Climate change is one of the biggest issues facing the world today.
‘Climate change refers to a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.’
– United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
What causes it?
Global warming is the increased heat trapped in the earth’s atmosphere resulting from excess greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2). These naturally occurring gases including Methane (CH4) & Nitrous Oxide (N20) form a layer in the atmosphere reflecting the sun’s rays back down to the earth. These gases are exacerbated in the atmosphere by fossil fuel use for energy (ie. coal and oil) and the alteration to our natural landscape. This has an unnatural warming effect on our fragile environment.
What are the effects?
Just a few degrees increase in the earth’s temperature can cause droughts and crop failures, ecosystem imbalances, as well as melting ice caps causing sea levels to rise. The best estimates by the CSIRO predict annual warming over Australia by 2030 (relative to 1990) to be ~1°C.(Climate Change in Australia CSIRO Report)WWF’s report ‘Australia’s Inconvenient Truth’ suggests just a 1-2°C increase in temperature will devastate 60-80% of the Great Barrier Reef and eliminate 100% of Acacia species in SW Australia. Further increases having an effect on agricultural production, catchment water flows, habitat degradation and species loss. (Australia’s Inconvenient Truth WWF)
Whilst these predictions can seem frightening, it is important to remember that we have the ability to curb the impact of climate change by simple behavioural changes.
Clean Up Our Climate offers practical solutions to climate change such as reducing energy use, recycling and waste minimisation. These are things everyone can do which will have a positive effect on the future of our planet.
Climate change is already having a significant impact on ecosystems, economies and communities.
Rising average temperatures do not simply mean balmier winters. Some regions will experience more extreme heat while others may cool slightly. Flooding, drought and intense summer heat could result. Violent storms and other extreme weather events could also result from the increased energy stored in our warming atmosphere.
One of the most serious impacts of climate change is how it will affect water resources around the world. Water is intimately tied to other resource and social issues such as food supply, health, industry, transportation and ecosystem integrity.
The impacts of climate change are already being observed across Canada’s diverse geographic regions. Canada’s forests are expected to be among the most vulnerable in the world to climate change. These forests support countless species and ecosystems and are among the many examples of at-risk habitat. The global meltdown of ice sheets and alpine glaciers represents another, taking an immense toll on Arctic ecosystems.
Climate change also threatens the health of our children and grandchildren through increased disease, freshwater shortages, worsened smog and more. These impacts also pose incalculable economic risks that far outweigh the economic risks of taking action today.
The world’s leading scientists report that to prevent dangerous levels of global warming governments should act to limit global warming to less than 2ºC by taking concerted action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We should start doing better to sav eour planet. Our future in our hands.