Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => The Environment => Topic started by: on 14/10/2007 13:31:57

Title: Ways to reduce our carbon footprint, and reduce our need for fossil fuels.
Post by: on 14/10/2007 13:31:57
I thought there was a recent topic discussing this, but a quick look through the environment section and i can't see it.

Although the title here is "Ways to reduce our carbon footprint, and reduce our need for fossil fuels.", i see no reason why it can not be expanded to any and all aspects of climate change.

landfill, and disposal of general waster

I agree with George that we are not actually running out of sites for landfill, but i do think there has to be a better way of dumping our general refuse. As i have said before why don't we just dump it down disused mines? Already in some countries (Australia, for one) they are extracting methane from disused coal mines and using that to generate power. Surely the rubbish we would dump down them would give extra methane as the rubbish broke down.

better access to recycling facilities

One problem touched up on (again, by George) was that access to recycling centers was not always easy. The local council could make better use of the household refuse collection, by collecting all of our waste and sorting it at specific site. This would make it easier for us to "do our bit" and reduce the number of car journeys that individuals make to recycling centres.
In the US (California, i think) they have automated plants that sort all refuse, they also have manned plants where employees line a belt and manually sift and sort the refuse. Could we not make more use of this?

household heating, electricity and water heating

The cost of solar panels may be a factor in putting people off buying them, so how do we reduce the cost and encourage people to have them fitted?
One way would be to legislate that all new homes are built with solar panels, how many per home, well i leave that to the experts. But this would increase demand, and bring down the cost. With the average house price in the UK being around the 200,000 pound mark, i don't see how and extra few grand would hurt the market. Those householders would benefit from reduced utility bills and so any initial extra value on the house would be repaid in reduced bills.

When the cost of solar panels did come down, then the respective governments could offer subsidies to homeowners and councils to have panels installed. There is a system already in the UK where subsidies are given for the fitting of solar panels, but it is run very poorly, and only so many are given per year (i forget the figures).

please feel free to knock my ideas, and come up with some of your own.
Title: Ways to reduce our carbon footprint, and reduce our need for fossil fuels.
Post by: Iain on 09/11/2007 03:06:36
I joined these forums in the hope that I can have some questions answered about climate change. 

I am alarmed about climate change like many people are but I am completely unconvinced that what the UK is doing will make a blind bit of difference.  We have set targets and are trying to encourage greater efficiency.  However we are in a common world atmosphere and what we are doing is like a drop in the bucket of what is required.  The majority of the world population have no intention of reducing their carbon emissions.  Developing countries want to increase their prosperity and have what developed countries have, each family want a car, they want to be able to take regular flights. World population continues to rise and is forecast to rise from 6.6 billion to 9 billion by 2050.  This huge increase in demand combined with increase in demand from the existing population dwarfs anything that the UK can do.  Even if we managed to completely stop all our carbon emissions the reduction will be dwarfed by china's increase, we will still have catastrophic climate change.  So I certainly don't intend to join in the fit energy efficient light bulb brigade.  Ineffective action is just as good as no action

I have never heard any of our politicians arguing that we must reduce world population from what we have now (not just reduce the rate of growth)  Our planet has finite resources we need to reduce consumption and reduce our demand on them.  If instead of having a population of 9 billion we cut it back to 1 billion we would cut world carbon emissions by huge amounts.  To do that we need to reduce the number of births and with people dying naturally the population will reduce.    Difficult to get agreement, yes it will be, but it is the only action that I think will be effective.

I can see the remnants of our civilisation being found by another intelligence at some time in the future.  They will say now this was quite an advanced civilisation about to make the step of not being bound to their planet.  However they were so stupid that they couldn't keep their population under control and because of that they destroyed their resources.