There is a lot of misinformation out there about climate change. We've gathered facts from reputable sources so you can have a better idea of what it is, and why you should care.
What is climate change?
Climate change is a long-term change in the average weather patterns that have come to define Earth’s local, regional and global climates. These changes have a broad range of observed effects that are synonymous with the term.
Changes observed in Earth’s climate since the early 20th century are primarily driven by human activities, particularly fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere, raising Earth’s average surface temperature.
What is global warming?
Global warming is the long-term heating of Earth’s climate system observed since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900) due to human activities, primarily fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere.
Why is it a hot topic(pun intended)?
There are natural fluctuations in the climate but scientists say temperatures are now rising faster than at many other times. The world is about one degree Celsius warmer than before widespread industrialisation, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says.The 20 warmest years on record all occurred in the past 22 years, with 2015-18 making up the top four. Across the globe, the average sea level increased by 3.6mm per year between 2005 and 2015.Most of this change was because water increases in volume as it heats up.
These changes lead to environmental issues which the world is currently experiencing such as stronger hurricanes and cyclones, increased melting of snow and ice, rising sea levels, and recently, one of the worst Australian bushfire seasons since records began. Melting ice caps have resulted in a loss of seals habitating sea ice areas. This depletes food sources for polar bears and results in their starvation, as well as rising sea levels and flooding of coastal areas and islands. Flooding has forced people out of their homes, the bushfires have caused the deaths of over one billion australian wildlife animals, and drought results in loss of agricultural crop and sometimes starvation of human communities.
sources: BBC News, BBC News Science and Environment, National Geographic, Environment.
What can I do to help?
As a TU Dublin student, you are part of an institution with 28,500 students, and hundreds of staff. You are also part of the largest students union in Ireland. The size of the institution means that it can not only have a greater negative impact on the environment, but also that it has more power and greater opportunities to implement change, thus having a positive impact on the environment.
You can use your voice to affect change by joining the TU Dublin Students Union Activist Academy, the Climate Action Working Group, or submit agenda items to the TU Dublin Green Campus Committee, details here.