and together can significantly reduce the consequences of anthropogenic climate change – change caused by human activities.
"Most greenhouse gases have both natural and man-made sources. There are many natural processes that release and store GHGs, for example volcanic activity and swamps which account for considerable amounts of GHG emissions. Their concentration in the atmosphere consequently also varied in pre-industrial times. But today atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and CH4 far exceed the natural range over the last 650,000 years. It is clear that these enormous amounts of GHG are closely linked to human activities, such as fossil fuel combustion and land-use change, that release GHGs into the atmosphere. Nature is not capable of balancing this development."
Fat versus thin?
Who, then, needs to kick the habit and go on a climate diet? For now the answer is simple, whatever complexities may lie ahead. Equitable access to affordable energy is a priority if there is to be sustainable development. This guide is for everyone who has access to energy, and who has the possibility to use it more sustainably and responsibly than at present. That probably means most of us.
Some will argue that kicking the habit only applies to developed countries. After all, they bear a historic responsibility for most of the GHGs emitted so far. Developing countries, by contrast, have until recently depended far more on agriculture. (But this too, along with land use change – deforestation and growing crops on peat bogs – and forestry contributes to climate change.) Needless to say, much of this agricultural produce is exported – yet again – to consumers in the developed world with their insatiable appetites.
Using a diet analogy, some would say it is only the fat who can afford to diet. The thin have no surplus to shed, and would only damage themselves if they made the attempt. That is true – up to a point. But there are of course rich, climate-profligate people and organizations in the developing world, for example multinational corporations, who can make an effort to improve themselves.
The diet is certainly for them. Some developing country emissions result from rich countries’ dependence on imports. Many of them produce
INTRODUCTION KICK THE HABIT 25