Rising global temperatures

2014 was the hottest year on record. Then, 2015 became even hotter. 2016 has been the hottest. The top fifteen warmest years in the instrumental record have occurred since 1998. On Human Rights Day, the United Nations released a comprehensive study, Climate Change and Human Rights, detailing the links between climate change and human rights violations. According to the New York Times, the temperature in Arctic oceans has risen by 7 degrees, and the Arctic air by 18 degrees. Some studies even predict that we will have our first ice-free summer in the Arctic as early as 2040. Scientists have concluded that if we are unable to stop average temperatures from rising by 2°C, longer droughts, more intense heat waves, disruptions in food supply, stronger hurricanes, and rising sea levels will be inevitable. Raising global temperatures by 2°C passes a danger point, in which the consequences of climate change will be disastrous for many people around the world. 

THE SOLUTION

The Paris Climate Accord

The Paris Climate Accord is a global climate agreement signed in 2015 by nearly 200 countries. For the first time in history, the world's nations have come together in a single agreement to tackle climate change. The main goal of the Paris Accord is for countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the effects of global warming. Countries signing the accord aim to help keep global temperature below 2°C. In the United States, the Paris Accord states a goal of 26-28% reduction of carbon emissions, in comparison with 2005 levels.

WHAT WE ARE DOING

Our school, Tesla STEM High School, has pledged to meet the standards stated in the Paris Climate Accord by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. In doing so, we hope to educate youth around the nation of the importance of combating climate change.

 

Below is a summary of our compliance plan. We have focused on reducing our carbon footprint in 5 different sectors: composting, lighting, recycling, heating, and transportation.

 

THE PROBLEM

Composting

Composting 1 lb of waste can save 3.8 lbs of carbon dioxide

50-70% of waste thrown in the trash at Tesla STEM can actually be composted

Implementing a compost program greatly reduces our greenhouse gas emissions

Classrooms in our school originally had lights on all day

Staff signed pledges to turn off lights when they leave the room (ex: during lunch)

Viewing McKinstry energy usage data helps us monitor and calculate carbon emission reductions

Lighting

Heating

Heating in our school requires large amounts of energy

We are currently collaborating with staff to reduce energy usage

We will view our McKinstry energy usage data to calculate our reduction in emissions

Although there is already a recycling program, many students still do not recycle

We are promoting recycling through social media campaigns, infographics, and posters

By measuring the net increase of recycled waste, we can calculate carbon emission reduction

Recycling

Transportation

We are polling students of their methods of transportation to and from school

Next, we are promoting cleaner ways of commuting (ex: carpooling, bus, etc) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Evaluating the change in carbon emissions is difficult, but more environmentally-friendly methods of transportation greatly reduce our carbon footprint

Schools Under 2C