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Why worry about CO2?
Reasons for energy efficiency

As global warming is an issue which frequently hits the headlines, people are now more conscious of the fact that by using energy more efficiently in our daily lives, there is a great deal more to be saved than money.

A layer of gases act like a blanket around the Earth, helping to keep it warm and retain the heat from the sun. Carbon dioxide (C02) is essential in this process and life on earth could not exist without it as all plants and greenery need it to grow. However, scientists have proven that we are producing far more C02 than the planet can be expected to cope with.

Growth in industrial output, the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) and deforestation are all causing a higher concentration of C02 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This adds greatly to the greenhouse effect which is responsible for global warming. Predictions forecast that by the year 2030, the temperature of the earth will have risen by up to 4.5C. This doesn’t sound a huge amount but in real terms the effects could be drastic:

bullet point Sea levels will rise and low-lying countries like the Netherlands and areas of the UK will experience flooding.
Parts of our coastline could change or even disappear altogether
bullet point Weather patterns are likely to be disturbed, causing extremes of temperature and rainfall
bullet point Crops in some countries may be seriously affected by these extreme weather conditions
How C02 enters the atmosphere

Each and every unit of electricity that a coal-fired power station generates is known to add about one kilo of C02 to the atmosphere. To put this into context, a typical household fridge uses up to one unit of electricity every day which means that it releases around 365 kilos of C02 into the atmosphere every year. If this is multiplied by the 30 million homes in the UK that own fridges, it adds up to almost 11 million tonnes of CO2 from running just one household appliance. Of course, the amount of C02 an appliance produces not only depends on its rating in watts but on how much it is used. Even though televisions and fridges have lower power ratings than for example, washing machines, cookers and tumble dryers, they are left on for far longer. This clearly has a great impact on your carbon footprint.

This, together with the problem of deforestation adds enormously to C02 levels. If wood is burned or if trees are not replaced, there is less vegetation to help absorb the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Green plants need C02 for energy, but we are increasing the amount of C02 and reducing the amount of plant life that absorbs it.

We all owe it to our world to become more energy aware and take steps to reduce our carbon footprint as much as we can. Beginning in our own ‘worlds’ at home, we can all make simple changes to household routines. Keeping an eye on our household electricity consumption and making changes accordingly is certainly one very real step in the right direction.
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