There is little doubt that climate change is happening and 97% of climate experts agree humans are causing it. With thanks to Keep Scotland Beautiful, here are some climate change resources.
Climate and Climate Science
The Met Office has good resources explaining what earth’s global climate is, what we mean by climate and what climate science tells us. Climate and weather are not the same thing. Have a look here to find out more www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate-guide/climate There is a comprehensive resource on climate zones and what affects the global climate.
The Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming’
Greenhouse gases do occur naturally in earth’s atmosphere. Without greenhouse gases reflecting back heat, earth’s average temperatures would be about 30 degrees C cooler. However, human activity has increased concentration of these gases. Since start of industrial era levels of main greenhouse gases have increased:
- Carbon dioxide (CO2): 40%
- Methane (CH4): 150%
- Nitrous oxide (N2O): 20%
For an easy to understand summary of the greenhouse effect, how we humans have enhanced this effect, and the resulting effects brought about by this global warming visit http://www.clean-air-kids.org.uk/globalwarming.html
For more detailed information about global warming have a look at http://climate.nasa.gov/causes/
Climate Change Evidence
It’s possible to track a number of changes in the climate since the industrial revolution. These include:
- Rising Sea levels
- Changing Rainfall patterns
- Shrinking polar ice cap
- Shrinking Antarctic and Greenland Ice sheets
- Glacial retreat
Ice cores contain information about temperature and gases from the air bubbles trapped in them. In Antarctica ice cores can be drilled that contain air from 800,000 years ago.
This graph, based on the comparison of atmospheric samples contained in ice cores and more recent direct measurements, provides evidence that atmospheric CO2 has increased since the Industrial Revolution. (Credit: Vostok ice core data/J.R. Petit et al.; NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 record.). Taken from http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
Common myths and answers
There are those who don’t believe climate change is a problem, those who don’t believe it’s man made, and those who believe there’s nothing we can do about it. There’s an excellent graphic on the Bloomberg Website – What’s Warming the World. Visit the site and scroll down to see how it compares all sorts of factors against the rise in temperature. Very elegant and visual.
One of the best strategies in this case is to talk about what has convinced you and actually forget about the science! Taking a respectful approach and making it personal works better than arguing or talking about the facts.
How can I make a difference?
We all need to become more carbon literate. Being carbon literate means having an awareness of climate change and the climate impacts of mankind’s everyday actions. According to the Carbon Literacy Trust in Manchester ‘Carbon literacy is the underpinning knowledge required to create this vital shift in how we live, work and study. … when we are carbon literate will have an instinctive understanding of the carbon impacts of our activities, and be able to make informed choices about the most energy and resource efficient and lowest carbon options available to us. Carbon Literacy is about understanding what I actually need to do, where I can get help to do it, actually doing it and seeing that I’ve done it.”
There are plenty of things each and every one of us can do combat climate change and reduce our carbon footprint and combat climate change. And it’s only through each of us making our own little difference in the world for the better that big scale change will come about.
For the simple and straightforward things like fitting energy efficient lightbulbs, walking, cycling or car-sharing to commute to work, etc have a look at
For a more in depth look at how you can reduce your carbon footprint by at least 10% or more go to
who also have a simple carbon calculator at:
The Carbon literacy project have also put together a great little collection of the five top TED talks on youtube about climate change at
And finally here is a great little animation about what you can do about climate change.