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What is climate change?

Climate is defined as the average statistics of weather, which includes temperature, precipitation, and seasonal patterns, in a particular region. Climate change refers to the long term and irrevocable shift in these weather related patterns, either regionally or more globally. The Earth and its natural ecosystem are very closely tied to the climate and any permanent climate change will lead to an imbalance in the existing ecosystem, impacting the way people live, the food they grow, their health, the wildlife, the availability of water and many more.

Research indicates that much of this warming is due to human activities, primarily burning fossil fuels and clearing forests, that release carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases into the atmosphere, trapping in heat that would otherwise escape into space. Once in the atmosphere, these heat-trapping emissions remain there for many years—CO2, for example, lasts about 100 years. As a result, atmospheric concentration of CO2 has increased more than 30 percent above pre-industrial levels. If left unchecked, by the end of the century CO2 concentrations could reach levels three times higher than pre-industrial times, leading to dangerous global warming that threatens our public health, economy, and environment.

Post last edited on: 2011 April 13

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