Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP peopleandplanet.net
people and climate change
Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP
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climate change > factfile

Climate change - the big picture
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that global temperatures will rise by somewhere between 1.4 to 5.8�C during this 21st century. Obviously, the impacts - on weather patterns, sea levels, food production and the distribution of wildlife - will be very different if the upper forecast becomes a reality than if the lower one does. ... more

The Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement setting targets for industrialised countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. These gases are considered at least partly responsible for global warming - the rise in global temperature which may have catastrophic consequences for life on Earth. This assessment was prepared by BBC News Online. ... more

Who/what is to blame?
Historically the climate has heated up and cooled down in cycles. Natural factors affecting the climate include volcanic eruptions and changes in the earth's orbit around the sun. However, since the industrial revolution the quantities of greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere have increased dramatically. While carbon dioxide, methane, CFCs, and nitrous oxide tend to warm the atmosphere, sulphur dioxide pollution and volcanic eruptions tend to cool it. ... more

Population and climate change
A global effort to make energy use as efficient as possible and to effect a transition from carbon-based to carbon-free fuels is essential to slowing global climate change. But such an effort, the objective of current negotiations on climate change, is much more likely to have enduring success if world population grows more slowly and eventually stops growing. ... more

Ice melt and sea level
The Intergovernental Panel on Climate Change believe that if current trends continue sea levels will rise by 9 and 88 centimetres within 80 years. This broad range is indicative of the uncertainties involved in climate science and all predictions about future sea level rises, and their consequences, are necessarily tentative. A sea level rise of 50 cm would represent an increase of 1.5 to 3.5 times on the historic rate of sea level rise occurring without man's interference. ... more

Climate change and disease
Climate change - whether natural or man-induced - will inevitably have an impact on the distribution patterns of diseases, especially those which are transmitted by insects and other fauna whose range is determined by climatic factors such as temperature. ... more

Poor nations feel the heat
The year 2005 was the hottest on record. The average global surface temperature of 14.77� Celsius (58.6� F) was the highest since recordkeeping began in 1880. The number of weather-related natural disasters has risen dramatically over the last 50 years. ... more

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