Last week, Friday 20th September 2019, saw people young and old from Sydney, Australia to London, England stay away from school and work in a ‘Campaign for Climate Change’ to call for urgent measures to stop the environmental catastrophe that is climate change. Labour have reacted to the climate emergency with plans of £83bn worth of windfarms and scientists have declared an ocean emergency, due to the warming of the atmosphere melting ice caps and increasing water levels across the world. Catastrophic events could unfold if we don’t react and change.
We all contribute towards climate change to a greater or lesser extent, even if you walk to work and were to live in a tent, the fact you are reading this means it is true. The device you are using will not only be using electricity or have used electricity to charge it but also the manufacturing and transportation of its components have contributed. The enormity of the problem is almost incomprehensible, and we all need to work together from governments to individuals to businesses in order to focus on these issues.
When discussing our impact on climate change we often talk about travelling less in cars, reducing the amount of power and gas we consume at home with the more committed amongst us switching to ‘green energy’ providers where all our electricity is guaranteed to be generated by renewable methods including wind and solar. But this may have a flip side as well.
The renewable energy sector in the UK is without a doubt impressive, however, this is adding to a pre-existing problem with the electricity industries impact and contribution to climate change. This comes in the form of Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6). SF6 has been used for many years in the industry, however the concern is that as green energy increases so will the use of SF6. Dubbed the electrical industries ‘dirty secret’, it is something that many of us are probably not aware of.
It is extremely effective at insulating electrical installations and is also used in industry to prevent short circuits and accidents. However, it also has the highest global warming potential of any known substance. The BBC highlights the hazards involved ‘…leaks of the little-known gas in the UK and the rest of the EU in 2017 were the equivalent of putting an extra 1.3 million cars on the road. Levels are rising as an unintended consequence of the green energy boom…the significant downside to using the gas is that it has the highest global warming potential of any known substance. It is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2).’
So, whilst recycling our plastic and using a green energy supplier has a positive impact. Avoiding work and school in protest at climate change brings headlines and attention around the world. We should all actually think about how we can look to reduce our carbon footprint. It is clear, however, that there is a lot that we as individuals have no control over. In order to achieve the governments published targets entire industries will need to change the way they operate, the question is, how long will that take to happen?
Ensure your business is effectively managing your carbon footprint and not exasperating the impending effects on our climate. Contact us today to discuss how you can change the way your organisation processes and manages its energy:
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Article written by: James Hughes, Senior Energy Consultant