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Global challenges we face:

Global warming
Fuel prices rising – oil running
Food prices rising
Preventing damage of natural hazards
War + poverty
Energy – conserving fossil fuels/resources – alternative
Credit crunch
Population increase/decrease
Natural Hazard:
A naturally occurring process or event that has the potential to
cause loss of life or property

Without people = natural event

Interaction of people = hazard

The realisation of a hazard, although there is not universally agreed
definition of the scale on which loss has to occur in order to qualify
as a disaster (Smith 1996)

The exposure of people to a hazardous event that may present a
potential threat to people or their possessions, including buildings
and structures

Is to be susceptible to physical or emotional injury or attack

Hydro-meteorological Hazard:
• Natural processes of atmospheric, hydrological or
oceanographic nature
• May cause loss of life or injury, property damage, social and
economic disruption or environmental degradation
• Cyclones, droughts, floods, thunderstorms

Geophysical Hazards:
• Natural hazards where the main causal agent is climatic and
• Floods, hurricanes, drought
• Natural hazards where the main causal agent is geological or
• Landslides, tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes
• DO NOT include biological hazards e.g. fungal diseases,
poisonous plants, viral diseases, infestations, locusts

Chronic Hazard:
• Long-term, persistent hazard
• El Niño, global warming
Hazard = potential to cause harm
Risk = likelihood to cause harm

Risk = Hazard x Vulnerability

For example:

Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans

Hazard = hurricane and storm surges

Vulnerability = high = live in flood plain, below sea level
Capacity = low = unprepared

Hurricane/storm surges x high = high risk


This shows that they were unprepared and in future they are
preparing so their risk will decrease

Cyclone in Burma

Cyclone x high = high risk


Capacity = low = refused people in, no one to help

They were unprepared; they did not have the management to

protect them (not enough money to do this)


Vulnerability =

Physical Earthquake zone. Tectonically young and

Social Young population. Lack of experience
Economic Low income. Lack of insurance and social security
safety net. Impoverished government ($1.3 billion
Political Years of corruption and mismanagement under
the Duvalier regimes
Environmental Deforestation destabilising soils. Increasing
landslide risk

Hazard x high = high risk

How often an event of a certain size (magnitude) occurs

The size of an event e.g. size of an earthquake on the Richter scale
or the force of a gale on the Beaufort scale
Natural causes of climate change:

• Sunspots
• Arrangements of continents
• Natural catastrophes – meteorites and volcanoes
• Earth’s orbit (Milankovitch Cycle)
 Eccentricity
 Tilt
 Wobble
• Changes in ocean currents

El Niño

• During El Niño winds across the Pacific change direction and

blow from west to east
• Occurs every 3-7 years
• Pacific ocean  between Australia (west) and South America
Conditions of a Normal Year:

• Trade winds move warm water to the western Pacific

• Cold water wells up along the west coast of South America
(near Peru)
• Upwelling important for fish stocks in Peru

Conditions of an El Niño Year:

• Air pressure over the west coast of South America becomes

• Air pressure over the east coast of Australia becomes high
• The normal east to west trade winds over Pacific are disrupted
and warm water ‘sloshes’ eastwards
• No Upwelling on South American coast

Conditions of a La Niña Year: - extreme cold conditions

• Warm water goes to the west

• High pressure over west coast of South America
• Low pressure over east coast of Australia
• As warm water is pushed westwards sea levels rise by up to
1m around Indonesia and Philippines
• Strong uplift of air leads to heavy rain

El Niño causes:

• Reduced hurricane activity in Atlantic

• Drought in Brazil
• Hotter summers in Europe
• Floods in Kenya and Bangladesh
• Fires in Indonesia
• Drought fires in Australia

ENSO – El Niño Southern Oscillation:

Term used to describe the full range of events triggered by the
seesaw motion of atmospheric pressure over the Pacific

Knock n effects of El Niño worldwide

Thermo cline:
Area where cold water meets warm water
Asian Tsunami 2004

When: 26th December 2004 (Boxing Day)

Where: Mainly Indonesia – Asia

• Earthquake that was 9.0-9.3 on Richter scale. 100x
stronger than one in Kobe in 1995
• Thrust heaved Indian Ocean floor towards Indonesia by
about 15m – sent out shockwaves

• 300,000 people dead and missing
• Waves were nearly 17m high – Banda Aceh and Sri Lanka
• Homes, crops, fishing boats destroyed – Sri Lanka
• 400,000 people lost their jobs – Sri Lanka
• 20/199 inhabited islands destroyed - Maldives
• Flooding was extensive – Maldives
• Tourist resorts damaged – bad for economy – Maldives
• Homes and boats destroyed – Somalia (Africa)
• Freshwater wells contaminated – Somalia (Africa)
• Jetties destroyed – India
• 1700 foreigners killed form 36 countries – Thailand

• Had warnings therefore evacuated – Kenya
• Sea wall protected ½ of Male (capital city) – Maldives

Most frequent causes are:

• Carelessness – outdoor BBQs
- cigarette end
• Lightning strikes

How fires spread:

1. Crown fire – where wind spreads fire through the tops of the
2. Ground fire – where dead leaves, twigs and small shrubs catch
3. Spot fires – where embers of fire fall to the ground

How have bushfire deaths been reduced?

• Controlled burning – local councils regularly burn leaf litter to
reduce the fuel for bushfires
- done every year
- Fire officers inspect properties in bush land
areas to assess the risk and advise residents
about burning
• Education programmes – educated about what to do in a
- Install protective measures for themselves
- e.g. sprinkler system
• A semi-molten zone of rock underlying the earth’s crust

• The crust of the earth, around 80-90km thick

• A localised area of the earth’s crust with an unusually high

Albedo Effect:
• White surfaces/concrete that reflects the sun

Tipping Point:
• Refers to a point beyond which the Earth cannot recover from
the effects of carbon emission, even with drastic action
• Point of no return, irreversible

• Trying to manage something
• In relation to GW means reducing the output of GHG and
increasing the size of GHG sinks (afforestation)

• Changing our lifestyle to cope with a new environment rather
than trying to stop climate change

Carbon Offsetting
• You produce lots of emissions but give back to the
environment, e.g. planting trees etc.

• Pumps waste CO2 from their oil refinery (in Botlek, the
Netherlands) into 500 greenhouses which grow fruit and veg
• Mitigation – managing CO2 emissions
• It has worked because it avoids annual emissions of 170000
tonnes of CO2


• Mitigation – managing their CO2 emissions by carbon

• They planted 10,000 mango trees in Karnataha, India 
offsetting carbon emissions from the production of their album
‘A Rush of Blood to the Head’
 Providing fruit for trade
 They will soak up CO2
• They supported a forest in Chiapas, Mexico  offsetting
carbon emissions from the production of their album ‘X & Y’
• Joined up with Future Forests to make these albums carbon

Alternative Energy In Brazil

• Bunge, a US company in Brazil, builds lined, enclosed pools to

collect the waster and capture the methane (from the waste
of the pigs). The farmers use this to generate electricity
• Mitigation – managing methane emissions
• The company gets a carbon credit to sell on the carbon
• Farmer gets 25% of earnings
• Problems – could be expensive to fit the pools, need the space

London’s Congestion Charge

• Drivers charged £8 a day to drive in the Central London

Congestion Zone
• A new proposal is to charge £25 for larger vehicles, including
four wheel drives (4x4s and Land Rovers)
• Mitigation – managing carbon emissions
• More people are using public transport, traffic levels down by
15% and congestion by 30% - reduction in nitrous oxide and
carbon dioxide emissions in the zone
• Problems – overcrowding on buses and trains

Combined Heat and Power in Copenhagen

• Supplies 97% of the city with clean, reliable and affordable

heating, and 15% of Denmark’s heating needs
• Partnership between local councils and energy companies
• It uses a combination of:
o Waste heat from electricity production
o Surplus heat from waste incineration
o Geothermal energy
o Bio-fuels (wood pellets and straw)
o Small amounts of coal, oil and natural
• Adaptation – changing their source of heat/their lives
• From 1984-2005 annual heating bills were 1400 euros less
than if oil had been used
• From 1995-2000 annual CO2 emissions were cut by 1 million
tonnes – companies pay less tax if they use CHP (tax
incentives) – clean, cheap, efficient
• Problems – it still uses non-renewable resources (coal, oil,
natural gas)

The European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)

• In 2007 the EU set targets for 2020 to reduce its greenhouse

gas emissions by 20% of the levels they were in 1900
• Set up carbon offsetting
• Set targets for every country
• Gave 14000 factories/power plants in Europe’s ‘dirtiest’
industries permits (electricity, oil, metals, building materials
and paper) – credits – to emit certain amount of carbon
• The ETS aims to:
 Cut emissions by placing a limit on the total
amount emitted
 Get polluters to pay for damage they cause by
introducing carbon credits for the GHG they emit
 Create incentives for companies to invest in
cleaner technology

How effective is the ETS?

• So far failed in its aims:
 Manufacturing companies have been moving out
of Europe – cheaper for them
 Polluters pass the cost of the carbon credits onto
their customers
• Mitigation – a management scheme to reduce companies
Exchanging Carbon Credits:
- If countries have more credit than they need, they can sell it to
other countries/companies
- If it is less they can buy credits from others to allow them to
pollute above their limit

BedZED – an energy conservation project

• New housing development in Sutton, South London – built in

• Attempts to be carbon neutral

• The homes use heat-efficient natural, recycled or reclaimed

materials, which absorb heat during warm spells and release it
when cooler

• It has its own CHP plant, run on waste wood from tree surgery
that would normally become landfill
• CHP systems provide hot water, distributed via insulated

• Problems:
 The BedZED CHP system failed in 2005 after months
of unreliability
 The reed beds filtering waste water for use in toilets
and gardens were out of operation for 7 months
 Houses are not cheap and new technology is
 Carbon neutrality is difficult to achieve

• Mitigation – a management scheme to try and reduce

• Houses in demand – valued at 15% above local house prices
• Residents emit 40% less carbon than average UK households

Ways of conserving energy:

• Photovoltaic cells – cut electricity bills
• Solar panels
• Wind turbines
• Loft and wall insulation  cut heat loss by 33%
• Double glazing  cut heat loss by 50%
• Ground heat pump – using geothermal energy to warm
incoming water/air before it enters the house/heating system
• Low energy lighting and energy efficient appliances – also cuts
back on household carbon emissions
Kyoto Protocol

• Negotiated by many countries in December 1997, came into

force with Russia’s ratification in February 2005 – needed 55
countries to ratify and the total of the parties emissions had to
be 55% of global production
• Agreement signed by 170 countries
• 2 countries did not ratify (confirm) the agreement until
December 2007 – Australia and the USA
• Australia = highest amount of CO2 emissions per person
• USA = larger emitter of CO2 in total of any country
• Committed to cut all greenhouse gas emissions
• All countries assigned different targets
• Iceland – permitted an increase – uses HEP – hardly produces
any emissions
• India and China – do not have to reduce emissions at the
moment – they are seen as developing countries

Signing – symbolic, a token gesture of support

Ratification – carries legal obligations, becomes a contractual