Climate change is recognised as one of the biggest threats to our natural world and its biodiversity, as well as to global security, human health and well-being.
The evidence clearly shows that the cause of this change is the emission of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) into the Earth’s atmosphere as a direct result of human activities, which include burning fossil fuels for energy, transport and a host of other purposes, and clearing forests and other ecosystems that absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
We are already witnessing the early effects of climate change, with more frequent extreme weather events (such as droughts, flooding and storms) and changing seasonal patterns being seen around the world. Climate models also predict that sea levels will rise as a result of melting ice caps, with devastating consequences for low-lying areas.
increase in ocean acidity since the Industrial Revolution. This has been caused by our oceans absorbing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
of the warmest years ever recorded have occurred since 2001. Overall, the planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1oC since the late 19th century.
Besides the obvious and often tragic humanitarian consequences of these extreme weather events, climate change is also affecting our planet’s ecosystems and biodiversity in many ways:
In addition, biodiversity is also exposed to the secondary, human-driven impacts of a changing climate., in the shape of displaced communities and changing behaviour in response to lower crop yields (such as agricultural expansion and increased reliance on wild resources).
That’s equivalent to the carbon content of eight billion barrels of crude oil – or 23 years’ worth of UK crude oil production.
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Recognising that climate change is one of the most serious threats to our planet and human welfare, many countries have now signed up to international climate change agreements that commit them to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The challenge now is for the international community to create the systems, policies and culture needed to meet these targets – and quickly.
Fauna & Flora International (FFI), meanwhile, is playing its part in tackling this challenge in three key ways:
Despite some progress on the international front, there is no doubt that our changing climate is already affecting species, ecosystems and people. We therefore need to take urgent action to deal with the changes we are seeing (such as unreliable weather patterns and extreme events) and to increase human and ecosystem resilience in order to prepare for the changes yet to come.
FFI is tackling this in two ways:
Combating climate change requires action from all sectors of society. The Green Guide offers a comprehensive guide on what we as individuals can do to minimise its effects, but here are a few ideas recommended by our science team:
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Addressing climate change
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