What is climate change and what can you do about it?
What is climate change?
Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere help to regulate global temperatures. Over the past century, unprecedented rates of carbon dioxide and other greenhouses gases have been released into the atmosphere due to human activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels (eg natural gas, petroleum, and coal). As a result, we are experiencing a large-scale, long-term shift in the planet's weather patterns and average temperatures called climate change. Due to climate change, extreme weather events such as floods and heatwaves, will become more likely. Recent extreme weather events in the UK demonstrate just how vulnerable we are to climate change.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change produced a special report in 2018 highlighting that a temperature rise of 2°C would have catastrophic impacts on food security, water supply, human security and economic growth. The report called for limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C. If we continue our current carbon emissions trajectory, global temperatures will exceed 2°C. Therefore, we must take immediate and urgent action to tackle climate change and reduce our emissions, but we cannot achieve our climate ambitions alone.
Hounslow Council is working hard to reach our net zero target by 2030, however the Council only has direct control over about 5% of the Borough’s emissions. To tackle the remaining emissions, we will be reliant on the choices and actions of our Borough’s residents, organisations, and businesses.
The following section will set out some of the key steps that you can take to help Hounslow become a zero carbon borough.
Step 1: Be informed
Visit the links below to learn more about climate change.
- gov.uk - The UK government’s official web page on climate change
- BBC - A simple guide to climate change developed by the BBC
- TED - A short video series answering questions about climate change
- Carbon Footprint – A carbon footprint calculator to find out your personal carbon footprint
- WWF UK – An environmental impact calculator to find out your personal impact
- NASA – A climate literacy quiz
Step 2: Reduce your carbon footprint
Simple changes can help you reduce your carbon footprint and its impact on the local and global climate. Reducing your energy also reduces energy costs. Insulating pipes and the loft, switching lights off when not in use, unplugging electronics when not in use and installing a thermostat can all help reduce your bills.
If you struggle to heat your home and your home has a low EPC rating, you may be eligible for support installing home energy efficiency measures. Read more about the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme here to check your eligibility.
Read more about energy efficiency here.
You can also reduce your carbon footprint and protect the environment by:
- using sustainable modes of transport; where possible walk or cycle part of your route
- reducing the amount of waste you produce and reusing or recycling the rest
- installing solar panels on your home and considering rain water harvesting
- planting a tree or growing wildflowers in your garden.
We've put together a handy guide on 30 simple things you can do right now to reduce your carbon footprint.
See the links at the bottom of this page for more resources on how to be more sustainable in your daily life.
Step 3: Get involved
There are many volunteering opportunities in the Borough where you can help make improve Hounslow and reduce the Borough’s carbon emissions. The groups below welcome volunteers and members to join them in preserving outdoor spaces in the borough.
- The Conservation Volunteers
- Friends of the River Crane Environment
- Crane Valley Partnership
- Thames Landscape Strategy
- Your local park ‘friends’ group
Related Council links
- Cleaner greener borough
- Waste and recycling
- Home energy efficiency
- Anti-idling in Hounslow
- Cycling in Hounslow
- Get Active outdoors
- Environmental champions
- Heathrow expansion
- Hounslow Travel Active - Details of free cycle training and tips on how to get active in Hounslow
- TfL Journey Planner - Ditch the car and find the quickest way around London by public transport, walking or cycling
- Refill - Ditch the plastic water bottles and find out where you can get free water refills
- Recycle now - Find out where you can recycle items in your home
- Terracycle- Explore options for recycling "non-recyclables" such as crisp packets
- uSwitch - Guide to home insulation
- uSwitch - Guide to draught-proof your home
- Energy Saving Trust - Tips to heat your home for less
- Energy Saving Trust - Switch energy tariffs or suppliers for a greener option
- Energy Saving Trust - Guide to buying energy efficient appliances
- Install a water meter – (SES Water)
- Instal a water meter – (Thames Water)
- SES Water - Get a free water saving pack
- Energy Saving Trust - Guide to saving water in the home
- BBC UK - Calculate your diet's carbon footprint
- BBC Good Food - Guide to reduce your food carbon footprint
- Love Food Hate Waste - Reduce your food wastage
- Prevent food waste with food sharing apps