Causes and Effects
As we industrialized, the world built energy systems that relied on dirty, pollution sources of power like coal, oil and natural gas – fuel s that needed to be burned to produce energy. One of the by-products of burning these fossil fuels is carbon dioxide, which traps heat in the atmosphere and has become one of the main reasons why climate change has been happening so quickly.
The planet has a natural system to keep itself in balance and we have been rapidly destroying another part of that system – trees – which trap and store carbon dioxide. Deforestation has led to more release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and lowered the planets ability to handle the carbon dioxide from fossil fuels.
All of these extra gasses are heating up the planet and leading to changes around the globe. As a result of these changes some places may receive better weather, but for most of the planet climate change is having devastating effects. It is leading to all sorts of other changes around the world—on land, in the oceans, and in the atmosphere.
And these changes affect people, plants, and animals in many ways. We are experiencing more intense hurricanes and cyclones, more droughts, more floods, melting glaciers and rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, shifting periods of rainfall and loss of habitats that is threatening plant and animal species that cannot adjust fast enough.
Inceasingly, climate change is contributing to conflicts and political instabilities as droughts and floods exacerbate pressures, suffering and disputes over scarce resources.