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Climate Change


Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas. It is the most important greenhouse gas emitted by human activities and it has been increasing exponentially for the past 150 years or so. This increase in CO2 has caused global warming which poses serious problems for future generations.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colorless, odorless gas that is byproduct of burning fossil fuels. It is also a key greenhouse gas, which means it traps heat in the atmosphere and contributes to global warming. CO2 has long been known as an influence on climate change; however, recent research suggests that its impact may be amplified even further when combined with other substances such as water vapor or methane.

In addition to acting as a greenhouse gas and driving climate change, CO2 can also play an important role in sea-level rise—the process by which oceans expand due to warming temperatures over time—and increase storm intensity through its role in both evaporation from water surfaces and condensation near clouds (the latter being one reason why some weather events are more intense than others).

Greenhouse Gas

Greenhouse gases are a natural part of the climate system. They occur naturally in the atmosphere and are also produced by humans, but their effect on global warming has been amplified by human activity. Greenhouse gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O).

Greenhouse gases have a significant impact on climate change because they absorb heat from sunlight; this causes them to trap heat in our atmosphere as infrared radiation. The more greenhouse gases there are in Earth’s atmosphere, the more heat will be trapped there!


Emissions from fossil fuels are a major contributor to climate change. The burning of coal, oil and natural gas releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This increases the amount of heat trapped by greenhouse gases like CO2 and methane (CH4). These gases have caused an increase in average global temperatures since 1850, which is already causing widespread effects such as rising sea levels and more severe weather events.

Land use changes also contribute to emissions from fossil fuels and other sources. Land cover loss means that forests are replaced with agricultural land or other types of development such as roads or buildings. If deforestation continues at current rates then we could lose half our planet's biodiversity within 50 years. Industry accounts for 10% of all human-related greenhouse gas emissions globally; this includes industrial activities such as cement production which releases CO2 into the atmosphere when used in building materials such as concrete blocks but also refrigerators, air conditioners etc.

Weather vs Climate

Climate is the average weather over a long period of time. It's not just what you experience today—it's also how your town or city has been affected by past events, such as droughts, floods and hurricanes.

Climate change is a long-term change in climate patterns that occurs due to human activity (for example burning fossil fuels). Climate change can be measured by changes in weather patterns and temperatures over large regions of Earth's surface; this means there are often two types of climate change: short-term (weather) changes and long-term (climate) changes.

Global warming vs climate change

Global warming is the increase in temperature of the earth's atmosphere due to greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is the change in the earth's climate over time, with long-term conditions such as changes in average weather patterns, precipitation and ocean currents. These two terms are often used interchangeably by scientists as well as media sources or even casual observers who want to sound informed. However, global warming and climate change are related but different concepts: while they both refer to changes in Earth's climate over time, they differ in their causality (i.e., whether these changes are due to human activity) and magnitude (i..e., how much warmer/cooler than usual).

Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels are hydrocarbon fuels formed from the remains of plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. They are non-renewable energy sources. Fossil fuels are burned to generate electricity and heat, with the remaining exhaust gases being released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2).

Global average temperature

Global average temperature is the average temperature over the whole planet. Global average temperatures have increased by about 1.1°C since 1880, according to [IPCC]. This increase is driven by rising levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and land surfaces (more on that below). The IPCC projects that global annual mean surface air temperatures will rise between 2°C and 4°C by 2100.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is energy that is collected from natural processes that are replenished at a faster rate than they are consumed. Renewable sources of energy include solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and biofuels.


The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the formal name for meetings held by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since 1992, it has been held every few years to agree on a set of climate change policies.

The Copenhagen Accord was a proposal made by President Barack Obama’s administration and China in 2009. It focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency, expanding renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines—and improving carbon accounting methods so that nations could better track their progress toward meeting targets set forth in the Kyoto Protocol or other global treaties related to climate change mitigation efforts.

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In 2015 at COP21 summit in Paris (also known as COP21), negotiators reached an agreement that they hoped would help prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels; however this goal seems unlikely given recent developments since then including new research suggesting that we may face higher temperatures than previously thought if we don’t take action now!


INDC is the abbreviation for Intended Nationally Determined Contribution. INDCs are national climate action plans. INDCs are the main mechanism of the Paris Agreement, which aims to ensure that each country contributes its fair share of emissions reductions and adaptation by 2020.

Because they are intended to be nationally determined, INDCs are unique in comparison with other international agreements like Kyoto and Cancún, which have been negotiated under a UN umbrella but lack any formal mechanism for enforcement or monitoring compliance (the UNFCCC).


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an intergovernmental panel of scientists and experts who produce scientific reports on climate change. These reports are used to inform policy makers, who then use them to develop a global response to climate change. The IPCC has been around since 1988, and its work has been recognized as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The IPCC was established by the UNFCCC as an advisory body for developing countries and developing economies. The aim of this advisory committee is to provide information about how human activities affect global warming so that governments can take action in response.


The greenhouse effect is the process by which atmospheric gases trap heat and energy within Earth's atmosphere. The most prominent greenhouse gas in our atmosphere is carbon dioxide (CO2), which is produced by the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. These emissions add to a long-term trend of increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere over time due to human activity.

The term "global warming" refers to an increase in average global temperatures over time, while "climate change" refers to changes in weather patterns at regional or local scales—including extreme events like floods or droughts occurring more frequently than normal but still within expected ranges based on historical data from past centuries—and these changes may occur whether or not humans are contributing factors for them being observed today

Pre-Industrial Levels of Carbon Dioxide

The carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere are rising, and they have been for thousands of years. They’re rising faster now than at any point since the Industrial Revolution began.

In fact, carbon dioxide levels are higher now than they have been in the last 800,000 years (the last time our planet experienced a cooling trend), or 20 million years (the last time our planet warmed).


Methane is a greenhouse gas. It's produced by livestock and rice paddies, and it can also be produced by the decomposition of organic matter in the soil.

Methane is a short-lived gas that breaks down in the atmosphere relatively quickly (within 20 years). For example, cattle emit methane when they burp or pass gas; this methane then gets released into the air as part of their normal digestion process. Rice paddies also generate large amounts of methane through bacterial action on organic material in their soils (the same process that leads to decomposition).


Mitigation is a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and it's the only way to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. It's also a long-term process that involves many other factors besides cutting down on fossil fuels—like improving energy efficiency, substituting renewables for fossil fuels and creating incentives for carbon capture technology.

Mitigation can be achieved through a variety of methods:

  • Reducing your personal carbon footprint by switching from driving or flying as often as possible; using public transportation; walking or biking instead of driving; turning off lights when not in use (if you leave them on all day).
  • Making changes at home such as installing solar panels or adding insulation around windows so they don't heat up during summer months.
  • Encouraging businesses within your community to go green by offering discounts on products made locally (and then donating any unsold stock), providing free parking spaces near stores so customers won't needlessly drive miles out of their way when shopping local shops instead. Supporting clean energy jobs where possible

The discussion around climate change is far from over. We know there’s a problem, we know what needs to be done, and we can do it. It's just a matter of time before we reach those goals.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Maina Wilson

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