Climate change
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Climate change






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Climate change Climate change Presentation Transcript

  • The scientific evidence is conclusive Climate change EUROPEAN COMMISSION FEBRUARY 2009
    • ‘ Climate’ is the long-term atmospheric conditions, ‘weather’ varies constantly
    • Changes in climate are natural: e.g. after the last ice age (11,500 years ago) global temperatures were 5°C lower than now
    • BUT we are now experiencing temperature rises at unprecedented speed
    • Scientists believe that human activities are responsible
  • Climate change facts
    • Europe’s temperatures have risen by 1°C since 1850
    • Another 1.2°C could mean irreversible, large-scale and potentially catastrophic environmental change
  • Climate change facts
    • Extreme weather events – storms, floods, droughts and heat waves – becoming more frequent and more severe
    • 90% of natural disasters in Europe since 1980 caused by weather and climate
  • Climate change facts
    • Europe’s glaciers have lost two-thirds of their mass since 1850 – and the trend is accelerating
    • Polar ice is melting and sea levels are rising at double the rate of 50 years ago
    • Millions of people around the globe threatened with water shortages, hunger and poverty
  • Source: Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
  • What’s the cause?
    • Humans are pumping more ‘greenhouse gases’ into the atmosphere
    • The atmosphere acts like the glass walls of a greenhouse
    • Natural greenhouse gases help retain heat – without them, temperatures would be 30°C lower
    • But man-made greenhouse gases emissions up 70% since 1970, meaning more heat trapped
  • Greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) – burning coal, oil and gas for energy, transport and heat nitrous oxide (N 2 O) – waste disposal sites, agriculture and cattle methane (CH 4 ) hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) perfluorocarbons (PFCs) sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) – used in fridges, air-conditioning and even shoes
  • Where’s the evidence?
    • The leading scientific authority on climate change is the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
    • Coordinates findings of 2,500 experts all round the globe
    • 4th Assessment Report (AR4) published November 2007
    • AR4 represents 6 years of research and analysis
    • Cautious and rigorous scientific approach to its conclusions
    • Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2007
  • Findings of 4th Assessment Report
    • Conclusive evidence that global warming is due to human activity
    • If temperatures rise by more than 2°C, the effects could be sudden and irreversible
    • We still have time to slow down or adapt to climate change
    • Many useful technologies already exist, and make good economic sense
    • … but urgent action is needed now!
  • What are governments doing?
    • Governments work together under the UN framework convention on climate change
    • The current agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, sets binding emissions targets for developed countries
    • Negotiations are under way for a follow-up – to be agreed in December 2009 in Copenhagen
  • The European Union is a pioneer in the battle against climate change
    • EU countries have set targets for 2020 to:
      • Cut emissions by 20% (or 30% if agreed globally)
      • Increase energy efficiency by 20%
      • Generate 20% of energy from renewable sources
    • The EU is pushing for an ambitious new global pact to reduce emissions
  • What can you do?
    • Simple everyday actions play a major role in the fight against climate change
    • So…
      • Recycle
      • Save hot water by taking a shower instead of a bath (four times less energy)
      • Plant a tree, at school, in your garden or neighbourhood
  • What can you do?
    • Use public transport, cycle, walk
    • Don’t leave appliances on stand-by – use the on/off function of the machine
    • Don’t leave you mobile charger plugged in when you are not charging your phone