Climate and ecological change: What's the issue?

Climate change refers to a large-scale, long-term shift in the planet's weather patterns and average temperatures. Ecology is the connected ecosystem that supports life.

Climate change

Since the mid-1800s, humans have contributed to the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air. This causes global temperatures to rise, resulting in long-term changes to the climate.

Since the Industrial Revolution, the average temperature of the planet has risen by around 1°C.

The Paris Agreement in 2015 secured a global commitment to cap temperature rise to 1.5%. Without achieving carbon reduction, the earth will get warmer and warmer.

Impacts of climate change

The rise in global temperature is causing our climate and our planet to change.

The impacts of climate change are:

  • Hotter drier summers
  • Warmer wetter winters
  • More extreme weather events
  • Sea level rise

The impacts of climate change cause:

  • More drought and wildfire
  • Stronger storms
  • More heat waves
  • Flooding
  • Damaged corals
  • Less snow and ice and the thawing of the permafrost
  • Changes in plant life cycles
  • Changes to animal migration and life cycles

Ecological change

The rise in global temperatures is impacting on the world's ecology.

This is made worse by the loss of habitat quality and quantity through the use of unsustainable land management activities such as deforestation and the use of pesticides.

There has been a reported 52% decline in global wildlife populations between 1970 and 2010. UK species at risk include the dormouse, red squirrel, water vole, as well as many birds and butterflies.

More information

You can get more information about climate and ecological change from the following websites:

Carbon Literate Organisation (Bronze) logo