What is Climate change?
Climate change is already affecting every region on Earth. Changes in rainfall patterns, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, a warming ocean, and more frequent and intense extreme weather events are just some of the changes already impacting millions of people. (IPCC)
Climate change can affect our health, ability to grow food, housing, safety and work. Some of us are more vulnerable to climate impacts, such as people living in small island developing countries. Threats like sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion have advanced to the point where whole communities have had to relocate. In the future, the number people displaced by climate change is expected to rise.
The changes in the climate are widespread, rapid and intensifying, and some of the changes, such as sea level rise or melting ice sheets, are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years.(Source UNDRR)
- Cyclones: Under 2.5°C of global warming, the most devastating storms are projected to occur up to twice as often as today. (Bacmeister et al., 2018)
- Drought: The number of people suffering extreme droughts across the world could double in less than 80 years (Pokhrel, 2021).
- Floods: For each 1°C of global warming, extreme daily precipitation events may intensify by about 7% (IPCC, 2021).
- Heatwave : Heat stress from extreme heat and humidity could annually affect 1.2 billion people by 2100 (Li, Yuan & Kopp, 2020).
- Infectious diseases: By 2050, mosquitoes that carry vector-borne diseases like Malaria could reach an estimated 500 million more people (Ryan et al., 2019).
- Sea level rise: Coastal flooding events could threaten assets worth up to 20% of the global GDP by 2100 (Kirezci et al., 2020).
- Wildfire: By 2030, fire season could be three months longer in areas already exposed to wildfires (Ross, Gannon & Steinberg, 2020).
Climate change is caused by human activity
Natural changes in the sun’s activity or large volcanic eruptions have caused ancient shifts in the Earth’s temperatures and weather patterns, but over the last 200 years, these natural causes have not significantly affected global temperatures. Today, it’s human activities that are causing climate change, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. (IPCC)
Burning fossil fuels creates a blanket of pollution trapping the sun’s heat on Earth and raising global temperatures. (Global warming then leads to other changes like droughts, water scarcity, severe fires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting polar ice, intense storms and declining biodiversity.)
The more of this pollution, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), accumulates in the atmosphere, the more of the sun’s heat gets trapped, the warmer it gets on Earth. There is a strong relationship between cumulative CO2 emissions and the increase in global surface temperature. (IPCC)
The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has been increasing at an unprecedented rate since the Industrial Revolution, when manual labor began to be replaced by machinery fueled by coal, oil and gas. Today, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 50% higher than in 1750, far exceeding the natural changes over at least the past 800,000 years. (IPCC)
We can still limit climate change if we act now
The choices we make today will determine the changes in the climate we will experience in the future. (IPCC)
Large and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and of other greenhouse gas emissions would limit climate change. (IPCC)
If we act now, we can limit climate change and preserve a livable planet.
We have the knowledge, tools and resources to secure a livable, sustainable future for all.
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The role of Safe Communities Portugal
As a Civil Protection Volunteer Organisation, Safe Communities Portugal has a role to play, in assisting the authorities in Portugal.