Climate Change is Here
The Earth is experiencing human-induced climate change. The average global surface temperature has risen by 0.6 degrees Celsius since 1900. This is enough to raise sea levels and change rainfall patterns. The ten hottest years ever recorded have all occurred since 1991.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world's most authoritative voice on the science of climate change, has stated unequivocally that global warming is happening and that human activity is the main driver.
Climate change is happening now. We must act to curb it.
Causes and Effects of Climate Change
The main human activity that contributes to global warming is burning fossil fuels to generate energy for industry, households and transportation.
Burning fossil fuels creates greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (Co2), which are necessary for life on this planet. But in the last 200 years, human activity has released more Co2 than our planet can handle – too many gases are remaining trapped inside our atmosphere, more than at any time in the last 800,000 years. These gases, which also include methane and nitrous oxide, are causing our planet to warm up – and the results of this global warming of our planet are becoming more dramatic every day.
The changes underway are particularly dramatic in Canada’s Far North. Find out what’s happening to the world’s polar bears.
Temperatures in the Arctic are rising at almost twice the rate of that of the rest of the world. According to the multinational Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, at least half of the Arctic's summer sea ice will melt by century's end, and that the Arctic region is likely to warm 4 to 7 degrees Celsius (7 to 13 degrees Fahrenheit) during the same time.
Climate change is expected to change the distribution of wildlife species. In fact, this already happening. One study found 7 North American warbler species, including the Prothonotary Warbler, Hooded Warbler and Blue-winged Warbler, has shifted their range significantly farther north in the past 24 years, by an average of more than 65 miles.
When a species shifts its range to stay within their preferred habitat, it faces dangers to its survival. Trusted food sources such as insects, flowers, and berries at their traditional destination habitats may no longer be available, causing adults to abandon young for lack of food.
We can all do things to help reduce our impact on the planet. Some are easier than others, but if we all do something, we can make a big difference. Fight global warming at home, on the road and in your office.