Today I am feeling the sort of self-righteous glow that comes with managing to go about your daily business while ticking several important boxes.

This morning I got up and caught the bus to St George’s Market in Belfast. I saved myself money and wear and tear on my car, and boosted the income of the local public transport system. At the market I bought a great value meat pack from a local butcher – saving myself money and ensuring that I will not be eating horsemeat any time soon. Included in the pack was a free range chicken and free range eggs. I then bought some stationary from my friend who runs Arbee Cards http://www.arbeecards.co.uk/ – a successful local small business run by a woman. And then I caught the bus home.

Ok, so it may not seem like much. But I have been energised into trying so much harder to make these sorts of choices after attending a terrifying presentation at Stormont by this man – http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/staff/academic/profile/index.html?staffId=8 . Organised by Friends of the Earth http://www.foe.co.uk/northern_ireland/northern_ireland_index.html, it was a coldly (no pun intended) factual look at exactly what we are facing when it comes to global warming. And the really terrifying part? It’s already too late to limit the effects.

In case you, like me, are not up to speed on the latest developments around this, let me summarise.

Since the 1990s it has generally been agreed by the developed countries that in order to avoid dangerous climate change, the sort of global warming that would see large parts of the world becoming uninhabitable, we need to limit the warming of the earth’s temperature to no more than two degrees. However, due to developments in the science around global warming, scientists now believe a rise of two degrees would already be taking us into dangerous territory. Ideally, they believe, we should be aiming for no more than a one degree rise in temperature.

If you don’t know what the effects, the real effects, of global warming are, have a look at this site – http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/fcons.asp

However, Professor Kevin Anderson says that it is too late to limit temperature rise to two degrees, due to the amount of carbon already in the atmosphere. He argues that therefore, avoiding dangerous climate in the conventional sense is no longer possible. In fact, he believes that we are on course for a temperature rise of 4°C by 2060 – and even that isn’t the worst it could get, as, once temperatures hit a certain level, and the rainforests die, and soil starts breaking down, even more carbon will be released into the atmosphere.

2060 – that’s not that long away.

And it’s not just Professor Anderson saying this. Look at this:

“This year we estimated that the required improvement in global carbon intensity to meet a 2ºC warming target has risen to 5.1% a year, from now to 2050.

We have passed a critical threshold – not once since 1950 has the world achieved that rate of decarbonisation in a single year, but the task now confronting us is to achieve it for 39 consecutive years.

The 2011 rate of improvement in carbon intensity was 0.8%. Even doubling our rate of decarbonisation, would still lead to emissions consistent with six degrees of warming (my emphasis). To give ourselves a more than 50% chance of avoiding two degrees will require a six-fold improvement in our rate of decarbonisation.

In the Emerging Markets, where the E7 now emit more than the G7, improvements in carbon intensity have largely stalled, with strong GDP growth closely coupled with rapid emissions growth.

Meanwhile the policy context for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and nuclear, critical technologies for low carbon energy generation, remains uncertain.

As negotiators convene every year to attempt to agree a global deal, carbon emissions continue to rise in most parts of the world. The urgency for a global binding and meaningful policy commitments has reached a tipping point.

Business leaders have been asking for clarity in political ambition on climate change. Now one thing is clear: businesses, governments and communities across the world need to plan for a warming world – not just 2ºC, but 4ºC and, at our current rates, 6ºC.”

That is from PricewaterhouseCooper’s Carbon Economy Index http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/sustainability/publications/low-carbon-economy-index/index.jhtml .

Now my self-righteous morning isn’t going to save us from any of this – that’s up to governments and politicians (so good luck with that).

But everyone can do something.

If every one of us here in Northern Ireland halved the number of car journeys we made, turned the central heating down by a degree, or took every electrical appliance off stand-by, it would make a difference.

Otherwise, I’d start planning to make sure you’re long gone by 2060.