Climate Change Basics

 

The scientific community agrees – climate change is happening, and we are the dominant cause. As a result of human activity, the earth is approximately 1°C hotter than pre-industrial times. This has already caused profound alterations to our climate including rising global sea levels, melting of sea ice and more frequent extreme weather events. In fact, the 20 warmest years on record have occurred in the past 22 years.

Moreover, we are committed to further unavoidable climate change from this past rise in temperature, including further sea level rises for centuries to come. Millions of people will likely be displaced as sea levels continue to rise.

 

It’s not all bad news though; scientists believe that if we can limit the rise in average global temperatures to less than 1.5°C we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change. This could prevent the extinction of corals, limit the percentage of the population that is displaced, and reduce the number of people that will experience water scarcity. If the current warming trends continue, we are on course to reach warming of 1.5°C around 2040.  

Recently, there has been an increased sense of urgency in talks surrounding climate change as more people and government officials begin to recognise the gravity of the crisis. It represents the biggest threat to human society we have seen in recent times. In recognition, on December 2015, 195 governments agreed to a new climate deal (The Paris Agreement) declaring their commitment to limit the rise to 1.5°C.  It is number 13 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  A national climate emergency has been declared by the UK Parliament, committing to a 100% reduction of its carbon emissions by 2050. The UK is the first national government to declare this.

On a local level, hundreds of local authorities across the UK have followed suit and declared climate emergencies – some with more ambitions targets of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. In Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, most local councils have declared a climate emergency. Nottingham City Council has the most ambitious target – to acheive net carbon zero across the city by 2028

This section of the website includes information on what climate change is; its impacts locally, nationally and globally; and what we can do about it.