Since the late 19th century, when instrumental records began, global temperatures have increased by 0.85°C. Most scientists agree that this can be attributed to the anthropogenic release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from the combustion of fossil fuels and alteration of land.
The greenhouse is a natural process which traps some of the sun's energy when it reaches the Earth. However, an enhanced greenhouse effect leads to climate change, the effects of which are being witnessed globally. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, snow and ice diminished and sea levels have risen. To limit dangerous climate change and keep warming to below 2°C, as laid out by the 2015 Paris Agreement, emissions must be reduced.
In the UK, the energy sector is responsible for 33% of emissions. This makes it a key component to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 (from 1990 levels), targets which have been set out by the UK Government. Decarbonisation electricity generation describes the shift from fossil fuels like coal to lower emission fuels and renewables, essential if these targets are to be met.
Cornwall New Energy is supporting to businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to develop and deliver energy related consultancy. This is helping businesses to reduce their carbon footprints. However, to fully recognise these environmental benefits it is important to calculate the savings. The newly published carbon calculator on the CNE website provides an overview of the potential emission reductions which can be made if this work is implemented. As tonnes of CO2 may be a difficult metric to visualise, the carbon calculator displays the savings in terms of trees planted, air and car miles.