What is Climate Change?
The climate of the Earth is always changing. In the past it has altered as a result of natural causes. Nowadays, however,
the term climate change is generally used when referring to changes in our climate which have been identified since the early
part of the 1900's. The changes we've seen over recent years and those which are predicted over the next 80 years are thought
to be mainly as a result of human behaviour rather than due to natural changes in the atmosphere.
The greenhouse effect is very important when we talk about climate change as it relates
to the gases which keep the Earth warm. It is the extra greenhouse gases which humans have released which are thought to pose
the strongest threat
Scientists in the UK and across the World are looking at the evidence of climate change and are also using computer models
to come up with predictions for our future environment and weather.
However, the next stage of that work, which is just as important, is looking at the knock-on effects of potential
Water is an enormous consideration. As we are likely to see an increase in precipitation
and sea level rises, does that mean an increase in flooding? What can
we do to protect ourselves from that and how will it affect us financially?
Also, how will our health be affected by global warming, how will agricultural
practices change, how will wildlife cope and what will the effects on coral be?
As for opportunities, well there will certainly be some positives of climate change
as well as negatives so it is worth us considering those too.
The list of things we need to think about which will be affected by climate change is endless. In this section we give you
a few examples of how we will need to change the way we live in order to cope with changes to our climate.
The regular use of renewable energy is becoming increasingly popular. Have a look
at the possibilities for alternative energy sources, including solar power, wind
power, geothermal, water power and even nuclear
Play our game - I'm alright Jack - to influence his environment. You get to make
choices at several stages in his life and can even decide how his house should be built.
What else can you do to help adapt to climate change and what can you do to help slow it down? There are many
things we can all do at home. There are a host of ideas in Life at Home.
Buildings in the south east of the UK are going to have to be constructed like
those in Scotland if weather predictions are correct. See what needs to be considered to build a house sturdy enough for the
more severe weather.
In 1997 the Kyoto treaty was set-up to consider what can be done to reduce Global
warming. The treaty was established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) involving most world
countries with the exception of America.
Almost one decade later, as climate change increases and global warming continues
to worsen, a number of nations have approved an addition to the treaty the Kyoto Protocol, in order to standardise a number
of more powerful and legally binding measures.
In May 2006 the Bonn Conference saw delegates from 165 countries meet
to discuss how to further strengthen international cooperation to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases and to respond to
climate change impacts.
Much emphasis has been put on the promotion of economic incentives to promote action to reduce
emissions - for both industrialized and developing countries.
The wide-ranging presentations of possible approaches
included incentives for developing countries to mitigate climate change, ensuring cooperation on research and development
and the transfer of cleaner technologies. Delegates expressed strong support for the role of the carbon market and the need
to find new ways to involve the private sector in climate protection.
The Conference also highlighted issues faced
by less industrialised countries who also face problems related to climate change. In Canada's Arctic region, the changes
noted by the Inuit community - such as melting permafrost, changes in sea ice and the arrival of new migratory animal species
- has raised the need to address adaptation measures.
It is crucial that such measures are introduced if we are are
to cope with Global warming. The latest evidence collated by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that
the global average temperature will rise by between 1.5C and 4.5C if human activities double the amount of carbon dioxide
(CO2) in the atmosphere.
Fortunately talks on Climate Change between the 165 countries involved are set to continue
until at least 2012 when the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends.