Global Warming
The effects of global warming are already visible:
  • The global mean surface temperature has increased by 0.3 to 0.6 degrees Celsius since the late 19 th century;
  • Twelve of the hottest years on record have occurred during the past 2 decades, and 1998 was the hottest year of the millenium;
  • Glaciers are shrinking, the permafrost in areas of Canada and Russia is melting;
  • The global sea level has risen between 10 to 25 centimeters over the past 100 years.

What causes global warming?

The burning of fossil fuels for industrial use, domestic heating and motor vehicles, liberates carbon dioxide which is the main greenhouse gas that causes warming effect of the atmosphere.

What are the consequences of global warming?
  • Rise in sea levels of up to one metre in the next century. Many coastal areas and low-lying islands and regions around the world will disappear;
  • More heat waves will make us all uncomfortable. But they could also mean illness and death for some of us who can't find ways to cool off;
  • Hot weather increases the production of ground level ozone that is harmful to the lungs;
  • Many pests prefer warm climates. A warmer Hong Kong could attract more mosquitoes and may bring more malaria and other tropical illnesses;
  • Global warming is associated with extreme weather such as heat waves, extreme cold spells, typhoons and flooding or drought;
  • Economic losses in forestry, agriculture and fisheries.

Ways To Make The Earth A Healthier Place To Live

Consuming energy less and wisely
  • Walk, cycle, take public transportation
  • Keep your car well tuned
  • Choose the most energy-efficient vehicles
  • Turn the car engine off when it is idling
  • In summer, set air-conditioning to 22 degrees and wear cooler clothes
  • Install efficient lighting, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • Turn lights and any other electric appliance when they are not in use

Using appliances more efficiently
  • Washing machines can be used more efficiently by doing full loads and using cold water whenever possible. 85 to 90% of the energy used in washing clothes comes from heating the water.
  • Dishwashers can be used more efficiently by running only full loads. Heating the water uses most of the energy. “Air-drying” rather than “heat-drying” will reduce energy use.
  • Refrigerators use more energy than any other household appliance. Better maintenance of the refrigerator improves its efficiency such as maintain its door seals, keep it defrosted, keep the top uncluttered so that air can circulate freely and compressor work more efficiently.

Increasing energy efficiency in the office
  • Computers, lights and photocopiers should be turned off when not in use for long periods.
  • Print, rather than copy, documents. Photocopiers use more energy than laser printers.
  • Computers hard drives should be turned off when not in use for two hours or more. Computer monitors should be turned off when not in use for 15 minutes or more.
  • Laser printers should be used only for final copies of important documents. Inkjet and dot-matrix printers use up to 90% less energy than laser printers.
  • Computers should be recycled. 95% of a typical desktop computer can be recycled. The production of a new PC and monitor requires nearly half the energy consumed in an average household in an entire year.

Modified from information obtained from Global Warming: Climate Change, David Suzuki Foundation, Vancouver, Canada

For more information, visit David Suzuki Foundation website:
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