In November 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans for the government’s ‘green industrial revolution’. The 10-point plan aims to create thousands of jobs to help tackle the climate emergency and put the United Kingdom back on track to achieve net zero by 2050 (1). However, representatives from leading environmental organisations have highlighted this programme is only a small portion of what’s required to truly mitigate the effects of climate change (2). There is much to do and we’re all part of the solution (3).
Why do we need a green industrial revolution?
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that absorbs and radiates heat (4). Combined with the sun’s energy, greenhouse gases warm the Earth’s surface - this is termed the greenhouse effect and is natural (5). However, the burning of fossil fuels, unsustainable farming practices and land clearing is releasing an excess of greenhouse gases, causing the earth’s average annual temperatures to dangerously rise - this is termed global warming (6).
The enhanced greenhouse effect:
We’re not going to review all the research concerning global warming, but you should know that small changes in the average global temperature will completely change the world we know. We really enjoyed this sixty second TED Talk animation narrated by Kristen Bell, which summarises it perfectly. If you’ve got more time, be sure to check out Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ or Leonardo DiCaprio’s ‘Before the Flood’. If you really really want to get into the fine details, you can read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Global Warming Report here.
Why are we excited about carbon reduction strategies and planting trees announced in the 10-point plan?
Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) or carbon reduction strategies are crucial for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. In recent years, scientists have summarised current CCS technology and while there are multiple techniques, the absence of economic incentives to support their high costs, has limited mass adoption (7).
In the natural world, carbon reduction takes many forms. From mangroves to seagrasses, peatland to deep sea creatures - nature is working overtime to absorb excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (8,9,10). You might be familiar with the ability of forests to absorb carbon dioxide, but did you know they absorb ⅓ of the world’s fossil fuel emissions each year? (11). We have a duty to protect these resources and reduce their workload. Thankfully, international organisations have provided a breakdown of natural and human-made carbon reduction technologies and are encouraging the investment and adoption of such practices (12,13).
We encourage governments and businesses to invest in carbon reduction strategies to reduce their carbon footprint.
We encourage individuals to make small changes to their everyday lives; whether it’s flying less, eating less meat or using their spending power for good (14,15).
Now...we can’t go through this article without addressing the elephant in the room (or online in this case). We know the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the annual global carbon emissions that we’re aiming to reduce (16). We’ll explore the impact of the fashion industry on the environment later…In the meantime, learn more about how BearMade is tackling the fast fashion industry, mitigating the effects of climate change and empowering young people here.