John Grant, a lecturer in sustainable development from Sheffield Hallam University, believes that governments across the globe should consider rationing carbon to help cut down on carbon and methane emissions, which are produced from burning plants and fossil fuels, and are contributing to increasingly severe weather conditions.
Britain is in the grip of its hottest July since records began in 1659, while five of the hottest years recorded have come in the last ten years.
"We have to tackle climate change as if we're going to war. Global warming is a common enemy for us all and it's a case of having to pull together. Fuel, gas and food were all successfully rationed during World War II and a similar strategy could be effectively used now with carbon. A carbon card system, whereby individuals would be given a carbon allocation and pay high prices for any extra on the market, would work. Buying petrol for example would have a high carbon rating, whereas for locally grown apples, it would be very low. Identity cards could be an ideal vehicle for such a scheme", John Grant said.
"The permafrost peat bog in Western Siberia is already melting, and if it continues to do so, it will release 11,000 years' worth - billion of tonnes - of carbon into the earth's atmosphere, trapping the heat in like a blanket.
"The next 100 years will be a tipping point. By 2050, we could have an intensely hot summer like 2003, where 35,000 people died across Europe, every other year. If we don't do anything about global warming in the next twenty years, it's likely that by 2100, the temperature across the planet will have risen by two to five degrees Celsius. We could cope with that here in the UK, with all our money and resources, but that small rise would make living in the Sahara basin or around North Africa for example, unbearable.
"We could be looking at 100 million people moving north to escape the heat, and around 40 million deaths."
He warned that glacial melting and the slowing down of the Gulf Stream current could also spell global disaster.
"Research over the last 12 years has shown a drop in the speed of the Gulf Stream by 30 per cent, because the Arctic Ice shelf and the Greenland glaciers are melting at an unprecedented speed, and the fresh water is reducing the current's density. The Gulf Stream current acts like a central heating system, helping make temperatures around the world more stable and temperate. Without it, here in the UK, we could have icebergs off the coast of Scarborough and winter temperatures could plunge to -35 degrees Celsius.
"Glacial melting will spell disaster for the UK, but the Himalayan glaciers that feed the great Asian rivers like the Ganges and the Yangtze are also likely to disappear within forty years. If these rivers dry up during the irrigation season, then the rice production, which currently feeds more than one third of humanity, collapses and the world goes into net food deficit."
Mr Grant urged the UK Government to make renewable energy such as solar power, easier for people to use.
"Solar panels should be subsidised like coal is. Nuclear power is a bit of a red herring because it produces lots of carbon dioxide. We need to see more action and less talk from the Government, especially where sustainable housing is concerned. By 2025, we will supposedly have carbon neutral, energy self-sufficient houses, but work on this needs to start now."
He added that people could make small lifestyle changes to help the planet.
"We're driven by conspicuous consumption and decadence is seen as a sign of personal success, so our perceptions of the importance of global warming need to change. No one piece of technology will save our bacon; we need to make lifestyle changes. Choosing low energy light bulbs, walking or cycling to work and turning down the thermostat at home can all make a difference, as can turning electrical items off rather than leaving them on standby."
"I fear it will take a climatic catastrophe to compel governments across the globe to take action, but the human race has shown repeatedly that it can reverse the damage.
Parts of Western Europe were rebuilt after World War II in less than ten years for example, and a ban on CFCs was achieved after it was revealed they were damaging the ozone layer, so I'm optimistic we can make the changes. Giving up is not an option."
Kate Burlaga | alfa
Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt
Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction