We have known for almost 200 years that CO₂ in the atmosphere leads to global warming. This insight has gradually become more concrete since 1824, to the point where we can no longer ignore it today---although our lazy brain sometimes still tries to…
Fortunately, governments, companies and citizens are taking increasingly determined action these days to keep our planet habitable for future generations. On International Reducing CO₂ Emissions Day, on January 28, many people shift their efforts up a notch. But what is this day actually about?
Joseph Fourier (1768-1830), mathematician and physicist, founder of Napoleon’s munitions factories in Egypt, later prefect of Grenoble and professor at the Grande École Polytechnique, was the first to convincingly calculate that the Earth, given its size and distance from the Sun, was warmer than was to be expected—perhaps due to unknown stellar radiation or an undiscovered insulating layer around the Earth, he thought.
In 1896, the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius hypothesized that burning fossil fuels could increase the amount of CO₂ in the atmosphere and thus raise global temperatures. The later Nobel Prize winner supplied detailed calculations to support his assumption.
That hypothesis was proven in 1938 by Guy Callendar, an English steam engineer and inventor, who demonstrated that the Earth’s land temperatures had risen over the previous 50 years. Callendar attributed this to increasing CO₂ concentrations in the atmosphere—which he regarded as a positive because it would delay the “return of deadly glaciers”.
After the somewhat half-heartedly implemented Kyoto Protocol in 1997, the globally groundbreaking Urgenda lawsuit (in which the Dutch Supreme Court ruled: “The state’s duty of care includes climate action”) and the legally binding Paris Climate Agreement in 2016, governments and companies are increasingly serious about curbing CO₂ emissions, setting and pursuing ambitious targets as the need is becoming clearly noticeable and felt.
In the Dutch Climate Agreement and the Belgian National Energy and Climate Plan, the government and industry have committed themselves to ambitious targets and concrete actions up to 2030. All hands are finally on deck!
Citizens, too, make their contributions, whether individually, at home, or collectively through for example an energy cooperative. All those little bits do add up to a big impact!
Many people do something extra for Mother Earth and each other on this day—and often it’s fun and healthy too!
A few examples of actions you can take today:
Are you open to more ideas for smart and fun climate actions? Then use the Scone app which offers tips and tricks for your home, lifestyle and transport with less CO₂ and more quality in your life.
Get instant free access to our Futureproof Foodie Challenge in collaboration with our partner Ekomenu.
Or join our Winter Is Here Challenge and save energy and hundreds of euros!
The advantages of the Scone app:
Companies can also take practical climate action with their employees. More info here.
On to the next International Reducing CO₂ Emissions Day! Until some fine day it’ll no longer be necessary. Imagine that… Thank you for participating!