Climate change


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Climate change

  1. 1. The scientific evidence is conclusive Climate change EUROPEAN COMMISSION FEBRUARY 2009
  2. 2. <ul><li>‘ Climate’ is the long-term atmospheric conditions, ‘weather’ varies constantly </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in climate are natural: e.g. after the last ice age (11,500 years ago) global temperatures were 5°C lower than now </li></ul><ul><li>BUT we are now experiencing temperature rises at unprecedented speed </li></ul><ul><li>Scientists believe that human activities are responsible </li></ul>
  3. 3. Climate change facts <ul><li>Europe’s temperatures have risen by 1°C since 1850 </li></ul><ul><li>Another 1.2°C could mean irreversible, large-scale and potentially catastrophic environmental change </li></ul>
  4. 4. Climate change facts <ul><li>Extreme weather events – storms, floods, droughts and heat waves – becoming more frequent and more severe </li></ul><ul><li>90% of natural disasters in Europe since 1980 caused by weather and climate </li></ul>
  5. 5. Climate change facts <ul><li>Europe’s glaciers have lost two-thirds of their mass since 1850 – and the trend is accelerating </li></ul><ul><li>Polar ice is melting and sea levels are rising at double the rate of 50 years ago </li></ul><ul><li>Millions of people around the globe threatened with water shortages, hunger and poverty </li></ul>
  6. 7. Source: Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
  7. 8. What’s the cause? <ul><li>Humans are pumping more ‘greenhouse gases’ into the atmosphere </li></ul><ul><li>The atmosphere acts like the glass walls of a greenhouse </li></ul><ul><li>Natural greenhouse gases help retain heat – without them, temperatures would be 30°C lower </li></ul><ul><li>But man-made greenhouse gases emissions up 70% since 1970, meaning more heat trapped </li></ul>
  8. 10. 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
  9. 11. Where’s the evidence? <ul><li>The leading scientific authority on climate change is the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinates findings of 2,500 experts all round the globe </li></ul><ul><li>4th Assessment Report (AR4) published November 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>AR4 represents 6 years of research and analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Cautious and rigorous scientific approach to its conclusions </li></ul><ul><li>Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2007 </li></ul>
  10. 12. Findings of 4th Assessment Report <ul><li>Conclusive evidence that global warming is due to human activity </li></ul><ul><li>If temperatures rise by more than 2°C, the effects could be sudden and irreversible </li></ul><ul><li>We still have time to slow down or adapt to climate change </li></ul><ul><li>Many useful technologies already exist, and make good economic sense </li></ul><ul><li>… but urgent action is needed now! </li></ul>
  11. 13. What are governments doing? <ul><li>Governments work together under the UN framework convention on climate change </li></ul><ul><li>The current agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, sets binding emissions targets for developed countries </li></ul><ul><li>Negotiations are under way for a follow-up – to be agreed in December 2009 in Copenhagen </li></ul>
  12. 14. The European Union is a pioneer in the battle against climate change <ul><li>EU countries have set targets for 2020 to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cut emissions by 20% (or 30% if agreed globally) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase energy efficiency by 20% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Generate 20% of energy from renewable sources </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The EU is pushing for an ambitious new global pact to reduce emissions </li></ul>
  13. 15. What can you do? <ul><li>Simple everyday actions play a major role in the fight against climate change </li></ul><ul><li>So… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recycle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Save hot water by taking a shower instead of a bath (four times less energy) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plant a tree, at school, in your garden or neighbourhood </li></ul></ul>
  14. 17. What can you do? <ul><li>Use public transport, cycle, walk </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t leave appliances on stand-by – use the on/off function of the machine </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t leave you mobile charger plugged in when you are not charging your phone </li></ul>
  15. 18. <ul><li> </li></ul>