The climate conditions have changed constantly during the history of the Earth and in the last 400 000 years there has been three periods when the average temperature of the globe has been higher than now. This warming has always been accompanied by an increase of carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere.
The content of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased more than 40% compared to the time before the industrial revolution and is the highest of the last 160 000 years. According to the 2002–2011 data of the European Environment Agency, the average air temperature has increased by 1.3 °C in the last one hundred years, and pursuant to various climate model prognoses, it will increase 2–3.6 °C by the end of this century.
The scientists are convinced that the main reason for climate change is human activity, in the course of which large quantities of greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere. The possible consequences of climate change are a common problem of the entire mankind and that is why technology needs to be developed quickly and international cooperation is needed in the regulation of environmental processes.
The industry of developed countries is advanced nowadays, but in order to achieve it, most of the energy produced in the world has been used, most of the pollution has been caused and a lot of carbon dioxide has been emitted into the air. By today, the developed countries have developed the economy and industry to a level where the energy use and pollution begin to stabilise. The developing countries are only moving towards it and the energy consumption and polluting of these countries begin to increase. That is why countries need to act jointly to find solutions.
The Environmental Board helps to decrease the emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases and substances depleting the ozone layer.
Ozone depleting substances may be found mostly in industrial refrigeration plants (for example, milk coolers) and air conditioning machines or stored in containers. It is important that all of the devices containing ozone depleting substances which are no longer used and the substance in the containers are given to a waste handler who has a corresponding licence to accept these. Recovery of substances helps to avoid major environmental damage because upon entering the atmosphere, these substances would enter the stratosphere where these could stay for even a 100 years and constantly deplete ozone molecules.
Most of the emissions of the fluorinated gases come from refrigeration plants and air conditioning machines as well as heat pumps – the substances are emitted in the course of normal use of the devices as well as in the course false maintenance. Therefore, the devices containing fluorinated gases may only be installed and maintained by companies who hold a handling licence issued by the Environmental Board or who have acquired a corresponding certificate in some other Member State of the European Union. The owner of the device must make sure that the company performing the service works has a corresponding licence which can be checked on the website of the register of economic activities.
Devices containing more than 3 kg of ozone depleting substances or more than 5 carbon dioxide equivalents of fluorinated greenhouse gases, the technical condition of which needs to checked regularly, need to be registered in a register managed by the Environmental Board where one can find information on the used devices and maintenance processes related thereto. This is how we make sure that the necessary checking activities and waste treatment requirements related to the devices and the gases are performed. By decreasing the emission of ozone depleting substances and fluorinated greenhouse gases, we also make our contribution to the alleviation of climate change.
Estonian cold nights and snowy winters might become a rare occasion due to climate change. Photo: Marit Kivisild