
- Go plastic free – Only buy products that are packaged in sustainable materials. Use refillable containers. Head to your local zero-waste shop. Plastic production and pollution is devastating for the environment.
Mitigating Climate Change Conclusion
The steps listed above are not exhaustive. There are hundreds of things you could do (even limiting your food waste helps!).
Committing to just one step is a good starting place. It will take time to adjust your lifestyle.
However, it will be worth it.
Remember, we only have one planet. The damage we are causing to it means it may not survive much longer.
Therefore, it’s imperative we mitigate climate change.
Let’s do it together.