Green Housing, Let’s Talk Climate Crisis | S2 Ep1
The environmental impact of the housing industry is significant. We all know this. So, the question is, how can we change the way housing industry operates to mitigate its contribution to the climate crisis? Over the coming weeks, that is what we intend to look at and as the science continues to delve into the details of climate change, there will always be new answers sought to questions we haven’t realised we want to ask yet.
We will have the pleasure of speaking to industry experts throughout the series, each with a unique outlook on the effects the housing industry has on the carbon emissions, and we will be talking to them about how their experiences have informed their approach in assisting with meeting the Government’s 2050 Net-Zero goal.
If you have any comments or questions, you can @ me on twitter – @brouhamarketing, or email me on email@example.com
Wallace Broecker – Climate Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?
The environmental impact of the housing industry is significant. We all know this. So, the question is, how can we change the way housing industry operates to mitigate its contribution to the climate crisis? The thing is, well, this is larger than answering that one question. If only it were that simple! No, there is so much more to unpack and examine when it comes to this topic, and over the coming weeks, that is what we intend to do and as the science continues to delve into the details of climate change, there will always be new answers sought to questions we haven’t realised we want to ask yet.
Climate Crisis is only the most recent term with which we described the impact human life is having on the planet. Initially, 19th century scientists began to suspect that natural changes in the earth’s palaeoclimate were brought about because of the natural greenhouse effect. This theory was then expanded later in the century when scientists argued that the emissions caused by humans could contribute to these changes in the climate. The 1960’s saw the increasingly convincing thought that the planet’s warming could be attributed to carbon emissions, as well as the pollutants generated in the forms of atmospheric aerosols.
This point of view was increasingly favoured by the 1970’s and it was in 1975 that the term, “global warming” was first documented. Wallace Broecker, an American scientist, included those two words in the title of his article, “Climate Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?”. The opening line of the article’s abstract reads, “If man-made dust is unimportant as a major cause of climatic change, then a strong case can be made that the present cooling trend will, within a decade or so, give way to a pronounced warming induced by carbon dioxide.” A link to the article, should you wish to read it, can be found in the notes for this episode.
With computer modelling becoming increasingly more reliable throughout the 90’s, the scientific community was beginning to settle on an agreed theory: greenhouse gases played a significant role in the changes seen in the world’s climate, and that human-caused emissions were contributing in a way that was bringing about a discernible warming of the earth’s temperature.
When we talk about climate change, we are talking about a significant and lasting change in the weather patterns on earth. This pattern range from decades to millennia, and include changes in average weather conditions, or in the distribution of weather patterns around those averages – for example, more or less extreme weather events.
There are many factors that contribute to climate change: ocean currents, biotic processes, changes in solar radiation, tectonic shifts and the resulting volcanic eruptions, and then, of course, there’s us.
So where are we sitting today? Cue, The Statistics.
There are a number of events that provide evidence of rapid climate change.
Since the late 19th century, the average surface temperature has risen roughly 1.19 degrees, most of which happened in the last 40 years, with the last 7 being the worst.
Because the oceans absorb much of this extra heat, 90% in fact, according to NASA, the top 100 meters is showing warming of more than 0.33 degrees C.
Both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have significantly decreased in mass. Greenland lost an average of 279 billion tonnes of ice/year between 1993 – 2019, and Antarctica lost about 148 billion tonnes.
It’s not just the ice sheets that are shrinking, glaciers, the arctic sea ice and global snow cover are all on the shrink.
Oceans have risen 20 cm in the last 100 years, and accelerating, and the acidity of the sea’s surface waters has increased by 30% as a result of the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
It is this carbon dioxide emission that the UK government has set out to battle, with a target of becoming Net-Zero by 2050. According to the 2020 Carbon Brief analysis, we are halfway there: the 2020 greenhouse gas emissions are 51% lower than the 1990 levels.
In 2019, The Climate Change Committee outlined actions that need
- resource and energy efficiency, that reduce demand for energy across the economy
- societal choices that lead to a lower demand for carbon-intensive activities
- extensive electrification, particularly of transport and heating, supported by a major expansion of renewable and other low-carbon power generation
- development of a hydrogen economy to service demands for some industrial processes, for energy-dense applications in long-distance HGVs and ships, and for electricity and heating in peak periods
- carbon capture and storage (CCS) in industry, with bioenergy (for GHG removal from the atmosphere), and very likely for hydrogen and electricity production.
Global warming and climate change have had many well-known heroes over the last 30ish years: Al Gore, former American Vice-President, the ever-youthful Jane Fonda, and of course, Greta Thunberg are to name but a few. Alongside these globally recognisable names are those within the housing industry who are working just as tirelessly to find ways of lowering emissions and reducing the impact on the planet.
With the UK’s housing stock contributing 34% to Carbon emissions (in the UK) we’re going to explore this theme and speak to experts within the housing industry such as Russel Smith, Founder of RetrofitWorks and MD of Parity Projects, Karl Wallace, MD of Thermatic Homes, Richard Braid, MD of Cistermiser & Keraflo, as well as others.
Each has a unique outlook on the effects the housing industry has on the carbon emissions, and we will be talking to them about how their experiences have informed their approach in assisting with meeting that Net-Zero goal. It is going to be a fascinating exploration of the impact this industry is having on the world, and I hope you find the conversations as illuminating to listen to as I have in having them.