Portal:Climate change

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The Climate Change Portal

Average global temperatures from 2010 to 2019 compared to a baseline average from 1951 to 1978. Source: NASA.

Climate change includes both global warming driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

The largest driver of warming is the emission of greenhouse gases, of which more than 90% are carbon dioxide (CO
) and methane. Fossil fuel burning (coal, oil, and natural gas) for energy consumption is the main source of these emissions, with additional contributions from agriculture, deforestation, and manufacturing. The human cause of climate change is not disputed by any scientific body of national or international standing. Temperature rise is accelerated or tempered by climate feedbacks, such as loss of sunlight-reflecting snow and ice cover, increased water vapour (a greenhouse gas itself), and changes to land and ocean carbon sinks.

Temperature rise on land is about twice the global average increase, leading to desert expansion and more common heat waves and wildfires. Temperature rise is also amplified in the Arctic, where it has contributed to melting permafrost, glacial retreat and sea ice loss. Warmer temperatures are increasing rates of evaporation, causing more intense storms and weather extremes. Impacts on ecosystems include the relocation or extinction of many species as their environment changes, most immediately in coral reefs, mountains, and the Arctic. Climate change threatens people with food insecurity, water scarcity, flooding, infectious diseases, extreme heat, economic losses, and displacement. These impacts have led the World Health Organization to call climate change the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. Even if efforts to minimize future warming are successful, some effects will continue for centuries, including rising sea levels, rising ocean temperatures, and ocean acidification.

Many of these impacts are already felt at the current level of warming, which is about 1.2 °C (2.2 °F). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a series of reports that project significant increases in these impacts as warming continues to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) and beyond. Additional warming also increases the risk of triggering critical thresholds called tipping points. Responding to climate change involves mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation – limiting climate change – consists of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and removing them from the atmosphere; methods include the development and deployment of low-carbon energy sources such as wind and solar, a phase-out of coal, enhanced energy efficiency, reforestation, and forest preservation. Adaptation consists of adjusting to actual or expected climate, such as through improved coastline protection, better disaster management, assisted colonization, and the development of more resistant crops. Adaptation alone cannot avert the risk of "severe, widespread and irreversible" impacts. (Full article...)

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Heads of delegations at the 2015 United Nations Paris conference.

The politics of climate change results from different perspectives on how to respond to the threat of global warming. Global warming is driven largely by the emissions of greenhouse gases due to human economic activity, especially the burning of fossil fuels. Ever since the industrial revolution, energy from fossil fuels has underpinned a large proportion of economic activity. So there has been much resistance to efforts to curtail their use. Nevertheless, efforts to mitigate climate change have been prominent on the international political agenda since the 1990s, and are also increasingly addressed at national and local level. In the 21st century, climate change adaptation is also receiving political attention.

Climate change is a complex global problem. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contribute to global warming across the world, regardless of where the emissions occur. Yet the impact of global warming varies widely depending on how vulnerable a location or economy is to its effects. While global warming is on the whole having negative impact, with some areas already having suffered severe consequences, some only predicted to suffer more severe impacts in the future, other locations have benefited from the effects. Ability to benefit from both fossil fuels and renewable energy sources vary substantially from nation to nation. These and other differences resulted in early international conferences on climate change producing little beyond general statements of intent to address the problem, and non-binding commitments from the developed countries to reduce emissions. In some nations and local jurisdictions, climate friendly policies have been adopted that go well beyond what was committed to at international level. Yet local reductions in GHG emission that such policies achieve will not slow global warming unless the overall volume of GHG emission declines across the planet.

By the 2020s, the feasibility of replacing energy from fossil fuel with nuclear and especially renewable energy has much increased, with some countries now generating most of their electrical energy from renewables. Awareness of the climate change threat has risen, with many surveys showing a growing proportion of voters support tackling climate change as a high priority. Outright climate change denial had by 2019 became a much less influential force than in previous years. So, in several respects the prospects for reducing emissions have improved. Nevertheless, objectors to climate friendly policies remain, and the need to rapidly reduce emissions has became more urgent than ever. (Full article...)
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Lacanja burn.JPG
Credit: Jami Dwyer
Jungle burned for agriculture in southern Mexico


In the news

From the Wikinews Climate change category
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Cynthia E. Rosenzweig (née Ropes) (born c. 1958) is an American agronomist and climatologist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, located at Columbia University, "who helped pioneer the study of climate change and agriculture." She has over 300 publications, over 80 peer-reviewed articles, has authored or edited eight books. She has also served in many different organizations working to develop plans to manage climate change, at the global level with the IPCC as well as in New York City after Hurricane Sandy. (Full article...)

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... that global warming has had a positive effect on the Tasmanian wine industry allowing it to grow grapes more successfully then what would otherwise be possible?
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This time series, based on satellite data, shows the annual Arctic sea ice minimum since 1979. The September 2010 extent was the third lowest in the satellite record.



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  1. ^ McCurry, Justin (2020-10-26). "Japan will become carbon neutral by 2050, PM pledges". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
  2. ^ Carrington, Damian (2020-03-05). "This winter in Europe was hottest on record by far, say scientists". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-03-08.


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