All water companies discharge greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, principally methane as a result of sewage treatment, and carbon dioxide as a result of energy consumption.
To reduce our impact on the environment we are investigating ways to make our operations more energy efficient. We have set a target of reducing carbon dioxide emission from energy consumption by 10% by 2010.
We are taking other steps to reduce greenhouse gases including:
- generating electricity from renewable resources such as biogas and hydroelectricty
- lowering our energy use at key sites
- encouraging staff to use bicycles, public transport and car sharing.
For more information on how Wessex Water is adapting to climate change and reducing emissions look at the environment section of our website.
Our climate is driven by energy from the sun, which passes down through the atmosphere to warm the earth's surface. In turn, the earth loses some of this energy in the form of infrared radiation which is carried away from the surface by air currents and clouds, eventually escaping to space.
A blanket of 'greenhouse gases' in the atmosphere traps some of the sun's energy - this greenhouse effect keeps our planet warm enough to support life. The main greenhouse gases are water vapour, carbon dioxide, ozone, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
Human activities are causing levels of all key greenhouse gases to rise rapidly in the atmosphere. As a result the balance between the energy coming in from the sun and the energy being lost into space from earth is changing. More energy is being trapped which is causing the earth's surface and lower atmosphere to warm up. The last time the earth's temperature rose as fast was 10,000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age!
Doing your bit
Everyone can do their bit to help the environment and reduce the effects of global warming. Try these green tips:
- switch off lights, the TV and computers when you're not using them - you'll save energy and reduce your family's electricity bills
- try to walk or cycle instead of going in the car - you will help cut down on pollution and you’ll be healthier!
- recycle old bottles, cans, newspapers and plastic
- buy recycled products whenever you can.
For more information on your impact on climate change and what you can do to help the environment, visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk
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