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2ºC rise – who’s in control of the thermostat?

by mel starrs on April 17, 2006

in Climate Change

Driving to the gym on Friday morning, I was somewhat bemused by a story reported on BBC radio news that Tony Blair had promised not to let the global increase in temperature rise above 2ºC. To me, it sounded as if he had control of the thermostat, which seemed a little extraordinary, if not a little vainglorious.

Reading the article in the Independent, it makes a little more sense. The British press, in an attempt to translate carbon into language the ‘common people’ can understand, have latched onto the temperature rise aspect of climate change. The link between temperature rise and carbon is what Tony was trying to express. And the impacts of increases in carbon are more easily expressed by focussing on the direct effects of a rise in temperature:

a three-degree rise in temperatures could put 400 million more people at risk of hunger; leave between one and three billion more people at risk of water stress; cause cereal crop yields to fall by between 20 and 400 million tons; and destroy half the world’s nature reserves.

Climate change is definitely flavour of the month in the British press. I’m not sure it’s related to the concurrent changes in Building Regulations, but it makes my job easier when clients are more aware of WHY a low carbon building is a good idea – especially when it’s couched in terms of issues they care about.