What is the climate emergency?
The climate is the long term pattern of day to day weather. Our food and water supplies depend on stable seasonal patterns of temperature, rain, and wind in the UK and elsewhere. In the last 100 years the earth’s average temperature has increased faster than previously seen – this is known as global warming or global heating.
Evidence shows that human activity and our use of fuels like petrol, diesel, gas, and coal is highly likely to be the main cause of global warming. When these fuels are burned they release greenhouse gases which trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere, causing the air and seas to heat up which changes the climate. The greenhouse gases produced when we burn these fuels contain a lot of carbon and so the term ‘carbon emissions’ is often used.
The problem is that current levels of greenhouse gases are higher than they have been over the last 800,000 years and they are rising rapidly.
The United Nations (UN) released a report in October 2018 on the impacts of global warming and warned that we may have just twelve years left from 2018 (the date of publication) to limit a climate crisis. An increase of global warming at current rates will significantly increase the risk of drought, floods, extreme heat, and climate-related poverty for millions of people across the world.