What causes climate change?
Both people and natural factors contribute to climate change.
People cause climate change through burning fossil fuels to heat our buildings and transport people and goods. Greenhouse gasses (GHGs) are also released through garbage decomposing in landfills, refrigerant gasses leaking from old appliances, large-scale agricultural systems and chemical processes.
People also contribute to climate change by clearing forests and other areas that absorb carbon dioxide.
All these greenhouse gasses form a heat-trapping blanket around the earth. While this produces warming on a global scale, we mostly experience it as an increase in extreme weather. With climate change comes bigger storms, longer droughts, more forest fires ... the list goes on.
Natural factors — such as the sun, the earth's orbit, and volcanic activity — also impact the climate. However, scientists have concluded that the degree and rate of warming we are experiencing today is primarily the result of human activity.
Reversing climate change means keeping GHGs from going up into the atmosphere or drawing them down into "carbon sinks" like forests.
There is no shortage of solutions to climate change, from electric vehicles to renewable energy to composting food scraps. The good news is, most climate-friendly solutions are also good for our health and for our communities! For example, people who bike tend to enjoy their commute, feel stronger and save money. They also help keep their city's air cleaner, so it's a win-win situation! In fact, you probably already do a lot of good things for the environment. Why not take five minutes to measure your climate impact?