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Climate change is happening

Our Earth is warming. Earth's average temperature has risen by 1.4F over the past
century, and is projected to rise another 2 to 11.5F over the next hundred years. ma!!
changes in the average temperature o" the p!anet can trans!ate to !arge and potentia!!y
dangerous shi"ts in c!imate and #eather.
The evidence is clear. $ising g!oba! temperatures have been accompanied by changes in
#eather and c!imate. %any p!aces have seen changes in rain"a!!, resu!ting in more "!oods,
droughts, or intense rain, as #e!! as more "re&uent and severe heat #aves. 'he p!anet's
oceans and g!aciers have a!so experienced some big changes ( oceans are #arming and
becoming more acidic, ice caps are me!ting, and sea !eve!s are rising. )s these and other
changes become more pronounced in the coming decades, they #i!! !i*e!y present
cha!!enges to our society and our environment.
Humans are largely responsible for recent climate
change
+ver the past century, human activities have re!eased !arge amounts o" carbon dioxide
and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. 'he majority o" greenhouse gases come
"rom burning "ossi! "ue!s to produce energy, a!though de"orestation, industria! processes,
and some agricu!tura! practices a!so emit gases into the atmosphere.
,reenhouse gases act !i*e a b!an*et around Earth, trapping energy in the atmosphere and
causing it to #arm. 'his phenomenon is ca!!ed the greenhouse e""ect and is natura! and
necessary to support !i"e on Earth. -o#ever, the bui!dup o" greenhouse gases can change
Earth's c!imate and resu!t in dangerous e""ects to human hea!th and #e!"are and to
ecosystems.
'he choices #e ma*e today #i!! a""ect the amount o" greenhouse gases #e put in the
atmosphere in the near "uture and "or years to come.
Climate change affects everyone
Our lives are connected to the climate. -uman societies have adapted to the re!ative!y
stab!e c!imate #e have enjoyed since the !ast ice age #hich ended severa! thousand years
ago. ) #arming c!imate #i!! bring changes that can a""ect our #ater supp!ies, agricu!ture,
po#er and transportation systems, the natura! environment, and even our o#n hea!th and
sa"ety.
Some changes to the climate are unavoidable. .arbon dioxide can stay in the
atmosphere "or near!y a century, so Earth #i!! continue to #arm in the coming decades.
'he #armer it gets, the greater the ris* "or more severe changes to the c!imate and Earth's
system. )!though it's di""icu!t to predict the exact impacts o" c!imate change, #hat's c!ear
is that the c!imate #e are accustomed to is no !onger a re!iab!e guide "or #hat to expect in
the "uture.
We can reduce the risks we will face from climate change. /y ma*ing choices that
reduce greenhouse gas po!!ution, and preparing "or the changes that are a!ready
under#ay, #e can reduce ris*s "rom c!imate change. +ur decisions today #i!! shape the
#or!d our chi!dren and grandchi!dren #i!! !ive in.
We can make a difference
ou can take action. 0ou can ta*e steps at home, on the road, and in your o""ice to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the ris*s associated #ith c!imate change. %any o"
these steps can save you money1 some, such as #a!*ing or bi*ing to #or* can even
improve your hea!th2 0ou can a!so get invo!ved on a !oca! or state !eve! to support energy
e""iciency, c!ean energy programs, or other c!imate programs.