How have humans altered the climate – and what can we do to create a greener world?
We must act now
Watch this video to see some of the effects of global heating of just 1.5 or 2 degrees and why it’s essential that we limit heating as much as possible.
What is the main cause of climate change?
Climate change and global heating is caused by an increase in gases such as carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere. These gases trap heat energy from the sun – and when too much heat is trapped, it alters the climate. Carbon dioxide is released when we burn materials that contain carbon, predominantly fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas.
Burning these fuels releases carbon that has been locked up underground for hundreds of millions of years. And we’ve been burning them for energy at ever greater rates since the industrial revolution began almost two hundred years ago.
How can we prevent climate change from getting worse?
Energy for heat, electricity and transport is currently the world’s biggest source of carbon emissions. We must urgently stop burning fossil fuels and transition to green, renewable energy instead. In the UK, we get an increasing amount of our electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar. But we also need to speed up the transformation of how we travel and heat our homes to reduce our environmental impact.
Energy isn’t the whole picture, though. From food to clothing, the ways in which we create and consume the things we need and want is taking more from the planet than it can keep giving – and harming people and nature in the process. Making things better is a huge, complex task. But it is possible.
Climate change glossary
There are many phrases you might feel you ought to understand when it comes to climate change. Here are some of the most commonly used terms to help you to get up to speed.