Climate change: What is it?

Dit item is gearchiveerd op 21-01-2019.

ORANJESTAD – The Department of Nature ad Environment wants to inform the community about climate change.

What is climate change? What is causing climate change and what can we do in Aruba to reduce the impact of climate change.

The frequently used terms like Carbon dioxide, fossil fuel, methane, nitrous oxide halocarbons (CTC’s, HFC’s. PFC’s) Sulphur hexafluoride can be confusing for many, but they all refer to the most common discussed phenomena: Climate change.

Oil RefinaryCarbon dioxide is produced by burning fossil fuels to generate electricity and all other forms of mechanical use of fossil fuels like deforestation with heavy equipment.

Human activity is also contributing to climate change with the emission  of greenhouse gasses. Gasses that retain the solar heat causing temperatures to rise within the atmosphere.

Agriculture is also a contributor to the climate change. Methane produces large amounts of nitrous oxide which is released when using fertilizers.

Animal farming  produces 37% methane emission and 65% of nitrous oxide. While the focus has primarily been on carbon dioxide as being the wrongdoer, methane and nitrous oxide are 30 times more harmful compared to carbon dioxide.

Climate change is affecting food production and it will only become worst in the future. Climate change will cause extreme weather periods; droughts will last longer, while hurricanes will become stronger and bigger. Increasing temperatures will make it impossible to produce any kind of food in drier areas.

According to the United Nations, 80% of greenhouse gasses should be reduced by 2050 in order to stay below the average temperature increase of 2 degrees celsius.

Aerial picture: Rooi Lamoenchi – Isla di OroHalocarbons are artificial chemicals and together with sulphur hexafluoride are emitted by the industrial productions. Climate change will have a global impact on the environment, including for Aruba. The quicker the climate changes, the higher the risks for potential disasters. The sea level is projected to rise anywhere from 9 cm to 88 cm by 2100, causing inundations on the lower areas.

There will be seasons where the temperatures will be higher then usual with a higher risk for storms and hurricanes. The upcoming effects for Aruba, will be flooding.

This will only become more frequent in the event nothing is done with the discharge of rainwater. Storms and tropical waves will increase in frequency, while hurricanes will also become stronger.

Consequently Aruba will be at risk, particularly near the constructed areas on the beach and where mangroves have been removed for developments.

The temperatures will rise, in particular near the developed areas compared to the green areas.

What can we do in order to help reduce the effects of climate change:

  • Save energy by using energy efficient lightbulbs and appliances.
  • Drive fuel efficient cars (promote carpool)
  • Eat less meats and more produce.
  • Preserve local flora while growing more plants around your house.
  • Contemplate about your electrical use and set new goals to reduce your footprint for the upcoming year.

Know your carbon footprint, use the carbon footprint calculator at https://footprint.wwf.org.uk/. There are some helpful tips on the site to help you reduce your carbon footprint on https://footprint.wwf.org.uk/tips                                 

Directie Natuur en Milieu is pleading the community to consider and make the necessary changes to have a minimal impact on climate change. It does not matter how small Aruba is, together we can have a positive effect on climate change.