Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change

In 2008 the first national report was made for the Europe country where Spain is located, and have been active on actions against climate change for a number of years since then. Actions has been taking in order to confront climate change in the future. These actions include renewable energy, reduce emissions from sectors outside the EU and geological storage of carbon dioxide and sets specific targets for 2020. The measures also contains a legally binding commitment to a reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of 20 % compared to 1990 levels by 2020. The two most important aspects that my country wants to pursue towards preparedness to adapt to future impacts of climate change is invest in renewable energy that is  natural gas and most of it comes from the sun. Sunlight, or solar energy, is now used directly for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, and for hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and industrial uses. The second effort is that they want to reduce the use per capita to the lowest they can by 2020 which will decrease the burning of fossil fuels.

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The warmest temperatures that Europe experienced was in 2003 specifically in june were the temperature have raised by 3 to 5 degrees in the most of the southwest Europe, Spain’s area which made summer’s heatwave to come earlier than expected. What was very unsual is the heatwace were accompanied by extreme precipitation which was very unsual for Europe because it never rains during the month of june. This unexpected change in the weather has been affecting the agriculture production since then.

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The picture above represents the extreme heatwave during summer 2003 throughout the Eurepean country.

In May 31st of 2002 , Spain  joined the nation to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The country planed and still planning to use protocol and to search for newer technologies to help with the environmental projects toward climate change. There are surely negative effects related to the protocol on the overall economy that Spain is very worried about;However, most countries are accommodating to decrease the use of oil and burning fossil fuels, which is the number one reason of climate change and global warming.

Spain is definitely mitigating in order to solve the problem related to climate change by using alternative energy sources and adapting reengineering efforts such as switching to solar energy. As I mentioned before solar energy is the most natural energy that doesn’t need any oil burning since it is all gathered from the sun through special equipments. Nowadays, Spain’s government is trying to require the use of solar energy in new buildings, for farm use, and industries.

My country should definitely continue mitigating and finding other natural alternatives energy sources for the future which not only will help with climate change but also for the benefit of  the economy.

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All information above was retrieved from the following links:

http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/natc/ec_nc5.pdf

http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch12s12-6.html

http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/status_of_ratification/items/2613.php

 

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Climate Change Impacts

Climate change has a lot of impacts on the temperatures and precipitations. In Europe, winter and summer temperatures are going to be higher and increase more than average. Europe precipitations will increase in northern Europe and most likely to decrease in the Mediterranean where in overall it will be higher in winter with warmer temperatures and lower in summer with very warm and dry temperatures. The precipitations in words of rain and snow will decrease much and also flip in areas resulting in areas where usually have rain will no longer have much and areas that never experienced that much rain will actually get some. Most of this information is acquired from stereotypes trying to anticipate the weather therefore no factual statistics are available yet. Spain is actually located in southwestern Europe and its mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea where the warming is actually largest in summer. The following pictures represent the recorded results from 1906 to 2005 for the European continent for estimated temperature change. The image labeled SEM is the southwestern region of the European continent where Spain is located. As represented in the figures the increase in temperatures has been throughout the continent since 1909 at a very large rate.increase in temperaturesThe whole European continent is expected to be negatively affected by future impacts of climate change. These negative impacts will comprise an increase in the risk of inland flash floods, more periodic coastal flooding and an increase in erosion that is caused by storminess and a rise in sea level. The climate change in Europe will also cause glacier retreat in areas that have mountains and so decrease in snow in those areas and will also cause a substantial loss in species. Climate change is projected to aggravate conditions in Europe especially in the southwestern area that is going to reduce water availability, increase health risks due to heat waves and a decline in forest productivity. In the Northern area of Europe climate change is actually bringing some benefits such as a decrease in the demand of heating and an increase in forest growth however its negative impacts will eventually outbalance these benefits. – (IPPC)

The key risks of climate change for my continent are as follow:

–  A high increase in economic losses, and a high risk for people to be affected by flooding in rivers which is driven by extreme precipitations and sea level rise.

– Decrease in water availability from river abstraction plus an increase in water demand fir domestic, energy and industry use which is driven by warming trend, extreme temperature and drying trend.

– Increase in heat even which will have an impact on the people’s health and also lead to economic losses. Also a very poor quality of air which increases the risk of wildfires. All these keys are driven by extreme temperatures.

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The images above represents the 4 climate-related drivers impact on my continent, Europe.

Information on key risks and climate drivers is retrieved from: http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/IPCC_WG2AR5_SPM_Approved.pdf 

Climate change has affected not only the lands but also humans and animals in Europe. Production systems, physical infrastructure agriculture, fisheries, forestry, social welfare, and environmental quality and biological conservation are the main areas that will be affected. The European continent will warm faster than the global average as projected by the IPPC. Increase in temperatures is expected throughout the continent and precipitation will actually vary from an increase in Northern Europe and decrease in Southern Europe. The variation of precipitation will result in dryness in summer time and limited availability of water and floods of rivers in the winter, which will cause damages. Climate change has already affected human and animal health and will continue to do so at an increasing rate, which will result in more diseases and infections. Systematic failures across European countries will be attributed to climate change, this includes multiple economic sectors and adverse social and health effects. Adaptation can reduce the impacts that sea level rising will have on populations and infrastructure in coastal regions. Sea level rise will damage Europe’s infrastructure including buildings and landscapes. – (IPPC : http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/WGIIAR5-Chap23_FGDall.pdf )

 

To summarize, the most interesting threats to Spain which is part of the European continent is that Tourism which will tremendously affect the economy. Tourist visit Spain because of its beautiful mountains that provides skiing resort and with the extreme temperatures that will melt down the snow those attractions will no longer be available unless adaptation is made where artificial fake snow will be produced in those resorts. The other affected area that plays a big role of the economy of Spain in wine distribution. Spain in known for the best wine grape varieties that are distributed around the world. The extreme temperatures and precipitation will badly damage vineyards where grapes are produced. Spain, and Europe in general is a very beautiful continent that brings positive economic impacts around the world so global climate change needs to be addressed as soon as possible or those positive impacts will turn into negative ones that will not only affect the European continent but the whole world.

 

 

spain's vineyard

 

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Spain’s contribution to climate change

Keeling curve

The Keeling curve graph shows the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in Spain. Carbon dioxide  The Keeling curve is is a graph which plots the ongoing change in concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere since 1958 and it was named after Dr. Charles Keeling. The twisting shows the seasonal change in carbon dioxide concentrations from year to year. It is obviously shown that the growing rate of carbon dioxide has been increasing steadily over the years. The graph shows an increase in carbon dioxide concentrations from 310 parts per million in 1958 to approximately 390 part per millions in 2011. This massive increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide is due to fossil fuel burning (that we will discuss further along this post) and deforestation.

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After taking a look at the concentration of carbon dioxide concentration now we are going to study the cause of that concentration which is fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons, primarily coal, fuel oil or natural gas, formed from the remains of dead plants and animals. Fossil fuel is a general term for buried combustible geologic deposits of organic materials, formed from decayed plants and animals that have been converted to crude oil, coal, natural gas, or heavy oils by exposure to heat and pressure in the earth’s crust over hundreds of millions of years. (http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/f/fossil_fuel.htm).

The graph above shows fossil fuel burning emissions (natural gas, oil, and coal), for several countries compared to Spain from years 1900 to 2008. As you can see the United States and China are the most extreme country that contribute to fossil fuels emission. The U.S with has been the most polluter  over the years until China surpassed it in 2006 and has been increasing since then. Spain being a small country with a population of 47.27 millions never had a serious increase in fossil fuel emissions and this is due to its very traditional culture and minimal amounts of industries.

Spain begin emitting significant amount of CO2 around 1940 but it was never as high as  US and China. Spain’s most of the CO2 emissions are contributed in liquid form that mainly occurs when dissolved in water. The other sources of CO2 are Gas, Solid, Cement, Flaring, and Bunker.

Spain’s contribution per capita is 1.6 metric  tons of carbon compared to a United States citizen which is 4.7 metric tons of carbon. This is a 34% of emissions compared to the US emissions. The value of emission of Spain is way more smaller than the US because not only is a smaller country but also because Carbon dioxide is a long lived gas in the atmosphere and this is why it builds up over time.

The per capita emission is calculated by taking the total emissions for Spain and dividing it by the population.  The average Spaniard in 2010 emitted about 1.60 metric tons of carbon. Spain is ranked as the 67th worst per capita polluter of carbon dioxide emissions in the world. As the blog author I feel pretty good about my country’s rank because other bigger countries are even worse polluters such as the US that has 4.71 emission per capita or even worst Qatar with 10.94 per capita.

contribution-per-capitaThis graph shows carbon dioxide emissions per capital for the different countries that are represented by my classmates. As you can see Australia in the biggest country that has per capita emissions followed by the United states this is due to their large population.

If the US had 309,000,000 people in 2010 and China had 1,338,000,000 people, on a Per Capita basis, a Chinese citizen is more at fault for emitting CO2.