What causes it?
It’s now generally accepted that emitting carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere is the main cause of climate change. CO2 absorbs the sun rays and the energy it radiates heats up the Earth. This is commonly known as the “Greenhouse Effect” – although it’s actually got nothing to do with the way a greenhouse heats up. CO2 is referred to as a greenhouse gas. There are others like methane, but CO2 his regarded as the most important and one which we can do something about reducing.
Greenhouse gases are a natural part of our atmosphere (they keep the Earth from freezing). Water is actually a greenhouse gas, but it’s not one which is particularly influenced by man’s behaviour and so it doesn’t contribute to global warming. The real danger comes from the use of fossil fuels which is upsetting the natural balance of these gases.
Burning fossil fuels to provide energy for our homes, transport and manufacturing increases the amount of CO2 – and all this extra CO2 absorbs the sun rays and contributes towards global warming which leads to climate change.
Power stations and domestic appliances that burn fossil fuels create the largest amount of CO2. Although there is a lot of publicity around greenhouse gases produced by aeroplanes, 40% of all CO2 produced by man is from heating and lighting buildings.