There is now overwhelming scientific evidence that the Earth’s climate is changing as a result of emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Emissions due to human activities have been rising rapidly during recent decades – in particular, the proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been rising as a result of the increased use of oil, coal and gas for industry, transport and homes.
On current trends, climate change is forecast to lead to rising temperatures, drought, higher sea levels, and more extreme weather. In different parts of the world there will be increased risk of flooding, reduced crop yields, and threats to habitats. What’s more, the impact of climate change is expected to hit hardest the poorest regions and individuals.
Although there is still room for debate about the extent of climate change and its possible effects, the need for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is undisputable. More and more governments and businesses now recognise the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It is open to question whether their targets for reductions are adequate or whether the mechanisms they propose will work. But everyday life will be increasingly influenced by legal and political changes in response to climate change.
For Transition, the challenge is to help people to achieve the rapid cuts that must be made in greenhouse gas emissions.