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The scientific evidence is conclusive EUROPEAN COMMISSION FEBRUARY 2009 Climate change.

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Presentation on theme: "The scientific evidence is conclusive EUROPEAN COMMISSION FEBRUARY 2009 Climate change."— Presentation transcript:

1 The scientific evidence is conclusive EUROPEAN COMMISSION FEBRUARY 2009 Climate change

2 Climate is the long-term atmospheric conditions, weather varies constantly Changes in climate are natural: e.g. after the last ice age (11,500 years ago) global temperatures were 5°C lower than now BUT we are now experiencing temperature rises at unprecedented speed Scientists believe that human activities are responsible

3 Climate change facts Europes temperatures have risen by 1°C since 1850 Another 1.2°C could mean irreversible, large- scale and potentially catastrophic environmental change

4 Climate change facts Extreme weather events – storms, floods, droughts and heat waves – becoming more frequent and more severe 90% of natural disasters in Europe since 1980 caused by weather and climate

5 Climate change facts Europes glaciers have lost two-thirds of their mass since 1850 – and the trend is accelerating Polar ice is melting and sea levels are rising at double the rate of 50 years ago Millions of people around the globe threatened with water shortages, hunger and poverty


7 Source: Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal

8 Whats the cause? Humans are pumping more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere The atmosphere acts like the glass walls of a greenhouse Natural greenhouse gases help retain heat – without them, temperatures would be 30°C lower But man-made greenhouse gases emissions up 70% since 1970, meaning more heat trapped


10 Greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) – burning coal, oil and gas for energy, transport and heat nitrous oxide (N 2 O) – waste disposal sites, agriculture and cattle methane (CH 4 ) hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) perfluorocarbons (PFCs) sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) – used in fridges, air- conditioning and even shoes

11 Wheres the evidence? The leading scientific authority on climate change is the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Coordinates findings of 2,500 experts all round the globe 4th Assessment Report (AR4) published November 2007 AR4 represents 6 years of research and analysis Cautious and rigorous scientific approach to its conclusions Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2007

12 Findings of 4th Assessment Report Conclusive evidence that global warming is due to human activity If temperatures rise by more than 2°C, the effects could be sudden and irreversible We still have time to slow down or adapt to climate change Many useful technologies already exist, and make good economic sense … but urgent action is needed now!

13 What are governments doing? Governments work together under the UN framework convention on climate change The current agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, sets binding emissions targets for developed countries Negotiations are under way for a follow-up – to be agreed in December 2009 in Copenhagen

14 The European Union is a pioneer in the battle against climate change EU countries have set targets for 2020 to: –Cut emissions by 20% (or 30% if agreed globally) –Increase energy efficiency by 20% –Generate 20% of energy from renewable sources The EU is pushing for an ambitious new global pact to reduce emissions

15 What can you do? Simple everyday actions play a major role in the fight against climate change So… –Recycle –Save hot water by taking a shower instead of a bath (four times less energy) –Plant a tree, at school, in your garden or neighbourhood


17 What can you do? Use public transport, cycle, walk Dont leave appliances on stand-by – use the on/off function of the machine Dont leave you mobile charger plugged in when you are not charging your phone


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