About Global Warming

Over the last three hundred years we have radically increased our use of energy sources like oil, coal and natural gas. Burning these fuels releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. At the same time we have been busy cutting down our forests and planting houses and businesses on our farmland, which serves to lower the carbon consuming impact that trees provide. The net effect is a significant negative impact on our climate, sometimes known as global warming. CO2 and other GHGs are accumulating in the atmosphere at levels never reached before. Scientists and government officials from 113 countries issued a report in 2007 that directly blames humans for rising global temperatures. Some of the main conclusions from their report are:

  • Warming of the climate system is unequivocal (not debatable), as is evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.
  • Global increases in carbon dioxide concentration are due primarily to fossil fuel use and land-use change, while those of methane and nitrous oxide are primarily due to agriculture.
  • The understanding of human-influenced warming and cooling effects on climate has improved over the previous 4 years. This has led to very high confidence that the globally-averaged net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming
  • Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide (greenhouse gases) have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values determined from ice cores spanning thousands of years.
What Will Happen Next?

What all this means is that global warming and climate change are starting to transform our planet. This will affect us, our children and grandchildren, living things and ecosystems, as well as the economy. No one can say for sure what will happen next, but if we don't start taking serious action, here are some possibilities:

  • Rising sea levels destroy coastal areas
  • Frequent and intense heat waves
  • More droughts and wildfires
  • Extinction of millions of species
  • Spreading of weather-sensitive disease