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2 A 4.6 billion-year history

Climate change is a natural process of warming and cooling that has occurred all through the Earth's history. Throughout geological time there have been ‘hot-house’ periods and ice ages. In order to understand the current situation, it is necessary to have some sense of context and perspective, from historical and geological time-scales. The document below shows a chart showing a generalised temperature history of the Earth.

Click on 'View document' to see the chart

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1 Natural climate change?

The chart below shows a record of the global mean surface temperature of the Earth compiled for the past 140 years. Clearly there is an upward trend, but what does a chart like this really show?

5.3.4 Plan testing and validation

It is one thing to have a plan; it is another thing to have a plan that you can rely on to work. There is an old military maxim that ‘A plan only gets you into first contact with the enemy. After that, you fly by the seat of your pants’ (Anon). A 1993 IBM report on business continuity planning confirmed this when it revealed that ‘half of the plans failed completely or substantially when they were first tested’ (IBM, 1993, p. 5).

The IBM report identified three categories of pla
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5.7.1 Plan preparation

Perhaps the first question to ask is ‘What is an emergency plan?’ Dodswell, in his guide to business continuity management, defined an ‘emergency management plan’ as simply:

A plan which supports the emergency management team by providing them with information and guidelines.

(Dodswell, 2000, p. 56)

Another definition, of an ‘emergency preparedness plan’ prepared in the co
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5.4 Emergency planning as a public protection activity

Uniformed emergency services – police, fire authorities and ambulance services – and organisations such as NHS hospitals, have an obvious role in the response to civil emergencies. Local authorities have an important, although less clearly defined, role. This is based on a mixture of specific legal duties coupled to a general ‘duty of care’ to maintain essential services even in an emergency. Much of this section describes the work of local authority emergency planning officers (EPOs)
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5.3 Emergency planning as a formal requirement

Several pieces of legislation make the preparation of emergency plans a statutory requirement. The European Directive on the control of major accident hazards (Council of the European Union, 1996a), the ‘Seveso II Directive’, outlines the planning requirements for industrial sites with large inventories of hazardous substances. In the UK, the requirements of this directive have been incorporated into the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (Health and Safety Executive, 1999a). I
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5.1 Introduction

Much of this unit is about risk, but as we have seen, it is a word with different interpretations – the risk of harm, the chance of gain or simple uncertainty, for example. So it may be seen as a balance between conformance and performance in an organisation. Although functional emphasis and management boundaries are inherently flexible, risk linked to harm typically represents the perspective of managers responsible for conformance activities – particularly, the financial controller, int
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4.2.1 Comparing the management systems

One approach to BS 8800 follows the ISO 14001 model, and the ISO 14001 system itself was closely modelled on the previous ISO 9000, with the 2000 revision of ISO 9000 following ISO 14001 principles. As a result, you may imagine that there are similarities between the standards. Many of the elements are similar, and some are nearly identical. Management systems share common elements, including developing and documenting procedures, training, record keeping, auditing, and corrective action. Fig
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4.2 Why integrate management systems?

Integrating any management system with the business is essential if progress is to be made, but here we are concerned with integrating management systems with each other.

Managing a business continues to set new challenges and demands especially when viewed against:

  • significant competition;

  • high customer and community expectations;

  • returns on capital employed;

  • regulatory compliance;


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3.2 Multiple causes

Now we will explore multiple causes using an example familiar to us all – road accidents. The deaths of about 10 people each day on the UK's roads are less dramatic than, for example, the capsize of the Herald of Free Enterprise, but one feature that links them both is the element of risk associated with everything we do – and even with inaction.

We have just seen that many factors contribute to the risks which result from the inherent hazards associated with something we do.
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • define risk in the most appropriate way, and appreciate the need to prioritise risks;

  • appreciate the costs of illness associated with workplace activities;

  • describe in outline the development of models used to explain the cause of incidents and to promote prevention;

  • recognise the multiple causes contributing to many incidents, and be able to represent them diagrammatically;


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6 6 Energy in a sustainable future

How can we improve the sustainability of human energy use in the future?

In the past 50 years the changes in patterns of energy production and consumption have been radical. If we are to improve the sustainability of our energy systems, equally profound changes might well be necessary over the next 50 to 100 years.

New, ‘clean’ technologies could help to mitigate some of the adverse consequences of fossil and nuclear fuels by improving the efficiency of systems and reducing po
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Introduction

This unit will facilitate your own exploration of key environmental, social and economic threats that will converge to challenge communities in the near future. You will be required to develop this exploration according to three modes of modelling and communication: verbal, visual, and numeri
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4.3.2 Competing processes

Let's look graphically at the way the rate of a thermally activated process changes with temperature. Figure 16 shows two rates with different activation energies of 1.0 and 0.5 eV – which curve is which?

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1.5 Organising information

How confident are you that you know when it is appropriate to cite references (refer to the work of other people) in your written work?

  • 5 – Very confident

  • 4 – Confident

  • 3 – Fairly confident

  • 2 – Not very confident

  • 1 – Not confident at all

How confident do you feel about producing bibliographies (lists of references) in an appropriate format to accompany you
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3.3.1 Ethylene, propylene and butadiene

Nowadays ethylene is the most important building block for the chemical industry, particularly as a monomer in its own right, as a co-monomer with other vinyls, and as a source of vinyl monomers. It is the prime source for ethylene oxide, which is another major source of polymers, glycols and ethers. They can also be used to build up more complex C4 molecules and aromatics.

Some of the ways in which the ethylene molecule is modified to create other chemicals and polymers are
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3.2.1 Thermal cracking

The bulk of the major monomer and intermediate, ethylene (C2H4), is still produced in the UK by steam cracking without the use of catalysts. Paraffinic feedstocks are best for optimising ethylene yields, and the severity of cracking is specified by the rate of disappearance of a marker compound, usually n-pentane. The severity of the reaction can then be defined as follows:

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3.5 Systems concepts: dynamic behaviour: input-transformation-output

Utilitarian systems, as previously discussed, are the means we use to transform resource inputs into useful goods and services. Any system can be divided into a set of input-transformation-output blocks. These are usually represented as in Figure 31. This way of looking at systems can be use
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2.1 Light sources and detectors

The basic building blocks of an optical-fibre link are the light source, the fibre and the detector (Figure 1).


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5.7 Being ethical

As outlined in Table 2, ethics within systemic practice are perceived as operating on multiple levels. Like the systems concept of hierarchy, what we perceive to be good at one level might be bad at another. Because an epistemological position must be chosen, rather than taken as a given, the choi
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