Climate Change – How does It Affect Me?:
Climate change is not a new phenomenon, there have been periods of extremes in the past. What is unusual now is the rate and scale of change and the underlying cause of these changes – the growing emissions of greenhouse gases associated with human activity.
- The polar caps are melting causing sea levels to rise - but climate change is affecting all regions around the world. Climate change is leading to an increase in extreme weather events globally – with some regions experiencing more rainfall and flooding, while others are experiencing more extreme heatwaves and droughts and these impacts are expected to intensify in the coming decades.
- It is globally agreed that climate change is being brought about by human activity – mainly the deforestation of the planet including rain forests, burning of fossil fuels and industrial activity. Global warming and the climate changes seen today are being caused by the increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions by humans. These gases trap heat within the Earth’s atmosphere and result in global warming.
- Temperatures in the UK have risen by around 1 degree since the 1970s – an additional degree rise is globally agreed as the threshold beyond which climate change risks become unacceptably high. Although in Scotland we normally complain about our weather not being warm enough climate change will mean summer droughts may become more frequent and is actually making extreme wet winters in the UK about 25% more likely
Security of our food supply.
- Although warmer temperatures may mean that Scotland could grow more food, the threat of pests, disease and invasive non-native species could result in damage to food production. The effects of extreme climatic events around the globe would also have major impacts on supply and cost of food.
Availability and quality of water.
- As our climate warms and rain patterns change, there may be increased competition over water for domestic, agricultural, industrial and nature’s needs. Summer droughts may become more frequent causing problems for water quality and supply. Changes in wet land habitats may reduce their natural capacity to filter pollutants.
Increased risk of flooding.
- With climate change likely to alter rain patterns and bring more heavy downpours, flooding is expected to increase in the future. This could have serious consequences for people, wildlife, businesses and communities.
Health and wellbeing.
- A warming climate could affect patterns of disease and distribution of disease carriers, i.e. may bring diseases and disease-carrying insects (like mosquitoes) to areas where previously they were not found. There has already been increases in heat-related deaths in many countries, including European countries.
Society and economy.
- Sectors that rely heavily on certain temperatures and precipitation levels such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry and tourism are particularly affected by climate change. These industries provide major incomes and are major employers in Stirling and in Scotland as a whole.
Calculate your carbon footprint.
- Do you know the impact you have on the environment? There’s a quick, easy-to-use fun tool on the WWF website that can calculate your footprint and lets you know how many planets we would need to support your lifestyle.