Understanding climate change
For KSRM, Bhubaneswar
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in
the statistical distribution of weather patterns over
periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It
may be a change in average weather conditions, or in
the distribution of weather around the average
conditions (i.e., more or fewer extreme weather
events). Climate change is caused by factors such
as biotic processes, variations in solar
radiation received by Earth, plate tectonics, and
volcanic eruptions. Certain human activities have also
been identified as significant causes of recent climate
change, often referred to as "global warming".
• Climate change is one of the greatest challenges
of our time….and will affect, in profound adverse
ways, some of the fundamental determinants of
health, food, air and water – Dr. Margaret
Chan, WHO 2008
• It has brought about severe and possibly
permanent alterations to our planet’s
geological, biological and ecological systems.
• These changes have led to the emergence of
large scale environmental hazards to human
health, loss of bio-diversity, stresses to food
producing systems and global spread of infectious
• Majority of the adverse effects of CC are experienced
by poor and low-income communities around the
world who have much higher levels of vulnerability to
environmental determinants of health, wealth and
other factors, and much lower levels of capacity
available for coping with environmental change.
• A report on global human impact of climate change
published by Global Humanitarian forum in 2009
estimated more than 300,000 deaths and about $125
billion in economic losses each year, and indicating that
most climate change induced mortality is due to
worsening floods and droughts in developing countries
This raises the question of climate
justice, since the 50 least developed countries
of the world account for not more than 1% of
the worldwide emissions of green house gases
• Greenhouse effect - The greenhouse effect is a term
that describes how natural gases in the earth's
atmosphere allow infrared radiation from the sun to
warm the earth's surface, but they also prevent much
of the heat escaping from the earth's atmosphere.
Human actions are increasing the concentrations of
these gases, which is contributing to global climate
• Adaptation - In order to adapt to the effects of climate
change actions must be undertaken to help
communities adjust, through behaviour change, design
and delivery of services and planning and
infrastructure. Action must also be taken to protect our
natural assets and ecosystems.
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