What is climate change?
Climate change is a long-term shift in the average weather conditions of a region, such as its typical temperature, rainfall, and windiness. Climate change means that the range of conditions expected in many regions will change over the coming decades. This means that there will also be changes in extreme conditions.
Peer reviewed scientific studies show more than 99% consensus that climate change has been caused by human activities. While some climate change is natural, current climate change is mainly caused by human activities that release greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere.
The main GHGs are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and water vapour. Watch this video from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to learn what the greenhouse effect is. Greenhouse gases are in the Earth’s atmosphere and more will be added while we continue to burn fossil fuels. Because of this, we try to improve the impact of climate change in two ways: mitigation and adaptation.
- Mitigation – the actions we take to reduce our greenhouse GHG emissions.
- Adaptation – the actions that will help us manage and reduce the negative impacts of climate change now and into the future.
Municipal Staff and Partners can also find resources to support their work here. Just scroll down to the Climate Change heading and drop down the menu for more.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created to provide policymakers with regular feedback on climate change science. This feedback explains the impacts and risks, and gives guidance on adaptation and mitigation options. The IPCC does not conduct its own research, but brings together existing peer reviewed research. The IPCC is a neutral body that doesn’t direct policy, but provides information to guide policy. To learn more see the press release and presentation below.
The following reports offer more information on climate change in Canada: