Yes, climate change is real and unfair! But now there's some good news at last...
Climate change… seriously threatens polar bear survival in the future
The world is getting hotter. And I'm sorry to say it's all people's fault.
not everyone that's doing it. Mostly it's people in rich countries — North
America, Europe and Australia. They are the ones with energy-hungry
lifestyles which guzzle fossil fuels.
Life is not fair!
Poor people like those in most African countries, Asia and Latin America can't afford to travel all over the place in cars and planes, they don't have heating or air conditioning in their homes or eat fancy food. Many don't even have anything more to live in than a one-room shack with no toilet, no kitchen, no running water. These people are not the ones causing global warming. Yet they are the ones who suffer most from climate change caused by the rich. It's not fair, is it?
As for us other animals, we are innocent too because the only fuel we use is that which we get from our food ... so what are you folks going to do about it?
Good news!But — at last — people are starting to take serious action on climate change...
IPCC scientists have studied the climate all around the world. They've known for many years that climate change really is happening. They knew that it would be bad for people and much other life. And as more evidence piled in, it became obvious that it is mostly due to humans and their pollution of the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. So way back in 1992, most of the world's countries got together at a United Nations (UN) conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This was called the Earth Summit. Here everyone agreed to start a series of conferences to try and get a worldwide agreement to slow climate change. Most countries soon joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Back in 1997, 192 countries in the world came together in a big conference at Kyoto in Japan. Here they began to try and agree what to do about climate change. Lots of promises were made but countries haven't been very good at carrying them out. Many people consider Kyoto was a failure. Pollution by greenhouse gases continued to climb.
Since then, the evidence for change has become stronger and stronger. The special computer 'climate models' which IPCC scientists had used to predict what would happen are better than ever. The ice sheets in both the Arctic and the Antarctic are melting, in some cases very fast. Sea levels are rising. Temperatures are rising, especially in the Arctic and Antarctic. Glaciers on other mountains of the world are melting very fast — especially in the tropics. Animals and plants which like cooler conditions are moving away from the overheated tropics towards the poles. Storms are getting stronger, with damaging winds and heavy rain causing serious flooding. All these things are predicted by climate models. Yes, it's happening all right.
Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.
Since Kyoto, there have been more climate conferences. The latest and greatest of these conferences took place in Paris, France, at the end of 2015 (COP 21). At last, everyone from all the 195 countries attending the conference agreed that NOW is the time to take climate change seriously, so they set up a system to do it. The aim is to keep the global temperature rise to below 2°C.
This is the first time there has been general agreement about what to do and how to do it. Well done humans, I say! It's called the Paris Agreement. But it won't be easy because the entire global economy is hooked on fossil fuels. So the road ahead may be rocky but it is passable. It has to be!
So now it's up to you humans to undo the damage that has been done to the Earth's climate system by burning fossil fuels. Obviously this hasn't been done by you kids but unfortunately, it is you – your generation – which will have to slam on the fossil fuel brakes hard or live with a wild climate which will be very unpleasant indeed for much of life on Earth, especially human life… not to mention penguins and polar bears! But I think you humans are incredibly clever and resourceful, and I think you will solve the problems ahead.