The UK has always been trying to reduce CO2 emissions, but now a major reduction could spell trouble for many industries.
The UK’s CO2 supply has been halved, which could mean widespread food shortages across the country.
CO2 – carbon dioxide – is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced during combustion, fermentation, decomposition and when animals exhale.
As a greenhouse gas, CO2 has exacerbated the global climate crisis by preventing heat from leaving our atmosphere and changing weather patterns.
A recent United Nations report found that human activity is creating a lot of carbon emissions and causing some irreversible damage to the environment, while campaigns encouraging the public to reduce their carbon footprint have existed for years.
What do we use CO2 for?
Although the gas causes environmental damage elsewhere, food-grade CO2 is used in the products of the food and beverage industry.
It carbonates water, wine and soft drinks, delivers drinks in pubs, promotes plant growth in greenhouses, is used to extend the shelf life of various foods, including meat, and is used to transport fresh Used to store food.
CO2 is also used for medical purposes, such as to encourage breathing or to remove warts and warts, and commercially for inflating firefighters and life jackets.
So why is the national shortage of CO2 worrying?
Without it, the “just-in-time” ordering system used by supermarkets could collapse.
A supermarket executive told the BBC: “Big meat suppliers are saying they have two to three days’ supply and now they have to prioritize how to use what they have.”
The Food and Drink Federation said that although Britain is not going to run out of food, there will be consequences.
It continued: “The impact of this may well be felt by the end of the year, and especially in the major Christmas trading period.”
Consumers expect to be notified of a shortage of supermarket items within 10 days.
What is causing this CO2 reduction?
Recently, the price of bulk gas has increased due to shortages caused by several international factors.
As a result, two UK fertilizer factories in Teesside and Cheshire have stopped operating – and they create CO2 as a by-product.
Without these two factories, the UK’s food-grade CO2 supply would have declined by 60%.
Can it be fixed easily?
While CO2 reductions have occurred before in 2018, a solution is difficult.
Lilah Howson-Smith, with political risk consultancy Global Counsel, told the BBC that it depends on the supply and demand of fertilizer, not CO2.
She continued: “It means there is a real fragmented sense of responsibility when it comes to solving the problem.”
He also pointed out that “there was no single point of responsibility in the government”, as the problem is shared between agriculture, business and agriculture. cabinet Office.
Still, Trade Secretary Quasi Quarteng is hoping to reach an agreement Tuesday with US Fertilizer to restart CO2 production.
Can we link the reduction of food-grade CO2 with the overflow of our CO2 emissions?
Professor Stuart Hazeldin, an expert in carbon capture and storage at the University of Edinburgh, told Radio 4’s Today programme: “We will need to capture carbon dioxide, tens, hundreds of millions of tons per year, a lot, in fire extinguishers, food packaging. or dry cleaning.
“This is something we can and should do – this year the government will announce two industrial complexes that will start capturing very large amounts of CO2.”
These complexes aim to reduce our impact on climate change, but could also increase the diversity of CO2 supplies in the UK.
He added: “The bulk of CO2 use is relatively modest, compared to the millions of tons that need to be collected and stored underground to mitigate the effects of climate change.”