Scorching temperatures. Freak snowstorms. Dangerous wildfires. Powerful earthquakes. Rising seas. For years, scientists have been warning about the potentially devastating effects of climate change. Now many are warning that those effects are no longer theoretical. They are already here.
Climate change is caused by gases like methane and carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. These work like a greenhouse, trapping the Earth’s heat and raising its average temperatures. This, in turn, plays havoc with Earth’s weather systems.
According to NASA, the average global temperature has risen by around 1C since the industrial revolution. This may sound small — but Earth was only four degrees cooler during the last ice age.
Scientists think the Earth is likely to warm by 2C by 2100. That means month-and-a-half long heatwaves; sea levels rising by 50cm; and 98% of coral reefs at risk of bleaching.
In 2015, world leaders pledged to limit global warming to 1.5C with the Paris Agreement. Schoolchildren around the world, led by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, are striking to demand action.
Are you worried about climate change? What can ordinary people do to help reduce its impacts?
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- Draw a diagram which explains how human activity contributes to climate change.
- Make a poster which gives advice to Primary School children on how they can help reduce climate change.
- Write a short story based in 2100, when the world has warmed by 2C. How has this affected society? How have people’s daily lives changed?