Carbon Footprinting and Climate Change

Just a quick reflection on a recent event:

With the meeting of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) in South Korea on 8th October 2018, the summary statement was  that

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, …….. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, …..”

Carbon Footprints

Carbon Footprints

I thought it would be useful to dig out the presentation I gave at SALTEX in 2009 ‘A groundsman’s guide to measuring carbon footprints‘ (which I’ve included in the link as a 27 page pdf of the presentation, including the notes as well).

What strikes me most from this is that whilst carbon foot printing is one element of the jigsaw in combating climate change and the wider aspect of sustainability, the actual uptake within the industry of delivering well-documented turf management plans which explicitly evaluate a range of sustainability measures is extremely limited.

So, the initial conclusion is that little has actually changed over many years; there is a lot of rhetoric about “we are producing a sustainable surface”, but what does that really mean?  Plenty of rhetoric, yet little real understanding and action – ‘Greenwash’ springs to mind!

An excellent example of transparency is that of British Sugar who have carbon footprints for their LimeX of 4 kg CO2e per tonne of product, and their topsoil of 9kg CO2e per tonne, using PAS 2050. This is really helpful to a turf manager in planning the sustainability of their maintenance and management programme.

Other data for fertilisers, active ingredients for pesticides etc are available but still require a lot of searching to find what is required. Surely suppliers could be more transparent in providing some helpful data on carbon foot printing of their materials, as well as water footprints, and other useful sustainability indicators. Managers could then use these to better inform their stakeholders of how well they are delivering a sustainable service.

This then leads onto what is actually meant by sustainability within the turf care sector? Well that’s a discourse all on its own and it’s something I’ve covered to various degrees in some other blog articles, but will explore further in future ones.

Chris Gray, 15th October 2018