Climate Change is the global warming that scientists fear will cause extreme weather, sea level rise, and other impacts that threaten our health. It is an issue that affects people all over the world, but some countries and populations are more vulnerable than others to its effects.
The planet’s climate is changing faster than at any time in history, with warming affecting the whole ecosystem and our everyday lives. It is a growing concern among scientists and governments around the world, as well as the public.
A couple of degrees Fahrenheit may not seem like much, but the change is happening.
During the past century, the average air temperature near the surface of the Earth has gone up about 2 degrees Celsius (about 4 degrees Fahrenheit). This change is a result of greenhouse gases that are trapping the sun’s heat and burning the plants and animals on our planet.
These gases are a byproduct of human activities, such as burning fossil fuels for energy, transport and industry. They are the largest single source of global carbon emissions.
There is overwhelming scientific evidence that human activity has increased the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, which has led to global warming. These increases are caused by the combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil.
The concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has risen by about 560 parts per million since the industrial revolution began. This increase is consistent with the concentrations seen in ancient records and ice cores.
In recent years, the Earth’s climate has changed rapidly due to the buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. This has led to changes in the temperature and circulation of our oceans, causing droughts, storms and other weather events worldwide.
It also is threatening the habitats and food sources of many species. For instance, polar bears could die out as their icy habitats melt away and elephants will struggle to find the water they need.
A warmer Earth also means more frequent and intense heat waves and severe thunderstorms, which can lead to deaths from heat stroke and other illnesses. It is estimated that the number of heat-related deaths will increase by as many as tens of thousands each year in the United States by the end of this century.
The most urgent action is to reduce carbon emissions. The best way to do this is through cleaner and renewable energy, such as wind and solar power.
This is a complex problem that requires a global solution. The world’s top scientists have developed Representative Concentration Pathways to help governments and other decision makers choose the best course of action.
These pathways show a range of futures based on how we reduce our use of fossil fuels. They include a stringent mitigation scenario (RCP2.6), an intermediate scenario (RCP4.5) and a scenario with high GHG emissions (RCP8.5). This is a difficult challenge to solve, but it is one that must be addressed if we want to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.