Energy efficiency

Electric car
Electric car

With energy consumption rising it is important that industry, transportation and consumers in their homes use energy more efficiently so that less is wasted.

This will also save money on fuel bills. We can all help by making changes to our lifestyles and our houses, for example by:

  • Walking, cycling, or using public transport rather than fossil-fuel powered cars.
  • Reducing the number of aircraft journeys taken (especially short-haul flights).
  • Using smaller, more energy-efficient cars or electric cars.
  • Switching off lights, power sockets, phone chargers and TVs when not in use.
  • Recycling and reusing plastics and oil-based products.
  • Using energy-efficient light bulbs and rechargeable batteries.
  • Insulating house roofs, blocking draughts and using double-glazing and energy-efficient heating systems.
  • Considering installing solar panels or switching to an electricity supplier that supplies green electricity.

Question

Describe global and local strategies to manage the impact of climate change.

Global

  • Countries switch from fossil fuels to alternative sources of energy to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
  • Industries expand renewable energy sources such as wind, wave and solar power.
  • World summits allow politicians to get together and discuss global strategies to try to reduce their use of carbon-based fossil fuels.
  • Many governments signed the Kyoto Protocol, committing them to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The UN climate summit 2014 enabled world leaders to agree actions intended to avert the worst effects of climate change.
  • Governments ban the use of harmful substances eg CFCs to protect the ozone layer.

Local

  • Bus lanes and cycle lanes designated on roads to encourage people not to use their car. This reduces the amount of pollution from exhaust fumes.
  • London Congestion Charge: drivers pay for driving in the Congestion Charge Zone in order to cut pollution generated from exhaust fumes.
  • Recycle and reuse plastics and oil-based products. The UK Government now levy a charge of 5p for every carrier bag.
  • Local councils supply bins to help householders recycle various products.
  • Use energy-efficient light-bulbs and rechargeable batteries to conserve energy.
  • Install solar panels on house roof to generate renewable energy.

London congestion charge

London congestion charging zone sign
London congestion charging zone sign

Drivers are charged for driving in the congestion charging zone. The aim is to discourage people from driving into the zone during peak hours.

Using public transport instead reduces congestion, time spent in queues, the pollution generated and the cost to the economy.

The income generated is used to improve public transport, eg London buses have been renewed and the older vehicles which cause more pollution have been removed from service.

The results

  • Traffic congestion, accidents, and pollution levels have all been reduced.
  • Bus services are more reliable.
  • Retail sales inside the congestion charging zone have increased.
  • There has been increased investment in public transport.