Climate change is a reality. If current trends continue, the global temperature is likely to become higher than at any time in the past two million years, with catastrophic effects on the environment. The increase in global temperatures cannot be explained by natural variations and there is now broad scientific consensus that humans are largely responsible for climate change. The choices we make today will decide the climate of the future.
How much carbon dioxide does a tree absorb? Each tree planted absorbs around 1 tonne of carbon emissions over its lifetime of 100 years. Planting trees is a simple and easy way to help the environment, adding beauty and enhancing the greenness of your community.
Melting ice caps due to global warming are also causing rising sea levels, which will place millions of people living in low-lying areas in jeopardy over the coming decades.
ďAll across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man, increasingly dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real, it's here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster.Ē - Barack Obama
Life on Earth is supported by the atmosphere The atmosphere absorbs the energy from the Sun, recycles water and other chemicals, and works with the electrical and magnetic forces to provide a moderate climate. The atmosphere also protects us from high-energy radiation and the frigid vacuum of space. However, the atmosphere is very thin relatively speaking and is being destabilised by greenhouse gas emissions.
"Only when I saw the Earth from space, in all its ineffable beauty and fragility, did I realize that humankind's most urgent task is to cherish and preserve it for future generations." - Sigmund Jahn, German cosmonaut
"It's very important to understand that climate change is not just another issue in this complicated world of proliferating issues. Climate change is THE issue which, unchecked, will swamp all other issues." - Ross Gelbspan, author of Boiling Point.
Why is climate change happening?
We have been burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas for our energy needs for hundreds of years. As economies have grown so too has the consumption of fossil fuels. Burning these fossil fuels releases the global warming gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Other, even more potent, greenhouse gases such as methane are also playing a role. Plus, massive deforestation is happening, which is accelerating climate change.
Itís worth remembering that the biggest contributor to climate change is the carbon dioxide that is emitted from power stations. So if you're still getting your electricity from a carbon dinosaur then why not switch to a renewable energy provider? Itís easy to switch and in most cases wonít cost you a penny more than you are currently paying!
Did you know? Itís not just carbon dioxide that is driving climate change, even if itís the chief cause and most abundant. Thatís why the Kyoto Protocol also includes other greenhouse gases which can be even more potent than carbon dioxide in causing climate change. These include methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.
Key facts about climate change
Burning fossil fuels releases gasses such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, creating a 'greenhouse effect' and trapping heat.
Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are at their highest in 150,000 years.
The last decade has been the warmest decade in history.
If our greenhouse gas emissions are not brought under control, the speed of climate change over the next hundred years will be faster than anything known since before the dawn of civilisation.
Climate Concern UK is a campaign to enable and bring together individuals who recognise that Global Warming and Climate Change are likely to have increasingly harmful consequences, and to provide information and co-ordination to assist them. www.climate-concern.com
whatyoucando is an independent website created with the sole aim of raising awareness about the dangers of climate change and the simple actions each of us can take to make a difference in our everyday lives. www.whatyoucando.co.uk
The Climate Change Speaker Network was initiated during 2006 by Climate Concern UK, a campaign with the objective of increasing public understanding of climate change issues. www.climate-speakers.org.uk