Fact: Earths average temperature has risen by over 1/2% in the last 100 years – the years since 1980 have been the hottest on record.
Global warming is caused by increased fossil fuel use:
Since the industrial revolution, people have needed more energy for work and in the home – this has come from burning more fossil fuels, particularly coal and oil.
This burning releases more carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere – these cause what’s known as the “Greenhouse Effect”.
Earth is like a giant greenhouse:
Energy from the sun passes through the atmosphere as light and warms it up. When it reflects off the Earths surface as heat, it is trapped by the atmosphere and cant get back into space – this is how a greenhouse keeps the heat inside, and it means that the Earth gets hotter.
Greenhouse gases need to be reduced:
Britain and Europe want to reduce gas emissions – they are big users of fossil fuels.
India and other LEDCs don’t want to, because their rate of development will slow down.
Oil states in the Gulf don’t want to because their revenues from oil sales will go down.
The USA doesn’t want to because it doesn’t want a fall in living standards.
Global warming causes sea levels to rise:
Ice sheets and glaciers are beginning to melt.
Sea levels have risen by 0.25m in the last 100 years.
In 100 years, the seas levels will probably rise another 0.5m.
Low-lying areas of the world are under threat of flooding – e.g. parts of Southeast England, the Nile and Ganges deltas and most major world cities.
The world’s climates are also changing:
Droughts, floods and storms could become more severe, widespread and more common.
The Northern Hemisphere wheat belt could become more arid and less productive.
The Tundra could become warmer and support crop growth.
The Sahara could spread north into Southern Europe.
The North Atlantic Drift could be altered, and Britain could become much colder.