What role have individuals, corporations and governments got in controlling global warming Global warming is the increase of the average temperature of the Earth’s surface, air and oceans. One of the major causes of global warming is the emission of greenhouse gases; the most common of them all is carbon dioxide. The emission of greenhouse gasses is intensified by human activity, such as the burning fossil fuels to power cars and houses. Due to global warming the effects of global warming the world will see or is currently facing includes the rise in sea levels, glacial retreats and extreme weather.
An example of extreme weather can be seen in the UK with torrential rain in the summer. Currently we have seen governments sign and ratify the Kyoto Protocol to reduce their gas emissions, which can be seen as evidence of action being taken against global warming, however more has to be done, and therefore this essay will discuss the roles of individual, governments and corporations and what they can do to take action and slow down the effects of global warming. Firstly, we will discuss the role of the individual, and what the individual can do to reduce the impact of global warming.
The easiest method of controlling global warming is recycling, if individuals recycle frequently, it will reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide. Recycling paper, tin cans, and plastic can reduce the household footprint by 850 pounds (lbs) per year. If we didn’t recycle, every year the average dustbin holds enough energy which could provide 500 baths or 5000 hours of television. Also minor things like reducing the use of electrical appliances, turning of television, instead of leaving it on standby or replacing standard bulbs with energy saving bulbs can reduce the impact of the individual’s effect on global warming.
For example, using energy saving bulbs can reduce the individual’s carbon footprint by 100kg and turning off electrical appliances when not being used, instead of leaving it on standby, can reduce up to 250kg off an individual’s footprint. Also not leaving chargers of mobile phones or laptops plugged in with the switch on can reduce the impact. Insulating the home with things like cavity walls could reduce carbon dioxide emission by 0. 7 tonnes per year.
Also an individual can do a lot by using public transport, instead of using their own cars, as it reduces road congestion and pollution, as road transports account for 22% of all UK domestic emissions. By doing all or most of these things can both reduce an individual’s carbon footprint and a drop in their utility bills. However the individual is not solely responsible and tackling global warming must be done collectively, although this cannot be done without the help required from government. Without the government individuals are less likely to take action against global warming.
For example, local authorities are given incentives in order to meet recycling targets which are set by government. Also the Household Waste Recycling Act (2003) requires local authorities to provide each household with a separate collection of at least two materials which are recyclable. The UK has also signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol and has stuck to its commitment in reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses, as it appears on course to meet the Kyoto limitations as emissions of the six greenhouse gasses dropped by 15. % between the base year, which is 1990 up until 2005, down from 775. 2 to 656. 2 million tonnes. Also on the 13th March 2007 the Climate Change Bill was published and has a target of 60% reduction of emissions by 2050, which shows that the UK government is doing its fair share in controlling global warming. Also being a member of the EU, the UK is a part of emissions trading, otherwise known as cap and trade, which is an administrative approach in order to control pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gasses.
Although the same cannot be said about the US, as they are the world’s largest contributor to global warming and has not signed up to the Kyoto Protocol. Former US president Al Gore, an advocate of tackling global warming, said that his country was principally responsible. This means that some governments have decided to take action against global warming whilst some countries like the US and China have decided not to take action on global warming and have not or refuse to acknowledge the fact that global warming is occurring.
Similarly, like the individuals, corporations need the government to act to help them curb their contributions to global warming. Many activities of corporations, which contribute to global warming, are making financial gains; therefore it is highly unlikely to corporations lead the way in tackling global warming. For example, BP spent $200 million on an advertising campaign to promote itself as an environmentally friendly oil company, but has invested only a small fraction of its profits in non-fossil based fuel. It is the government’s ole to encourage and enforce action against global warming. However, according to tropical rainforest conservation site mongabay. com, over a 100 executives from the private sector unveiled plans to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses. Although some corporations and businesses have taken action, for example, Sainsbury’s this year banned plastic bags for a day in order to raise awareness of the environmental costs and to be environmentally friendly, this cost Sainsbury’s ? 700,000. Also British retailers pledged to cut the use of carrier bags by 25% by 2008.
Marks and Spencer announced this week it will charge 5p for plastic bags. Therefore it can be seen that corporations have acknowledged that global warming is occurring and action has to be taken. From the following points made we can see that individuals, governments and corporations are all responsible in both contributing and controlling global warming. We can see that all three have a role in controlling it but the government has the greater role than the other two as it has to both encourage and enforce both individuals and corporations to act upon global warming.
Without the government the individual wouldn’t be recycling as much, and without the government corporations are less likely to take action on global warming as they would be more worried about profits rather than the environment. However the responsibility shouldn’t be thrown all onto national governments because they have the power to do so, as they are not solely responsible for global warming and climate change, both individuals and corporations can use their own initiatives to do their fair share in tackling the problem of global warming. Bibliography * http://yosemite. pa. gov/oar/globalwarming. nsf/UniqueKeyLookup/SHSU5BUMQ9/$File/greenhouseeffect. pdf * AOL, Date Unknown, Top Tips to Stop Global Warming, http://reference. aol. com/planet-earth/global-warming/top-tips-stop-global-warming * Recycle Now, Date Unknown, Stats and Facts, http://www. recyclenow. com/facts/interesting_facts/index. html * Carbon Footprint, Date Unknown, Reducing the Impact, http://www. carbonfootprint. com/athome. html * HAMPTON, D, Date Unknown, How to reduce your carbon footprint, http://news. uk. msn. com/reduce_your_carbon_footprint. spx * Friends of the Earth, March, 2004, Recycling bill success, http://www. foe. co. uk/campaigns/waste/news/recycling_bill_success. html * Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, January 31, 2007, 2005 UK climate change sustainable development indicator and greenhouse gas emissions final figures, http://www. defra. gov. uk/news/2007/070131a. htm * REICH, ROBERT. B, October 18, 2007, Corporations Won’t Lead the Way on Solving Global Warming, http://www. prospect. org/cs/articles? article=corporations_wont_lead_the_way_on_global_warming * BUTLER, RHETT.
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