This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Climate change is already happening and represents one of the greatest environmental, social and economic threats facing the planet. The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that the Earth's average surface temperature has risen by 0.76° C since 1850. Most of the warming over the past 50 years is very likely to have been caused by emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other 'greenhouse gases' from human activities. Without action to reduce these emissions, the global average temperature is likely to rise by a further 1.8-4.0°C this century, and by up to 6.4°C in the worst case scenario, the IPCC projects. Even the lower end of this range would take the temperature increase since pre-industrial times above 2°C - the threshold beyond which many scientists believe irreversible and possibly catastrophic changes would become more likely. The European Union has long been at the forefront of international efforts to combat climate change and was instrumental in the development of the two United Nations climate treaties, the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, agreed in 1997. The EU has also been taking steps to limit its greenhouse gas emissions since the early 1990s. In 2000 the European Commission launched the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP) which has led to the adoption of a wide range of new policies and measures, including the pioneering EU Emissions Trading System. The Kyoto Protocol requires the 15 countries that were EU members at the time ('EU15') to reduce their collective emissions in the 2008-2012 period to 8% below 1990 levels. Emissions monitoring and projections show that the EU-15 is well on track to meet this target. In 2007 EU leaders endorsed an integrated approach to climate and energy policy and committed to transforming Europe into a highly energy-efficient, low carbon economy. They made a unilateral commitment that Europe would cut its emissions by at least 20% of 1990 levels by 2020. This commitment is being implemented through a package of binding legislation. The EU has also offered to increase its emissions reduction to 30% by 2020, on condition that other major emitting countries in the developed and developing worlds commit to do their fair share under a future global climate agreement. This agreement should take effect at the start of 2013 when the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period will have expired. The Copenhagen Accord reached in December 2009 represents a step towards such an agreement. The EU is pressing for a global deal that is ambitious, comprehensive and legally binding. Causes of Climate Change The causes of climate change can be divided into two categories, human and natural causes.
Volcanic eruptions . thereby producing ice ages. and ash into the atmosphere. Because they reflect solar energy back into space they have a cooling effect on the world. governments and many top scientists around the world believe that we must act now to stabilise and arrest further changes. Deep ocean circulation of cold water from the poles towards the equator and movement of warm water from the equator back towards the poles. Interactions between the ocean and atmosphere can also produce phenomena such as El Niño which occur every 2 to 6 years. carbon dioxide is also produced however the CO2 produced is insignificant when compared to emissions created by humans. Large volumes of gases and ash can influence climatic patterns for years by increasing planetary reflectivity causing atmospheric cooling. dust. Changes in ocean circulation may affect the climate through the movement of CO2 into or out of the atmosphere. Earth orbital changes .Do Volcanoes cause climate change) Ocean current . (see also featured article . Changes in the tilt of the earth can lead to small but climatically important changes in the strength of the seasons. Although the Sun’s energy output appears constant from an everyday point of view. As the sun is the fundamental . more tilt means warmer summers and colder winters. water vapour. small changes over an extended period of time can lead to climate changes. Solar variations .The earth makes one full orbit around the sun each year. the earth’s orbital changes and solar variations.5° to the perpendicular plane of its orbital path. What Causes Climate Change in detail Natural Causes of Climate Change The earth’s climate is influenced and changed through natural causes like volcanic eruptions. Some scientists suspect that a portion of the warming in the first half of the 20th century was due to an increase in the output of solar energy. Slow changes in the Earth’s orbit lead to small but climatically important changes in the strength of the seasons over tens of thousands of years. less tilt means cooler summers and milder winters.When a volcano erupts it throws out large volumes of sulphur dioxide (SO2). The natural variability and the climate fluctuations of the climate system have always been part of the Earth’s history however there have been changes in concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere growing at an unprecedented rate and magnitude.The oceans are a major component of the climate system. The United Nations. ocean current. The greenhouse gas. Without this movement the poles would be colder and the equator warmer.The Sun is the source of energy for the Earth’s climate system. It is tilted at an angle of 23. Tiny particles called aerosols are produced by volcanoes. Climate feedbacks amplify these small changes. Winds push horizontally against the sea surface and drive ocean current patterns.It is now a global concern that the climatic changes occurring today have been speeded up because of man's activities. Ocean currents move vast amounts of heat across the planet. The oceans play an important role in determining the atmospheric concentration of CO2.
a warming at the surface and in the lower parts of the atmosphere. agriculture. Hadley Centre. then scientists would expect to see warmer temperatures in all layers of the atmosphere. Changes in land use pattern. The energy sector is responsible for about ¾ of the carbon dioxide emissions. Some examples are evidenced such as since 1750. UK "The Hadley Centre holds an unique position in the world of climate science. including agriculture and deforestation. Current global warming however cannot be explained by solar variations. coal and natural gas supply most of the energy needed to run vehicles. If global warming was caused by a more active sun." Independent Review 2007 "There is strong evidence that the warming of the Earth over the last half-century has been caused largely by human activity. Methane . Also climate models that include solar irradiance changes cannot reproduce last century's observed temperature trend without including a rise in greenhouse gases. Human Causes of Climate Change "It has been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that the climate is changing due to man-made greenhouse gases. They have only observed a cooling in the upper atmosphere." The Royal Society 2010 The Industrial Revolution in the 19th century saw the large-scale use of fossil fuels for industrial activities. such as the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use. 1/5 of the methane emissions and a large quantity of nitrous oxide. generate electricity for industries and households. We are already committed to future substantial change over the next 30 years and change is likely to accelerate over the rest of the 21st century. No other single body has a comparable breadth of climate change science and modelling. land clearing. or has made the same contribution to global climate science and current knowledge. For instance a decrease in solar activity was thought to have triggered the Little Ice Age between approximately 1650 and 1850. Scientific studies demonstrate that solar variations have performed a role in past climate changes.source of energy that is instrumental in our climate system it would be reasonable to assume that changes in the sun's energy output would cause the climate to change. Carbon dioxide is undoubtedly. when Greenland was largely cut off by ice from 1410 to the 1720s and glaciers advanced in the Alps. deforestation. the most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. the average amount of energy coming from the Sun either remained constant or increased slightly. This is due to greenhouse gasses capturing heat in the lower atmosphere." The Met Office. Fossil fuels such as oil. and other activities have all led to a rise in the emission of carbon dioxide.
is another important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Main Contributors and Causes of Climate Change According to the UK Government the main contributors of man made causes of climate change in the UK are: * 4% of carbon emissions come from industrial processes * 7% come from agriculture – for example methane emissions from livestock and manure. The biggest sources of emissions for most people are likely to be: * * * air travel energy use in the driving home (the main a use is heating) car There other elements of people's homes that contribute to climate change indirectly. Want to learn more on the causes of climate change? Then take a look at the video below. goats. from clothes to carpets. pigs. It is especially clear in the dramatic change of the polar caps. leaking gas pipelines. i. The certainty of global warming can be seen through some of the natural phenomenon like the effect on crops and extreme weather conditions around the world. .e. the Arctic ice cap is shrinking and the Antarctica ice shelf is melting. the three main causes of the increase in greenhouse gases observed over the past 250 years have been fossil fuels. Agriculture has been shown to produce significant effects on climate change. buffaloes. and nitrous oxide emissions from chemical fertilisers 21% carbon emissions from transport 65% come from the use of fuel to generate energy (excluding transport) About 40% of carbon emissions in the UK are the result of decisions taken directly by individuals. Everything. coal mining. land use. It is released from animals such as dairy cows. horses and sheep Methane is also emitted during the process of oil drilling. and agriculture. camels. all use energy when it is produced and transported – and this causes carbon emissions to be released. landfills and waste dumps. Agriculture as a Contributor to the Causes of Climate Change According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. from furniture to computers.
Remember trees absorb CO2. Rainforests every year help to absorb almost 20% of man made CO2 emissions therefore deforestation can be classed as a major contributor to the causes of climate change. If the natural greenhouse effect did not exist. Land use change such as deforestation and desertification. Deforestation as a contributor to the Causes of Climate change It is important. .Inter-government Panel continued The most recent assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that the earth’s average temperature has risen by 0.000 years. first to understand what a precious resource rainforests play in our world. At present the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 385 ppm (parts per million). Analyses of air contained in ice from the Antarctic ice cap show that there is far more CO2 in the air today than at any time in the last 650. Water vapour makes the most significant contribution to the greenhouse effect. together with use of fossil fuels. The greenhouse effect is caused by a range of different gases in the earth’s atmosphere. Before industrialization it was about 280 ppm. The greenhouse effect is a natural mechanism that retains the heat emitted from the earth’s surface. More deforestation means more CO2 build up in the atmosphere. are the major anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide. Deforestation by means of cutting down and burning these tropical rainforests usually pave the way for agriculture and industry which often produce even more CO2. the average temperature would be around minus 19 degrees celsius (minus 2 degrees fahrenheit). and nitrous oxide. Another contributing cause of climate change is when agriculture alters the Earth's land cover. The earth’s average temperature is at the moment around 14 degrees celsius (57 degrees fahrenheit).primarily through the production and release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. and especially the last 50. They form part of a delicate ecosystem that has taken millions of years to evolve. which can change its ability to absorb or reflect heat and light. and that the average temperature will continue to rise. The causes of climate change Increase in global temperatures . Cutting down rainforests faster than they can be replaced has a devastating effect on the carbon emission cycle producing an extra 17% of greenhouse gases.74 degrees in the period from 1906 to 2005. followed by CO2. methane. The atmospheric content of greenhouse gases – in particular CO2 – and the consequences for the climate are being discussed because the content of these gases in the atmosphere has risen precipitously in a period covering approximately the latest 250 years.
They need much more space to store so require extra energy to transport them from manufacturers to shops Diesel trains in rural Britain are more polluting than 4x4 vehicles. They produce less milk so their methane emissions per litre are higher.1 per cent of landfill waste. All of these effects are predictable in the event of global warming. said: “If ten or fewer people travel in a Sprinter [train]. and accordingly it is strongest in the northern hemisphere. It concludes that the earth’s average temperature has risen by 0. How much warmer has. Organic dairy cows are worse for the climate. and therefore the earth is becoming warmer. the Department for Environment. The most recent assessment report from the IPCC is from 2007. a study by the Environment Agency found. but that the extent and the duration of this rise. Burning wood for fuel is better for the environment than recycling it. BBC The Causes and Effects of Climate Change in Ethiopia . over time. as so much carbon is wasted flying the food to Britain. At the same time occurrences of heat waves and violent downpours have also increased.74 degrees in the period from 1906 to 2005. Food and Rural Affairs discovered. regarded as shields against global warming because they absorb carbon. reduced. depend on how quickly and how effectively emissions of greenhouse gases can be restricted and. when Transport Secretary. were found by German scientists to be major producers of methane. Sources for Shattering some of the Green myths that contribute to the causes of Climate Change: Defra. The Times. While throwaway nappies make up 0. The warming is stronger over land areas than over the sea. Douglas Alexander. by Chris Goodall. Trees. How to Live a Low-Carbon Life. and the severity of its consequences. the oceans have risen. however. it would be less environmentally damaging to give them each a Land Rover Freelander and tell them to drive”. clean water and detergent Paper bags cause more global warming than plastic. Shattering some of the Green myths that contribute to the causes of Climate Change Traditional nappies (diapers) are as bad as disposables. the cloth variety are a waste of energy. Absorbent Hygiene Products Manufacturers Association.The consequence is that the greenhouse effect is becoming stronger. and the ice at the world’s poles and on its mountains has begun to melt. a much more harmful greenhouse gas. The IPCC’s most recent assessment report concludes that the average temperature will continue to rise. been a matter of dispute. Someone who installs a “green” light bulb undoes a year’s worth of energy saving by buying two bags of imported vegetables.
and food insecurity. journalists came face to face with disgruntled farmers who decried the negligence of the international community in mitigating the effects of climate change. Farmers. more informed respondents reported less concern or sense of responsibility towards climate change. "Cognitive and Behavioural Challenges in Responding to Climate Change" by Kari Marie Norgaard The Royal Society's 2010 Report looks at the science behind the causes of Climate Change The Royal Society acknowledges climate change and the causes continues to be a area of immense scientific research and public debate. the report details how climate change is set to make the lives of the poorest even harder. who form the majority of the Ethiopian population. While Ethiopia has always suffered from great climatic variability. and confusion between weather and climate. Existing Work and Knowledge regarding climate change indicates that: • A lack of citizen understanding regarding the basics of climate science is an almost universal finding worldwide even though knowledge has increased over time. Concern is widespread around the world. Many people judge as serious only those problems for which they think action can be taken. People stop paying attention to global climate change when they realize that there is no easy solution for it. During the recent Earth Day celebrations. which will include increased poverty. Taken from Background Paper to the 2010 World Development Report. water scarcity. In some studies. from ruined crops to dying cattle. continue to cry foul over inconsistent weather. but it may also be inversely correlated with the wealth and carbon footprint of a nation. Americans know far less about climate change than their counterparts in the developed world Accurate and complete understanding of information is not a pre-requisite for concern. including droughts that have contributed to hunger and even famine in the past. Many Ethiopian publications and notably weblogs have highlighted grim stories of disillusioned farmers whose lives are at stake. Farmers and pastoralists around the country have shared with journalists the toll that climate change is having on their communities. as a result of global warming.A recent report released by Oxfam International shows that small-scale farmers and pastoralists in Ethiopia are likely to bear the brunt of the negative impacts of climate change in the region. Especially notable is confusion between causes of climate change and ozone depletion. The implications of changes in .
which is the most comprehensive source of climate science and its uncertainties. plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner. This document draws upon recent evidence and builds on the Fourth Assessment Report of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Effects that scientists had predicted in the past would result from global climate change are now occuring: loss of sea ice. published in 2007. the extent of climate change effects on individual regions will vary over time and with the ability of different societal and environmental systems to mitigate or adapt to change. The Royal Society's latest report aims to summarise current scientific evidence on climate change and the causes of climate change. Humanity depends on the balance of the world's ecosystems. forecasts a temperature rise of 2. ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier. Net annual costs will increase over time as global temperatures increase. Glaciers have shrunk. "the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time. The Royal Society agrees that global warming has occurred over the past 50 years and is largely caused by human activity.300 scientists from the United States and other countries.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. which includes more than 1. largely due to greenhouse gasses produced by human activities." the IPCC states.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 3 degrees Celsius) above 1990 levels will produce beneficial impacts in some regions and harmful ones in others. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). accelerated sea level rise and longer. where there is a wide consensus but continuing debate. According to the IPCC. The Royal Society state there is still some uncertainty on the size of future temperature fluctuations and other aspects of climate change however the risks associated with these changes are substantial. The current and future consequences of global change Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment.climate are significant to everyone now and for future generations. The report sets out where the science is established.8 to 5. The document does not tackle the impacts of climate change but the causes of climate change are considered. including agriculture and deforestation. What causes climate change is highlighted by human actions such as the the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use. Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come. The IPCC predicts that increases in global mean temperature of less than 1. "Taken as a whole. more intense heat waves." 1 Below are some of the regional impacts of global change forecast by the IPCC: .
risk of significant biodiversity loss through species extinction in many tropical areas. intensity and duration of heat waves in cities that currently experience them.5 Asia: Freshwater availability projected to decrease in Central. cold nights and frost less frequent Very likely over land areas More frequent hot days and nights Very likely . coastal areas will be at risk due to increased flooding. increased frequency. 5-20 percent increase in yields of rain-fed agriculture in some regions. reduced snow cover and winter tourism. between 75 and 250 million people are projected to be exposed to increased water stress. more frequent coastal flooding and increased erosion from storms and sea level rise. • • • • Global Climate Change: Recent Impacts7 Phenomena Likelihood that trend occurred in late 20th century Cold days. agriculture and energy generation.2 Latin America: Gradual replacement of tropical forest by savannah in eastern Amazonia. death rate from disease associated with floods and droughts expected to rise in some regions. yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50 percent in some regions by 2020. South.3 Europe: Increased risk of inland flash floods. may be severely compromised.• North America: Decreasing snowpack in the western mountains.4 Africa: By 2020. East and Southeast Asia by the 2050s. agricultural production. significant changes in water availability for human consumption. glacial retreat in mountainous areas. reductions of crop productivity in southern Europe. extensive species losses. including access to food.
Heat waves more frequent over most land areas Increased incidence of extreme high sea level* Likely Likely Global area affected by drought has increased Likely in some regions (since 1970s) Increase in intense tropical cyclone activity in Likely in some regions North Atlantic (since 1970) * Excluding tsunamis. including High confidence western U. • Do not leave appliances on standby. Switching off 5 lights in hallways and rooms in your house when you don't need them can save around € 60 a year and avoid about 400kg of CO2 emissions per year. and Mediterranean basin How can you control climate change? Climate change is a global problem. A TV set that's switched on for 3 hours a day (the average time Europeans spend watching TV) and in standby mode during the remaining 21 hours uses about 40% of its energy in standby mode. In fact. Taking the time to flip a simple switch or turn off your tap may seem insignificant. • Unplug your mobile charger when you're not using it. • Switch off the lights when you don't need them. Even small changes in our daily behaviour can help prevent greenhouse gas emissions without affecting our quality of life. There are estimates . decrease in sea ice extent Increased frequency of hot extremes. and yet each one of us has the power to make a difference. heat waves and heavy Very likely to occur precipitation Increase in tropical cyclone intensity Precipitation increases in high latitudes Precipitation decreases in subtropical land regions Likely to occur Very likely to occur Very likely to occur Decreased water resources in many semi-arid areas. but cheaper over their life span. Review these tips for ways to incorporate energy-saving measures into your everyday routine. Even when it is not connected to the phone. Global Climate Change: Future Trends8 Phenomena Likelihood of trend Contraction of snow cover areas. which are not due to climate change. Energy-saving bulbs are more expensive to buy. Switching off 5 lights in hallways and rooms in your house when you don't need them can save around € 60 a year and avoid about 400kg of CO2 emissions per year. • Use energy-saving light bulbs: just one can reduce your lighting costs by up to € 60 and avoid 400kg of CO2 emissions over the lifetime of the bulb . but if everyone took the time to do it every day. they can help save us money.and they last up to 10 times longer than ordinary light bulbs. increased thaw in permafrost Virtually certain regions.use the "on/off" function on the machine itself. it is still draining electricity.S. the results would be considerable.
wood. Must you print? . • Print less! At the office.10 during this hour.5kg of CO2. • Keep cool with a fan. By doing so. and solar .5l. e. only 14% of Europe's electricity is generated from climate-friendly renewable energy sources such as wind. the saving is 1. Recycling one aluminium can saves 90% of the energy needed to produce a new one . it can also pollute the air. hydro. • Reduce waste. Some studies show that office paper consumption is rising by 20 % per year and web-based technology is actually increasing the printing of documents. Recycle With more European governments driving recycling initiatives. • Bring used glass to the bottle bank and sort paper and cardboard.g. • Choose products that come with little packaging and buy refills when you can . On average each worker uses about 50 sheets of A4 per day. during production and distribution. Fans might be an alternative. otherwise use air conditioners sparingly and look for the most energy-efficient model. and recycling 1kg of paper instead of landfilling it avoids 900gr of CO2emissions as well as methane emissions. Currently. • Reuse your shopping bag.you will also cut down on waste production and energy use! • Buy intelligently: one bottle of 1. Waste not only discharges CO2 and methane into the atmosphere. biogas. it is becoming easier for everyone to recycle. Most products we buy cause greenhouse gas emissions in one or another way.and demand creates supply! You may also want to think about fitting solar panels on the roof of your home. encourage your colleagues to re-use the other side of paper and print less by archiving their emails and attachments. When shopping. • Switch to green electricity.that 95% of the energy is wasted when you leave the charger plugged in all the time.9kg of CO2emissions per kilogramme of aluminium! For 1kg of recycled plastics. Learn new and easy ways to dispose of waste as well as how to choose products and packaging that have less of an impact on the environment. By recycling organic waste or composting it if you have a garden. • Recycle your organic waste.an average room air conditioner operates at 1000 Watt. You can also try and create paperless habits. otherwise your compost will cause methane emissions and smell foul. so it decomposes with sufficient oxygen. for 1kg of recycled glass.5l requires less energy and produces less waste than three bottles of 0.5l. Landfills account for around 3% of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions through the methane released by decomposing biodegradable waste. By taking your lunch in a reusable lunch box instead of a disposable one. you save the energy needed to produce new lunch boxes. plastics and cans from the rest of your waste. it is 300gr of CO 2. it saves energy and waste to use a reusable bag instead of accepting a disposable one in each shop. One bottle of 1. groundwater and soil. you'll help strengthen renewable energy sources. you can help eliminate this problem! Just make sure that you compost it properly.5l requires less energy and produces less waste than three bottles of 0. Air conditioners are real energy gobblers . causing around 650gr of CO2 emissions per hour and costing around € 0.
. and economic analysis inform areas for priority investment. institutions and individuals must act now. ADB’s Strategy 2020 (ADB 2008) recognizes the urgent need for significant progress on energy efficiency and other measures to address climate change across developing Asia and the Pacific in order to produce positive results reaching far beyond regional borders and the present generation. As such. technical. and increase energy security. and improve land use management to reduce emissions. Funding and cooperation to support adaptation and risk management efforts in Asia and the Pacific will need to dramatically increase to meet the needs of DMCs.Conclusion To avoid the worst predicted impacts of climate change. there is no time to wait: climate change is real and is affecting ADB DMCs. Investment in low-carbon growth strategies may be given strong signals by the agreements reached at the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009. ADB will continue to provide significant support to DMCs to leverage carbon finance and develop CDM projects that reduce emissions. climate change considerations will be incorporated into all development planning. ADB will partner with leading organizations to ensure that the social dimensions of climate change—including health. nowhere in the world are coordinated responses as critical as in Asia and the Pacific. Within the next decade. the private sector. Existing scientific. and migration—are adequately addressed as part of our DMCs’ responses. develop sustainable transport systems. and ADB will respond by concentrating support to DMCs to increase energy efficiency. ADB will work more aggressively than ever with governments. and civil society to move towards low-carbon. In terms of planning both adaptation measures to respond to the predicted impacts of climate change and mitigation measures to avoid rapid increases in global emissions. gender. Resilience measures will soon be build into national development plans using sophisticated tools under development to estimate the risks and corresponding incremental costs that must be considered as a result of climate change. climateresilient economies. Actions must be decisive and informed to transform greenhouse gas intensive business-asusual practices. help transfer technology. focusing on climate-proofing existing and planned investments. However. ADB will expand both technical and financial resources to address adaptation. using its technical and financial resources to transform and protect economies in Asia and the Pacific. or at subsequent conferences. In the short term. and sectorwide support to water and agriculture. ADB will continue to actively engage with partners and rapidly increase its support for core sustainable infrastructure and climate change adaptation activities. threatening to undo hard-won development gains.