Why do anything?
Climate change is happening now and is not going anywhere, anytime soon. In the UK we are only seeing slight changes with our eyes but under the surface there are big changes going on, and although they are not affecting everyone, everywhere at the same time, they are happening.
As the planet warms there will be more heat waves and these may become deadlier - especially for the elderly and the most vulnerable of society. These hot summers will cause draughts which will affect food production and increase biodiversity loss; we all know what happens if bees become extinct!
This prolonged heat will also increase the likelihood of flash flooding as the ground is to dry to absorb the rain. Floods threaten our cities and towns and could lead to loss of life of animals and humans. If we cannot reduce our consumption of fossil fuel, non-decomposable/ recyclable materials and food then it is only going to get worse.
What is climate change exactly?
Climate is not the same as the weather - weather is what we see every day when we look out of the window, it is changeable and seasonal but has been fairly the same over hundreds, even thousands of years. Climate is a long-term typical pattern of weather that countries usually experience. We expect it to be warm in the summer and cold in the winter and it has been that way for thousands of years however, over the last 50 years the worlds climate has started changing - it is getting hotter - everywhere for longer periods. This is often described as Global Warming.
Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are responsible for global warming. These are naturally occurring gases that the planet needs - the problem is human activity is creating more of those gases and the planet cannot cope.
What are the five main causes of climate change?
1. Electricity and Heat - burning fossil fuels, oil, gas and coal to make electricity to power our cities and heat our homes is by far the biggest driver of climate change.
2. Transport - driving and flying makes up for 15% of climate change pollution
3. Building and Manufacturing - from our homes to our clothes to our mobile phones. Nearly everything we use needs energy to make - more fossil fuels!
4. Farming - cows and sheep take up a lot of land and they need a lot of food. They also produce a lot of methane (a greenhouse gas)
5. Other land use changes - deforestation, trees capture carbon dioxide in the air. We cut them down to make things that we need or want from wood and to provide land for agriculture - food we need/want. Can you see the problem with this?