Climate change is a major problem; one which we can’t ignore. Defined as a large-scale, long-term shift in the planet’s weather patterns or average temperatures, you’ll sometimes hear it referred to as global warming.
Since the last ice age – around 11,000 years ago – our climate has been pretty stable. That is, until recent years, when scientists have noticed significant changes. Higher temperatures, unusual levels of rainfall, changes in the seasons, rising sea levels and retreating glaciers have all been attributed to climate change.
But what causes climate change? It’s widely accepted by the scientific community that an increase in greenhouse gases is to blame.
The earth is surrounded by a layer of gases, including water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and more. This layer acts like insulation, keeping the planet warm. However, as the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere increases, this layer becomes thicker, causing average temperatures to rise.
One of the main factors contributing to the increase in greenhouse gases is the burning of fossil fuels like oil, coal and natural gas. These are burned to create energy, but in the process, release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Deforestation is further adding to this problem. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis, so as more and more trees are cut down, more carbon dioxide remains in the air.
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