What is climate change?

The term ‘climate change’ refers to how the Earth’s climate changes over time, which results in concerning shifts in both temperature and weather patterns. Until the 1800s, this change occurred naturally, but because of human activities which accelerated during the Industrial Revolution, it is now changing at a rapid rate too fast for living things to adapt to.

What are the causes of climate change?

Sadly, the main cause of climate change is human activity, such as burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas for everyday use. Activities that require fossil fuels include things like driving a car, heating a building, using electricity and industry use. These all generate greenhouse (GHG) emissions and are therefore key contributors to climate change, by acting as a blanket over the Earth, trapping the sun’s heat and consequently warming the Earth.

What are the impacts of climate change?

Climate change isn’t a thing of the future, it is already happening and has already had noticeable effects. Many people associate climate change with warmer temperatures, but rising temperatures are only the beginning. As a connected eco-system, changes in one area can cause changes in other areas.

Because of climate change, we are seeing, and will continue to see, more severe droughts and heatwaves, stronger hurricanes and storms, flooding, and declining biodiversity. As well as permanent damage to our natural ecosystems, a warmer Earth, even by half a degree, will threaten our health, global food systems, agriculture, safe housing, access to clean drinking water, and could lead to civil unrest. 

Why should we care about climate change?

GHG emissions are at their highest level in 2 million years, with the Earth’s temperature being 1.1°C higher now than it was in the 1800s, and this will only continue to rise if we do not change our behaviour, and fast.

Much research, including the 2018 UN report, emphasised that if we do not curb our GHG emissions and keep global warming below 1.5°C, we are headed for irreversible environmental changes and conditions.

Despite international agreements to address climate change, global warming is currently projected to reach 2.7°C by the end of the century – meaning we are at tipping point and need to act now.

Speak to our teams about how you can measure your organisation’s carbon footprint, reduce your GHG emissions and help combat climate change.

Learn more about climate change here: https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/what-is-climate-change