What Is Climate Change?
Climate Change is often used negatively in conversation today. However, climate change has been occurring naturally for the entire life of our planet. It is important to understand that climate change can occur naturally or from man made causes that result in a rise in the Earth's overall temperature. Historically, our planet has been able to cope with these changes and adjust accordingly, however with the increase burning of fossil fuels, and significant rise in Carbon Dioxide creating the 'Greenhouse effect' our planet is having a hard time keeping up.
In 2007, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) released a report stating that greater than 90% of climate change has been caused through direct human action. This is quite a scary figure!
The Greenhouse Effect
Most people would be familiar with the term 'greenhouse effect'. This is the major cause of our rising global temperature. It occurs when the three major gases that occur naturally in the Earth's atmosphere (water vapour, carbon dioxide and methane) build up and trap in heat. This causes the Earth's surface to heat up. These three gases also occur naturally in our atmosphere as they are important to trap heat, however when they occur in a concentrated form, they trap too much heat.
The burning of fossil fuels and exhaust fumes from aeroplanes causes big problems for the Earth and humans. Excess amounts of carbon dioxide are being pumped into our atmosphere and speeding up the process. If we do not reduce this it could cause major environmental problems for the future. Scientists predict that average yearly temperatures will increase between 2 - 5 degrees. Although this does not sound very dramatic, Ice Caps are already melting and many countries are experiencing heavy droughts.
Please read our interview with Chris Rodier from the Campaign Against Climate Change organisation below:
Below Image by Donya Yr 6
Environmental Agency (2008) Creating a Better Place [internet] United Kingdom. Available http://www.environment-angency.gov.uk Accessed 3rd March 2008
UK Climate Impacts Programme (2008) UKCIP [internet] United Kingdom. Available http://www.ukcip.org.uk Accessed 3rd March 2008
Picture with Permission granted 26/03/2008
US Global Change Research Program (2000) Climate Change Impacts on the United States - The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change Overview: Our Changing Climate, National Assessment Synthesis Team [report]