animation: NASA

Anthropogenic climate change is the increase in average global temperatures due to human-caused changes in the earth’s atmosphere. Humans are intensifying the atmosphere’s natural greenhouse effect by releasing gases that trap heat energy, including carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels. These gases are changing in the chemical makeup of the atmosphere, leading to changes in the global climate. Overall, human release of greenhouse gas emissions leads to a rise in average global temperatures. At regional levels, this temperature increase can manifest in different ways depending on local factors.

There is a strong consensus amongst climate scientists, backed by decades of peer-reviewed research, that human greenhouse gas emissions are leading to unprecedented changes in the Earth’s climate.  If emissions exceed a critical ‘tipping point’, the planet is likely to be on course for abrupt or accelerated climate change, with grave risks to humans and ecosystems.

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