What you should know about climate change

What causes it, how it affects us, and what we can do to stop it

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face: global warming affects the entire planet and will be increasingly difficult to combat. We must act soon, before the situation is irreversible.

What is climate change? 

In the earth’s atmosphere, there are gases that retain the heat from the sun, which lets the Earth be warm enough for life to grow: this is known as the greenhouse effect.

However, some activities emit even more of these gases, which accumulate and increase the temperature of the planet: this is what we call global warming. The excessive warming of the planet is causing climate change.

What are the causes? 

The burning of fuels, deforestation, the livestock industry and other human activities increase the levels of greenhouse gases (GHG). The more gases there are, the more heat the atmosphere retains, disrupting the natural balance and increasing the temperature of the Earth.Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main cause of global warming: it represents 80% of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Substitution of fossil fuels with renewable energies is essential in the fight against climate change (Tomas Sereda / Getty).

How does it affect us?

The increase in temperatures has consequences: the polar ice caps melt, sea levels rise, rainfall decreases and this affects the plant and animal species that live in natural spaces. Increasingly, in many cities around the world, pollution levels exceed the safety limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Arctic is one of the regions of the planet most affected by climate change (Getty).

What are politicians doing?

Governments around the world know that climate change is a real threat, so they meet every year at the Conference of the Parties (COP) to discuss which strategies to follow. The next COP23 will be held in the German city of Bonn in November.

If it’s really so urgent to take action against climate change… Why wasn’t action taken sooner?

Because decisions must be made by consensus: that means that nothing is agreed until all countries agree. Furthermore, it’s not enough for just some countries to fulfill the commitment to reduce emissions: the important thing is that all countries do. Keep informed with Junior Report.

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