The Earth’s climate has changed throughout history according to NASA. In the last 650,000 years alone, there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat. The abrupt end of the last ice age was about 7,000 years ago, marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.
This can already be seen around the world, currently, Climate Change could be partially to blame for the bushfires that are currently devastating New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and other parts of Australia. In a recent Time article, it was stated that The Bureau of Meteorology argue that in southern and eastern Australia, where the fires are currently spreading, they have observed more extreme conditions during the summer months, including an earlier start to the bushfire season. “These trends towards more dangerous bushfire conditions are at least partly attributable to human-caused climate change, including through increased temperatures,” they added.”
The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.
So what do we know so far?
- Carbon Dioxide is up 412 parts per million and are at the highest levels in the last 650,000 years
- Global Temperatures are up by 1.9 °F since 1880
- Arctic Ice minimum has reduced by 12.8% per decade
- Sea Levels have risen by 3.3 mm per year
- 11% of the world’s population is currently vulnerable to climate change impacts such as droughts, floods, heat waves, extreme weather events and sea-level rising
According to WWF Australia, the three key causes to this rapidly growing problem include;
- Burning fossil fuels – Electricity generation is the main cause of carbon pollution in Australia, as 73% of our electricity comes from burning coal and 13% from burning gas
- Deforestation & Tree-Clearing – 11% of all global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans are caused by deforestation, comparable to all cars and trucks on the planet
- Agriculture & Farming – Australian farming contributes 16% of our total greenhouse gas emissions
So the question has to be asked:
What can Australians and Australian Businesses do to help?
My personal answer is that no action is too small, everyone has a responsibility and the small actions of many can have a huge cumulative effect of reversing this huge problem.
At the start of this year, the Calibre One leadership team and board included a series of goals in our strategic plan with an aim of ultimately becoming greener, more sustainable and more innovative in many areas of what we do.
At the end of last financial year we published an article of our waste management procedures to inspire other companies to do the same. As a result of these procedures, we now break down 95% of our waste in to seven different recycling programs; everything from soft plastic to four types of e-waste, general recycling and more.
This financial year we are now introducing another initiative which is to go carbon Neutral by 2020.
What does going Carbon Neutral mean, and how will we achieve it?
After conducting some research, it appeared that the best place to start was setting a cost per tonne on carbon emission. The World Bank gave us some great information on how to go about this, we settled on a figure of $100 USD per tonne of carbon for this financial year 19/20.
After a price had been set it was a matter of discovering our key carbon emitting sources. For Calibre One, this included electricity and our vehicles. The question then became: How do we work out how many tonnes of carbon we’re admitting? That part was easy. Most electricity bills now tell you directly. If not, you can look it up online through various emission calculators based on state and KwH used.
This left us with our vehicles. Luckily, Calibre One already has Telematics technology in all our cars which gives us a precise reading on our carbon emissions based on KM’s driven and the type of vehicle.
Now we can set a cost of carbon emissions monthly, this is then expensed against our monthly profit and loss, meaning that we are now accounting for the cost of pollution.
So what happens with the money that has been accounted for?
Now that we account for this money monthly, it accrues in our emissions accounts on our balance sheet. This money will then be used for carbon reduction programs first within the business, and then for carbon credit buying programs where you can invest in tree planting, or green energy projects.
What does this mean for the bottom line?
By looking at this closely, Calibre One instantly reviewed and changed energy companies that were not only 25% less, but that used greener sources of energy like Hydro which in turn also collects a lower carbon output and therefore a lower cost of carbon on the monthly P&L.
The next outcome is that this project is now funding future projects for the company which will take place in July 2020, where we will have enough funds to kit out all of our offices with Solar energy reducing power costs to nil and at the same time reducing carbon output to nil on our electricity.
After July 2020, the carbon we continue to put in to the atmosphere will be offset through carbon credit and tree planting programs. This plan aims to get us to a Carbon Neutral operating environment by July 2020.
Why act now?
The science of global warming speaks for itself. Personally I want my family, friends colleagues and our planet to survive longer than only the next 100 years. Many businesses out there think these procedures are too difficult, cost too much money or take too much time.
Implementing your own carbon cost program does not take a lot of time, it can have instant benefits in terms of $’s saved to the bottom line and it drives the right behaviour, recognising the cost of pollution on your P&L & Balance Sheet.
Hopefully this article can be used to inspire others and provide ideas on how you may tackle this problem in your organisation. For help or ideas, visit our E-Waste page to learn more or contact us.