Burning fossil fuel, such as coal, oil, petrol, diesel, gas or natural gas, creates greenhouse gases (GHGs), mainly carbon dioxide but also methane and nitrous oxide. When these greenhouse gases gather in the atmosphere, they block solar energy – heat – from escaping back into space. So the atmosphere gets hotter, more energetic, carries more water, becomes more capable of intense weather events, from Biblical rain to enormous hurricanes. Critically, water vapour itself is a greenhouse gas. The effect of these gases trapping heat in the atmosphere is the greenhouse effect. Just like a greenhouse in a garden.
We must get to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. If not, we risk a negative feedback loop, where the climate itself drives the most lasting damage. The Paris Agreement set out to pull us back from the brink, by limiting the temperature increase to 1.5 – 2 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels. The UN says we’re on track for the global temperature to increase 3 – 5 degrees C by 2100.
Wikipedia on climate change: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change
Wikipedia on Paris Agreement: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Agreement
Reuters: Global temperatures on track for 3-5 degree rise by 2100: U.N.: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-un-idUSKCN1NY186
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