Greenhouse gases (GHG) are gases in the Earth’s atmosphere that trap heat. GHG let sunlight pass through the atmosphere, but they prevent the heat that sunlight brings from leaving the atmosphere. GHG come from, burning fossil fuels (such as coal, oil and gas), deforestation, farming and industrial waste & landfills. These activities release gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and more; GHG prevent radiation from escaping the earth’s atmosphere and so increase the surface temperature of the earth which then leads to global warming.
Although sunlight heat in the atmosphere may seem like nice, hot sunny days to us, it is actually causing harm to our planet and increasing extreme weather events so impacting on the way we live. Circa 11% (815 million people) of the world’s population is currently vulnerable to climate change impacts such as droughts, floods, heat waves, extreme weather events and sea-level rise. Not only does climate change affect humans, it affects plants and animals too – the UN reported that 1 million species of animals and plants face extinction due to climate change and human activity!
At the 2015 Paris Agreement 192 countries agreed to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees and aim for at least 1.5 degrees. Progress was made at COP26 but momentum needs to continue apace. The aim is to reach net zero (no more GHG emissions emitted than is taken out) by 2050 (and reduce by 45% by 2030) to help limit warming to 1.5C and prevent catastrophic impacts from the effects of further climate change and save the homes of our plants, animals, and humans too!
Next week we will be considering the concept of ‘net Zero’. I hope you are finding these blogs useful – I would love to hear your feedback!
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