Greenhouse gas concentrations are at their highest levels in 2 million years and, as a consequence, the earth is around 1.1oC warmer than it was in the 1800s. The current path of carbon dioxide emissions could increase global temperatures by as much as 4.4oC by the end of the century. Limiting global temperature rise to no more than 1.5oC would help us avoid the worst climate impacts, but requires a significant increase in the global commitment to cutting emissions.
The two most prominent greenhouse gases causing climate change are carbon dioxide and methane. These are produced primarily by burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil for energy and through the impacts of agriculture and deforestation.
The consequences of climate change include intense droughts, water scarcity, severe fires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting polar ice, catastrophic storms and declining biodiversity. This is no longer simply a problem of the future. Communities around the world are now experiencing the effects of climate change in diverse ways, including through its impact on health, food supplies, housing, safety and work. Conditions such as sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion have already advanced to the point where whole towns and villages have been forced to relocate.
Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)