Of the many challenges the globe currently faces, climate change is a grave concern, as it threatens the resource security of nations, damages ecosystems, and puts many vulnerable communities at risk, such as citizens living in low-lying areas, or individuals with health concerns.
There are mainly two schools of thoughts when approaching climate change:
Adaptation is built on the premise that the consequences of climate change are unavoidable, and that measures should be taken to reduce communities' vulnerability against those consequences. Some measures, like flood barriers, are adaptation strategies which have always been in place to some extent. Others were introduced in the recent centuries, in respond to new challenges.
To some extent, food related adaption strategies are also mitigation strategies. New farming practices also result in reduced carbon emissions and strengthened resource security. Nevertheless, these strategies have arisen due to a need to adapt to environmental degradation, hence the original intent of these strategies was to encourage more effective utilisation of valuable food resources.
However, beyond tackling short-term needs, it is often difficult to predict the long term effectiveness of adaptation strategies impact under climate change. For example, coastal protection structures like dykes can prevent flooding, but these structures deteriorate over time as the strength of storms are increased. In addition, adaptation strategies have to be specifically tailored for climatic condition in different regions, which makes the benefits and trade-offs difficult to predict.
This is when communities often consider mitigation in response to climate change.
Climate change mitigation comes with a much larger portfolio of solutions, but they typically fit into two categories:
Mitigation with Carbon Offsetting
Carbon offsetting has become a worldwide trend. It effectively reduces the Earth’s net carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, without amending the fundamentally pollutive nature of industrial activity. There are various mitigation methods that businesses and governments can perform to reduce GHG emissions.
Few methods of Carbon Offsetting
Apart from tree planting (or afforestation), there are a few other alternatives that are more efficient in carbon sequestering. Here are a few ways of carbon offsetting:
Afforestation: Tree planting is convenient, and manifests ecosystems
Mangrove Tree Planting: With advantages similar to tree planting, a mangrove forest stores 5-10 times more carbon than a unit area of forest.
Methane Gas Capture: Capture landfill methane to reduce smog, while generating a renewable energy source.
Carbon Capture: Capture GHGs in the atmosphere, solidify them and store them underground
Some of these mitigation projects are technologically demanding, making them less feasible for underdeveloped nations. Processes like methane or carbon capture are also energy inefficient, which somewhat defeats the original intent of achieving greater sustainability.
Therefore, of all the methods aforementioned, afforestation is the most adopted form of carbon offsetting. In addition to the low financial barriers to tree planting, it gains the public’s awareness on GHG emissions and the need to achieve a more sustainable lifestyle. From an emotional standpoint, this can likely be attributed to the human touch of planting a tree. There are also numerous advantages and disadvantages directly associated with tree planting.
More about Afforestation & Tree Planting
While Afforestation / Tree Planting are widespread, there are a few aspects we need to consider. Not all initiatives are created equally and asbusinesses, we must pay more attention to their potential long-term effects.
All these processes are intricately linked feedback loops, which vary greatly depending on environmental conditions. This is reflected by the fact that the pros above are somewhat opposite mappings of the cons; for example, a tree’s carbon sink is effective, but it takes time to mature, and is immediately broken upon deforestation. Therefore, the precise climate impact of trees remains a controversial topic among scientists.
A closing note on Carbon Offsets
From a broader perspective, carbon offset projects are not always effective and well received. Firstly, there is often a lack of accountability in quantifying the actual net gains of the mitigation scheme, for example the exact reductions in carbon emissions as a result of tree-planting. Secondly, carbon offsets do not directly directly reduce the emissions in the vicinity of the original causes. Thirdly, many argue that offsets shift the burden of fighting climate change to underdeveloped nations, which give governments and nations a "guilt free pass" to continue emitting GHGs.
Nevertheless, carbon offsets have made a huge impact across the globe, and has demonstrated that individuals, businesses, corporations and nations can work together to tackle climate change.
Mitigation with Zero Emission Strategies
Zero-emission strategies refer to the adoption of technology to reduce GHG emissions from the source. Here are a few main strategies:
Indeed, the government is providing numerous incentives for research and development in these areas, as well as mass adoption of these technologies. From a national standpoint, it is crucial to start decarbonising these services, as water, energy and transport are crucial resources heavily utilised for any nation; decarbonising these infrastructure would result in huge environmental impacts.
These are areas where businesses of all scales are and will be participating in, given the numerous opportunities in streamlining the technology.
A closing note on both Mitigation Strategies
Carbon offsets are often placed on a conflicting end against zero-emission strategies, as many scientists argue that it de-incentivises the financing of zero-emissions technology and hardware, which actively reduces emissions from the source.
However, while zero-emission strategies might be more effective in responding to global climate change, nations continue to rely on fossil fuels and other carbon-emitting industries for their livelihoods and economic development. Considering that carbon offsets still bring positive benefits to the environment, they are technically and financially viable solutions in our globe's portfolio of strategies to reduce emissions.
Therefore, both strategies help the globe achieve decarbonisation, to various degree of success.
In an age of rapid global climate change, the key aim is to increase the public's awareness on global climate change, and to make lifestyle changes accordingly. From that front, individuals, corporations and nations still have to consider both methods of mitigation in order to gradually step up climate action.
VoltShare's Response to Climate Change
For Britain, the transition to green transport is especially important, as it is the largest sector of all GHG emissions. Encouraging consumers to switch to EV's would therefore reduce a significant portion of transport GHG emissions, which has been on the rise despite the nation's overall decrease in emissions.
However, range anxiety is one of the key barriers to widespread EV adoption. The nation needs to accelerate its EV chargepoint network.
To meet net zero carbon, Scottish Power suggests that the UK will need 2.6M public charging points. But development of the current charging network is fragmented, and currently there are approximately 42,000
Here at VoltShare, our ambitious goal is to accelerate the expansion of Britain's chargepoint network, made available to all EV's. Beyond the environmental benefits of moving to EV's, we believe the charger infrastructure will serve a key role in linking communities and boosting economic opportunities in previously underdeveloped regions.
Join us, and together we can make our planet greener.
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VoltShare are an EV charging technology provider for the hospitality industry that simplifies management, payments collection, and technology integration. We empower small to large-sized venues to futureproof themselves, while ensuring they remain resource-efficient and profitable.