Climate Change is a global phenomenon that is having an impact on everything that we value — from food and water to energy, transportation and wildlife. It also affects our health.
The planet’s climate is influenced by the energy balance between the sun, the Earth’s surface, and the atmosphere. This balance changes over time as Earth’s surface absorbs and releases energy, and the atmosphere traps it. Human activities have altered this balance toward warming.
Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas emitted by humans, is the primary contributor to our warming climate. It comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. It is also produced by deforestation, agriculture and other land-use changes.
Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap and trap more heat than they emit, and this extra heat is causing the planet to warm. Scientists have linked this warming to human activities and predict that we will experience further warming unless we limit our emissions of greenhouse gases.
Fossil fuels have been used to power the world for over a century, and today they account for 75 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions and about 90 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions.
There is unequivocal evidence that the Earth’s temperature has risen since the industrial revolution, and there is strong scientific support for the idea that human activity is responsible for the majority of that increase.
This warming is affecting all aspects of life on our planet, including the way plants and animals grow, the health of ecosystems, and the quality of air we breathe. It’s already causing intense droughts, water scarcity and floods, melting ice sheets and sea level rise.
The warming is happening faster than at any point in our history. This means that it’s having more and more impact on the planet, making it difficult for people to adapt to its effects.
Climate Change can be a serious and potentially irreversible problem that requires immediate action to mitigate its effects. It poses risks to all life on our planet, and its impacts will vary greatly by region.
Many scientists agree that limiting the global average temperature to 1.5degC (2.7degF) above the pre-industrial levels would help us avoid the most extreme climate impacts and maintain a livable planet. But policies currently in place point to a much higher temperature rise of up to 2.8degC by the end of this century.
We have only a few decades to act, and we can’t afford to miss the window of opportunity. The IPCC’s latest report estimates that we must cut emissions by between 65 and 95 per cent to limit the temperature rise to 1.5degC or lower.
In addition to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, we must take measures to reduce other types of pollution. We need to stop polluting our oceans, freshwater and forests, as well as our transportation infrastructure and buildings.
Getting our act together will be a challenge. But it is essential for the health of our planet and the lives of future generations.