What’s global warming about?

What’s global warming about?

Global warming – otherwise known as climate change – is the biggest threat to our planet at the moment.

It’s the gradual increase in temperature caused by man-made pollution and gas emissions which traps heat inside the Earth’s atmosphere and slowly increases temperatures.

The most dangerous gas is carbon dioxide, which while essential to plant growth in the lower atmosphere, is what’s known as a ‘greenhouse gas’ that traps heat in the Earth’s system.

That means temperatures are slowly rising, leading to the melting of the planet’s ice caps – which are increasing sea levels – and causing extremes of weather.

What are the effects of global warming?

Sea levels are rising. Low-lying islands and coastal areas are already in danger of disappearing. Some Pacific nations may soon disappear under the waves altogether.

Ice caps are melting. The Arctic ice cap is disappearing fast. It may not be long before a ship can sail over the North Pole in summer.

Climate is changing. This brings danger to ecosystems all over the world. Most obvious is the polar bear, which is losing its places to hunt on melting ice floes. But all over the world, man, animals and plants are finding challenges brought about by changing climate patterns.

Extremes of weather. More hot summers and cold winters. These extremes bring about more violent storms.

We get snow in the winter. How is that possible with global warming?

Climate change rings extremes of weather. That means that while we get increasingly hot summers, we also get progressively cold winters and an increasing chance of freak weather conditions and severe storms.

That means that severe snow is very much a part of the global warming process. While unseasonal snow makes the headlines all over the world, droughts and water shortages tend not to.

Anyone who points to snow and rain as ‘proof’ that global warming doesn’t exist is wrong. They need to know the difference between ‘climate’ and ‘weather’.

Some people say that man-made global warming isn’t real. Are they right?

No, they’re not. Over 99% of scientific studies point to man-made global warming being ‘very likely’ to be behind climate change.

People who spread the message of climate change denial are usually big corporations who are worried that their profits will suffer if they change their existing, polluting, ways. It’s said that the older generation don’t care as much about the state of the planet because they’re going to be leaving the mess to unborn generations to clear up.

What can we do to prevent global warming?

Changing global warming needs to be a global effort, and some scientists think we may already be too late.

However, we’ve already taken giant steps to tackle the problem, such as working on more efficient cars with lower CO2 emissions, and making sure big companies don’t pollute as much.

You can help by using less energy at home, encouraging others to use the car less, and recycling as much as we can. Even small efforts can make a big difference if millions of people take part.

Chapters in this book

1. Why do we recycle?
2. Recycling: Some facts and figures
3. Recycling: More facts and figures
4. All about food waste
5. Recycling ideas for schools
6. What’s global warming about?