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What is climate change? 

Climate is the average weather in a place over many years. Climate change is a long term shift in those average patterns.  

The rapid changes in climate seen over the past 100 years are mainly due to using fossil fuels (like coal, oil and gas) for energy in homes, factories and transport.  

Burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases that trap the sun's heat and cause the planet's temperature to rise.  

The rise of industry and modern living have increased C02 (carbon dioxide gas) by about 50% since pre-industrial times, with billions of tonnes more being released each year. Scientists agree that global warming needs to be kept to 1.5 degrees. Currently estimates put us at 2-3 degrees rise. This could have irreversible effects on the planet and impact us.  

How is it affecting us already? 

We are already experiencing the effects of climate change, such as: 

  • Rising temperatures (the last decade has been the hottest on record),
  • More frequent and more powerful weather events like storms and cyclones
  • Erosion in coastal areas
  • Flooding
  • Increased droughts
  • Warming ocean temperatures 

People all over the world are experiencing these events, from heatwaves in Europe, forest fires in the USA and Canada, and storms causing flooding and slips in New Zealand. 

These events affect people’s health and welfare, connection and resilience, our homes and other buildings, and crucial infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Climate change also impacts us economically, such as the cost of living, income, insurance, consumption, and most critical the environment, which everything relies on.  

Source: BBC News website

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