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Climate Change Means Business Change

Over the past two years, a lot has been said about climate change and all the talk is now reaching a focus in Paris, with the world leaders all there
12 Dec 2015 10:39
Climate Change Means Business Change

Over the past two years, a lot has been said about climate change and all the talk is now reaching a focus in Paris, with the world leaders all there just to discuss the one issue.

The objective of the huge meeting is to find ways to slow down the impact of climate change.

It is now impossible to stop climate change impacts, we are already experiencing them, all we can do it to slow the problem down with the hope that we can eventually stop it growing and then, maybe, we can look at ways to reverse it.

Most of the focus is on the physical impacts caused by climate change and mitigation techniques to target them.

Most notable is the steady increase in global temperatures and the effect this has on the weather.

The traditional patterns shift, maximum temperatures are breaking records, the weather has become extremely unpredictable, and weather events have become more frequent and violent.

The most talked about issues from climate change are the rise in sea levels and the inundation of coastal areas (particularly dangerous for island nations) and the second area of discussion is rainfall, either too little causing droughts, or too much, causing floods.

There are many other effects, but they have not yet become serious areas of discussion.

Today, almost no-one denies the problems of climate change (although some voices try to minimise the degree of harm that will be caused) and there is still an apparent lack of urgency.

 

Impact

There are a number of other areas that will impact the world’s populations but these are receiving little public attention.

There will be significant changes in the world’s water supply and probably a scarcity of water.

If available volumes of potable water are diminished then drinking water will need to be rationed, and maybe there will be a need for large scale plants for desalination.

Current technology for desalination is slow and energy expensive and very large plants are required to produce any reasonable quantity of water, so water for human consumption could be very expensive.

There will be a whole industry whose objective is to develop technologies to reduce the volume of water needed the sustain humans.

The most obvious ways are to develop alternative products to replace many of the ways water is used.

Areas of human activity that are already under consideration for modified water usage are clothes washing, sewer transportation (where the flush water is mainly used to move the waste through a pipe system for delivery to the treatment plant) and cooling appliances.

Aircraft toilets, where an air burst flushes waste is a good example of a replacement technology working well.

Clothing fabric technology makes it possible to produce clothe that needs very little water for washing.

Food preparation is also a significant user of water and there are already some technologies that achieve a very similar end result to traditional full immersion boiling with the use of minimal water.

There is also work going on into ways to manufacturer food that uses very little water in the production process.

In the end, such things will make a big difference in the volumes of water consumer (and wasted) but we will be required to make radical changes in our food preferences.

There are also a number of investigations into the best way to harvest waste water, clean it and recycle it for further use.

A number of the solutions under investigation would require a separate reticulation system for recycled waste water to keep it separated from potable water.

Agricultural water usage has been under examination for a number of years, because current watering methods are generally very wasteful.

Water is sprayed widely by various distribution methods and up to sixty percent lands in places where it does not contribute to the growth of the crop.

Better delivery systems are needed. There is also a need to harvest agricultural runoff and recycle it, but the main problem is that agricultural runoff contains high levels of agricultural chemicals.

There are significant risks that recycled water would have additional chemicals added and, in effect, deliver unacceptable high doses to the crop. In this area, work is going on to develop agricultural chemicals where the risk of uncontrolled high doses is minimised.

 

Promising area

The most promising area at the moment is in organic chemicals and are showing good promise.

There is also a need for marketing people to look for opportunities presented by climate change.

Around the world right now there are many people who have advanced programs for the development of products to address or assist to handle the many aspects of the impacts expected from climate change.

Foremost are the manufacturers of agricultural products as the impact on food production will be significant.

There is also considerable work going into the development of new types of crops that will better handle the change, particularly those that can produce better yields and use less water in the process.

This includes work in the field of genetic modification and the results of this will call for legislative variations being in many countries.

Outside the agricultural sector there are many projects related to changed technology to handle the changed climate issues.

Air conditioning is one area where cheaper and more efficient hardware is under development, but many other technologies are also being reviewed internationally.

It is clear that almost no country will be immune to some of the impacts and huge new markets will develop.

Most businesses in Fiji appear to be still in the rising sea level area, but we need to move on because the rest of the world is doing so.

There is now a clear view that there are many more issues that need to be addressed. It is in the interests of Fiji that our local businesses start moving.


John Ross is a Nadi-based marketing and advertising specialist with a long background in tourism. For feedback on this article, please email him: johnrossfiji@gmail.com



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