A View from Mauna Loa Observatory

Date Published

29th Mar 2019

Don McLean
Founder and Managing Director (CEO), IES

In Hawaii, there is a mountain called Mauna Loa.  It is 3,400m above sea level and in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is a long way from major human settlements and consequently it has a large number of ‘observation’ stations as its measurements can be trusted as not being influenced by man-made pollution.  

I have been star gazing on top of the mountain and the number of stars that can be seen is truly amazing.

Under these conditions, CO2 measurements have been taken for a number of decades.  Measurements are made by two independent CO2 monitoring programs (NOAA and Scripps).  You can visit a website, https://www.co2.earth/, which reports the results of the measurements.  You can investigate how CO2 levels have been increasing over the last few decades.  It is difficult to ignore these measurements.  

Why not have a quick look at the site, it is not the most user friendly site, but the information is there.  Some of the data may be a little out of date but it is not difficult to interpret the information and consider the consequences.

I constantly repeat that we don’t need to worry about saving the planet – no matter what we do - the planet will get warmer and colder over the next few hundreds of millions of years.  However, most current species can only operate within a relatively small ‘comfort’ zone.  Climate change is taking us outside that comfort zone and we can only guess the likely consequences.  

We know that time isn’t on our side. Climate Change is not something that is going to happen far into the future. It’s already happening. Each year more and more people are dying from climate disasters. New research shows that warming the planet more than 1.5C is a real threat to its liveability. And the way things are going this 1.5C temperature safety guard could be exceeded in as little as 17 years, i.e. by 2035. So, climate change will likely impact on us and our children in some way. 

We have a small window to really make a difference. We must act now. Like climate change, the technology to do this is not in the future, it’s here now. The technology that can significantly reduce the impact that buildings and cities have on the environment is available, with new developments continuing to emerge at an incredible pace. 

One of these developments is the ICL (Intelligent Communities LifeCycle) - a suite of interconnected tools that will enable more sustainable, resource efficient, and healthier communities. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to find out about our latest technology.

This blog is the first of a series where I explore the current circumstances and challenges that we face as a species, as well as potential solutions for reducing carbon emissions and improving our buildings and cities for future generations. Watch this space to find out more.

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