Why tackle climate change?

What is climate change?
22 March 2012

Floods in Pakistan. Drought in Australia. Hurricanes in Florida. And we're likely to see more flooding in the UK. The effects of a warming world are serious. What's causing it?

Science of climate change

Climate change is caused by a build-up of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other polluting gases in our atmosphere.

Diagram of greenhouse gas effect

The gases trap heat by forming a blanket around the Earth - like the glass of a greenhouse.

And they stay in the atmosphere for many years. As they build up, the planet's temperature rises.

Greenhouse gases are released by burning fossil fuels - coal, oil and gas - and by cutting down forests.

As the Earth warms up, other things - like the disappearance of ice and release of frozen methane - are helping push temperatures even higher.

Did you know?

Impacts

Your neighbourhood may not feel like a disaster movie today, but we're already seeing the impacts of global warming:

  • Chaotic weather
  • Rising sea levels
  • Drought
  • Mass extinction of species.

And the poorest are suffering the most - with flooded homes and failing harvests.

But it's not only in developing countries. Around 25,000 people died in the heat wave that hit Western Europe in 2003. The World Health Organisation (PDF) believes this is what we can expect from climate change.

Find out more about the impacts of climate change.

Most governments agree we shouldn't let the worst happen - and that means keeping average global temperatures to no more than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Please help us turn their words into action. Thank you.

> Our goals

flooded market in bangladesh

© G.M.B. Akash

Get email updates

Sign up for our latest news and ways to get involved