One of the regular topics of our news is the problem of Climate Change and how it will affect our world in the short and long term. We have been informed that over the last 100 years the average temperature on earth has risen by 1 degree Celsius, which could have huge impacts on wildlife all over the world. Climate Change has also been affecting the oceans, with sea levels expected to rise by around a metre by the end of the century and over the last 30 years, half of the world’s coral reefs have died. However, what doesn’t seem to be acknowledged is the action which has already been taken to reduce the effects of Climate Change and prevent further damage.

Cars and other forms of transport are a large part of our daily lives, but many of them release huge amounts of Carbon Dioxide which is hugely detrimental to the environment. There has been some progress in using electric cars as in 2010 there were 17,000 electric cars on the road but in 2019 there were 7.2 million on the roads, and many countries are working to reduce the use of diesel cars. For example, the UK announced that it would ban the sale of new diesel cars by 2030 and California promised the same by 2035. Individual companies are also contributing to the reduction of the impact of cars on the environment, an example of this is Volkswagen, who have said that they will spend $86 billion on making cars greener over the next 5 years.

Fossil fuel extraction and burning has also contributed heavily to global warming and thus climate change. Much of the world relies heavily on fossil fuels as a source of non-renewable energy, however, they are also a finite resource, which we are using up very quickly. Some people estimate that we have around 115 years of coal remaining, and around 50 years of both natural gas and oil remaining. In the first half of 2020 electricity generated by wind and solar power rose by 14% and accounted for 10% of all energy, showing that there has been some action to try to preserve non-renewable energy sources. The Covid-19 pandemic has also led to a halt in the oil market, as oil prices reached historic lows in Texas, meaning that companies have been running out of places to store oil. This shows that oil has been used less in the last few years, which is a positive as it means that our energy usage and sources should be having less of a negative impact on the environment.

Companies and governments are some of the largest users of fuel (and so contributors to Climate Change) and the policies which they make could have large consequences on Climate Change. Some companies have now decided to implement policies to try to prevent further global warming.  For example, the Paris Agreement aims to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius. In London, the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has been introduced which involves a £12.50 charge for most vehicles to travel into London, which aims to deter people from travelling by non-public transport, thus reducing the traffic and emissions.

Overall, whilst we have begun to take action against climate change, we still have a long way to go to ensure that our world remains how we want it to be.