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The other two greenhouse gases present naturally are water vapour (as noted above) and ozone.

Water vapour is created by evaporation from the seas and sources on land like lakes and rivers. Global warming will accelerate the rate of evaporation which will impact the earth’s water cycle and could increase global warming further.

Ozone is an unstable form (isotope) of oxygen and exists naturally in the upper atmosphere. Apart from its ability as a greenhouse gas to absorb the earth’s radiation, more importantly it protects living species by absorbing the ultraviolet portion of sunlight falling on the earth’s surface. As ozone is broken down by fluorinated gases, gaps have appeared in the ozone layer and so the global intention is to phase out all fluorinated gases as set out the Montreal convention (1987) on ozone depletion. Ozone can be created by the reaction between sunlight and ground level pollution so the there can be an excess of ozone if the level of pollution is high. Whilst ozone itself is a greenhouse gas, it can react with other greenhouse gases to shorten their lifespan.

The challenge of reducing our footprint
One of the network’s main goals is to initiate local actions which will reduce our carbon footprint individually and collectively.

In order to assess how we might do this, each of us needs to calculate our carbon footprint when your class (or school) joins the network and then to compare your footprint with those of others in your group and to consider how these differ and why.

By linking with another class in another country, you will then be able compare the footprints of eachr group. Each class can then challenge the other to discuss and agree how each class might be able to reduce your footprint over the next 2 years by say 10% reduction.

If you think that this might be difficult remember that a sustainable carbon footprint will likely require each of us in Europe over the next 40 years to reduce our footprint by up to 80%.

[link to CwC activity #2]




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