What it could mean to you and your familySource:Natural Resources Defense Council
Climate change is changing our economy, health and communities in diverse ways. Scientists warn that if we do not aggressively curb climate change now, the results will likely be disastrous.
The BasicsCarbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants are collecting in the atmosphere like a thickening blanket, trapping the sun's heat and causing the planet to warm up.
Although local temperatures fluctuate naturally, over the past 50 years the average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history. Scientists say that unless we curb the emissions that cause climate change, average U.S. temperatures could be 3 to 9 degrees higher by the end of the century.
The United States Global Change Research Program (which includes the Department of Defense, NASA, National Science Foundation and other government agencies) has said that "global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced" and that "climate changes are underway in the United States and are projected to grow."
What it means to you
In addition to impacting our water resources, energy supply, transportation, agriculture, and ecosystems, the United States Global Change Research Program concludes that climate change also poses unique challenges to human health, such as:
- Significant increases in the risk of illness and death related to extreme heat and heat waves are very likely.
- Some diseases transmitted by food, water, and insects are likely to increase.
- Certain groups, including children, the elderly, and the poor, are most vulnerable to a range of climate-related health effects.
Read more about the consequences of climate change
SolutionsHere's the good news: technologies exist today to make cars that run cleaner and burn less gas, modernize power plants and generate electricity from nonpolluting sources, and cut our electricity use through energy efficiency. The challenge is to be sure these solutions are put to use.
NRDC is tackling global warming on two main fronts – cutting pollution and expanding clean energy.
Transitioning to a clean energy economy will bring new jobs and reduce air pollution. We can’t afford to wait.
Take ActionWe can each play an important role in stopping climate change. Click here to help make a difference right now, and find some more action ideas here.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion about climate change. You can help by being a voice for reason and common-sense. For detailed, point-by-point rebuttals to global warming naysayers, see Grist's How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic.