Climate change

Overview

Climate change is caused by an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in our atmosphere that trap heat from the sun. This is causing our planet to warm up and the permanent ice on it to melt.

GHGs are the six gases listed in the Kyoto Protocol:

  • carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • methane (CH4)
  • nitrous oxide (N2O)
  • hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  • perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
  • sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)

The majority of greenhouse gas emissions are produced from the burning of fossil fuels such as gas, petrol or diesel. Transport is a major source of GHG emissions.

Although views and opinions about what causes climate change may be different, what is certain is:

  • the cost of energy is rising
  • energy insecurity is increasing
  • fossil fuel reserves will run out, as well as other resources unless they used responsibly. We need 'natural capital' to continue to supply us with goods and services such as medicines, clothing, housing, warmth, and the continuing development of our economies
  • the growing levels of inequality between populations, and the impact that climate change is having on fuel and poor and vulnerable people

These are some of the reasons to cut energy consumption, to move towards more sustainable sources of energy, and to use resources wisely.

Climate change is a big challenge, and it requires us all to act.

Read more about climate change on GOV.UK