Climate Change 101
Interested in climate but don't know where to start, or how the dots all fit together? We made this for you!
Short version: it's happening and we did it.
The science is clear and scientists agree that human activity releasing carbon dioxide + other gases is heating up the planet.
Yes, the Earth's climate does go through natural changes over hundreds of thousands of years, however...
The rapid warming we've seen over the last 100 years is not part of that cycle. It's 10 times faster than natural rates since the last ice age.
There is a lot of reviewed, trustworthy and reliable scientific evidence linking carbon and other greenhouse gases to rising temperatures. The trends track each other.
Climate change in a few quick points:
- the average global temperature has increased by 1.1 degrees since before humans started burning fossil fuels - coal, oil, gas - in the industrial revolution. We're on track to double that within our lifetimes.
- some parts of the world are heating up at about 3 times that rate
- Humans pump out about 50 billion tonnes of Greenhouse Gases* per year, some of which is absorbed by plants and the oceans while the rest stays in the atmosphere trapping more heat
- In the last 40 years we've doubled the amount of Greenhouse Gases we emit into the atmosphere each year. Yes, it's been accelerating
- We're already seeing the impact of the heating in changing weather patterns, more extreme and frequent forest fires, hurricanes, rainfall, melting glaciers and heatwaves that are also putting many species at risk of extinction (because it's happening so fast)
- As the world continues to heat up these events will happen more often and will be more extreme with each rise in average temperatures
- Carbon Dioxide and equivalents* are hidden - embodied* - in pretty much everything we buy use or do at present
- To slow down and eventually limit climate change the only credible path is to permanently reduce the amount of emissions humanity pumps into the atmosphere, while at the same time using natural carbon sinks* and technology to remove some of what's already there
- We can do it and there's lots we know how to do that will make a difference, whether at the size of governments, companies and individuals too
Optional for when talking to friends + family who are uncertain about climate change (deploy in extreme cases & use your best judgement): turn around and run out of the room. Screaming is unnecessary, though may add a touch of class and subtlety to the effect.
Join our free Intro to Climate 14-day email course to take the next step. It starts every Monday and you'll be joining other awesome humans learning on it from over 50 countries all around the world.
Have hope, make progress! 💚
Climate Buzzword Dictionary
Emissions - the creation and release of Greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, mostly from burning and using fossil fuels
Greenhouse Gases - Abbreviated to GHG. 98% made up of Carbon Dioxide, Methane or Nitrous Oxide. Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. See Carbon and Equivalents
Carbon Dioxide and equivalents - bundle of main greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide, methane & nitrous oxide. Abbreviated CO2e.
Embodied Emissions - CO2e baked-in to things we buy, use or do. They could come from the raw materials, the production process, transportation, use and disposal of items or activities
Carbon Sinks - places in nature (i.e. forests and oceans) that absorb carbon and lock emissions away for the long term, so it's not in the atmosphere