The most abundant greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are carbon dioxide (or simply carbon), methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and chlorofluorocarbons. We now know that carbon stays in the atmosphere between 300 and 1000 years (!).

Greenhouse gas concentrations are dependent on the balance between the “sources” and “sinks” (forests, wetlands, etc) that function to create and destroy these gases respectively. Anthropogenic (human-related) activities increase these concentrations by releasing  amounts of gases into the air on one hand and intervening with (ie removing) the sinks on the other hand. Some facts about GHG:

  1. Since the industrial revolution, the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have increased disproportionally and are still increasing today, despite great efforts (and even greater intentions) to reduce. Alarmingly, the increase has resulted in a so-called radiative-forcing effect where heat is trapped inside the Earth’s atmosphere, thereby contributing to the increase in global temperature. Changes in the Earth’s temperature will trigger other phenomena like changes in wind patterns and variation of cloud covers.
  2. Every tenth of a degree that the earth gets warmer, leads to more extreme weather catastrophes. We are currently sitting at 1.1°C warmer than pre-industrial levels and scientists have warned that we must stay well below 2°C, ideally 1.5°C in order to preserve a livable climate. However, if we keep emitting carbon at the current level, we are likely to heat the planet to 2.7°C by 2050 and beyond. This is a climate humans and many other species cannot survive in.
  3. The increase in the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) accounts for more than half of global warming, compared with other gases like methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (NO), ozone (O3), and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which account for 16%, 5%, 12%, and 12% respectively.
  4. We now know that carbon stays in the atmosphere at least 300 years. Methods to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases won’t decrease the impacts of climate change rapidly, which is why we must act now to change our course towards a warming of 2.7°C.

(partially from www.Bioexplorer.net)

Detailed information on how our future might look like on a warmer planet gives the 2021 report on Climate Change by the IPCC.

Would you like to know what live in NZ will look like on a warmer planet? Read the NZ Climate Change Risk Assessment 2021.

When you choose a certification for your sustainability journey, it is important to choose one that is widely recognised and independently assessed like one of the following:

ISO 14001 Environmental Systems

ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems from the International Standards Organisation – is one of the standards we mostly deliver, please find more info in the article sustainability certification.

 

Environmental Choice New Zealand

Environmental Choice New Zealand (ECNZ) is a Type I ecolabel – owned and endorsed by the New Zealand Government. Administered by the New Zealand Ecolabelling Trust, the ecolabel was established in 1992 to provide a credible and independent guide for businesses and consumers who want to purchase and use products that are better for the environment. The label gives assurance that a product or service has met internationally recognised, scientifically defensible standards and is environmentally preferable.

A member of the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN), the ECNZ label signifies that licenced products and services meet criteria that take a life-cycle approach, from raw materials sourcing, through manufacture and usage, to end-of-life disposal or reuse. Licensed products and services are independently assessed by a third party and reassessed annually.


Toitū Envirocare New Zealand

Toitū Envirocare leads positive change through a system of environmental programmes including carbon zero. Its certifications provide the tools to understand and reduce the environmental impact. Toitū Envirocare can also help with setting science-based targets, scope and boundary assessments, value chain screening and carbon inventory verifications. Wholly owned by Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, a Crown Research Institute, Toitū’s origins are in science, but its future is in the sustainability of our economy, our people, and our land.

 

CoGo (NZ/UK)

CoGo is a business accreditation programme in NZ and the UK that awards sustainable and ethical businesses with badges for the good work they are doing. Aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the badges reflect sustainable practices in business operations and products that respect people, animals and the planet, such as offering vegan products or paying their workers a living wage. CoGo shares this good work with consumers on the CoGo app, making it easy for consumers to find and support values-aligned businesses. By joining the programme, businesses feature on the CoGo app, where they can promote their ethical and environmental credentials, connect with customers and other businesses, and work to create a better world.

 

B Corporation (global)

B Corporations, or B Corps, is an international label for businesses that balance purpose and profit. The certifications shows a business makes decisions that create positive impacts for its workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. To become a B Corp, a company must complete the B Impact Assessment (BIA), earn a minimum score of 80 points and have their assessment verified by by the international non profit B Lab. The B Corps Certification is said to be one of the toughest and most time consuming.