It’s been snowing on the French Riviera.
Weird, right? The Côte d’Azur is more often recognised for its Mediterranean climate of hot dry summers, mild winters and sun averaging more than 300 days out of the year, but the “Moscow-Paris” cold front hit this week and Vertech’s HQ staff woke to temperatures of around 0 degrees while our neighbours in the north have it even worse, -3 on average. When combined with the wind chill, it’s likely to feel more like -10 in cities and -25 degrees in the mountains.
Now, we know that weather isn’t the same thing as climate change, but as a fresh dusting of snow covers the palm trees, it’s only natural to think more about the impacts of global warming.
A quick refresher in terminology
(courtesy of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
“Global warming refers only to the Earth’s rising surface temperature, while climate change includes warming and the “side effects” of warming—like melting glaciers, heavier rainstorms, or more frequent drought. Said another way, global warming is one symptom of the much larger problem of human-caused climate change. Human-caused climate change is how we describe the challenge facing the planet. Today’s global warming is an unprecedented type of climate change, and it is driving a cascade of side effects in our climate system. It’s these side effects, such as changes in sea level along heavily populated coastlines and the worldwide retreat of mountain glaciers that millions of people depend on for drinking water and agriculture, that are likely to have a much greater impact on society than temperature change alone.” (Kennedy & Lindsay, 2015))
Impacts here in the South of France
GIEC (Groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du climat) “RCP 8.5”, This map is based on the assumption that our emissions will continue at the same pace in the coming years. (2017.)
The experts of Météo-France nonetheless concede that an average water level rise of one meter will have certain repercussions on our coastline, our port infrastructures or several coastal areas such as Fréjus or Hyères, but especially the Camargue.
If the level of the Mediterranean rises by one meter, most of the ports on the Côte d’Azur, but also the airports of Nice and Cannes, the Monk’s Islands of Lérins, the Hyères peninsula will be, at least partially, submerged.
So what can be done?
We are all capable of making small changes in our everyday habits. These adjustments bear major impacts when considered collectively. Vertech’s core business is accompanying clients through a tailored assessment to identify greener and more socially responsible opportunities for change.
Here are some top tips that everyone can apply:
- Reduce travel by air and privilege train travel as possible;
- Eat less meat;
- Properly insulate your home to avoid heat loss;
- Use LED for lighting and avoid peak demand times on winter evenings to use appliances;
- Consume smarter – buy less and of better quality and buy from companies that support the switch to a low-carbon future;
- Invest in your own sources of renewable energy;
- Educate your self on the CO2 impact of goods and services you consume;
- Buy gas and electricity from retailers who sell renewable power.
(The Guardian, 2017)
Read more on global climate change:
Kennedy, C. & Lindsey,R. 17 June 2015. “What’s the difference between global warming and climate change?” NOAA. Available from: https://www.climate.gov/news-features/climate-qa/whats-difference-between-global-warming-and-climate-change
Guglielmi, B. 28 March 2017. « Réchauffement climatique et montée des eaux: à quoi pourrait ressembler la Côte d’Azur en 2100 .» Nice Matin. Available from: http://www.nicematin.com/meteo/rechauffement-climatique-et-montee-des-eaux-a-quoi-pourrait-ressembler-la-cote-dazur-en-2100-123639