What are Greenhouse gases?
Greehouse gases (GHGs), like carbon dioxide and methane, trap heat from the sun inside the earth's atmosphere. The more GHGs that are in our atmosphere (e.g., from burning fossil fuels), the more heat is trapped. This raises the temperature of the air, ocean and water, changing the conditions in which we live, and changes weather globally and locally.
What is Climate Change?
Climate is the “average weather” in a location, over some time ranging from months up to thousands of years. Climate change refers to a change in the climate that continues for decades or longer. The global climate has changed over long periods of time naturally, but more recent and rapid climate change is being attributed to human activities, like the burning fossil fuels (gasoline, diesel, oil) and land use changes (deforestation, development, etc). The average global temperature on Earth has increased by more than 1⁰ Celsius since 1880.
Why is a change of 1.5⁰C important?
Going above 1.5 degrees of warming puts millions more at risk of potentially life-threatening heatwaves, natural disasters, and poverty. It also causes large ecosystem impacts like wiping out coral reefs, which entire ecosystems rely on worldwide.
In the past, a -1⁰C to -2⁰C change took the Earth into the Little Ice Age. Approx. 20,000 years ago it was a -5⁰ change that caused the Ice Age, burying most of North American under the towering mass of ice that created fjords like Western Brook Pond.
What hazards are most closely related to climate change?
Hazards most closely associated with climate change include flooding, forest fires, wind, erosion, invasive species, storm surge, reduce ice quantity and quality, and drought conditions.