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What is climate change? 

The weather is ever changing, but climate change relates to consistent changes over decades. Climate change impacts plants, biodiversity, rainfall, wind and temperature regionally  and globally(1). The climate is already changing and it is indisputable with 97% of scientists agreeing that global warming is real (2)

"Weather is your mood and the climate is your personality."

Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, President of the American Meteorological Society (3)

We are in a climate emergency and humanity have had such a great impact on the planet that geologically speaking we are no longer in the Holocene notably defined by its mild and stabile climate, but have moved into the Anthropocene - the age of humankind(2).

Impacts of climate change

According to the Met Office the impact of climate change is expected to have the following effects on UK weather. 

  • Warmer and wetter winters

  • Hotter and drier summers

  • More frequent and intense weather extremes

Globally there are a number of impacts of climate change on our planet affecting both humans and animals, but here are just a few of them. 

The poles and glaciers 

On a global scale the warming of the planet causes the melting of ice on the poles and glaciers causing sea level rise and crop failures for communities dependent on water from glaciers during the summer months. 

"Until now, sea-level rise has been directly proportional to the rate of of global warming, but scientists expect sea-level rise to start accelerating, rising to 2.3 meters for every 2.3C degrees of warming" (4)

Drought and floods 

The changing patterns in rainfall will make some areas wetter and put them at increased risk of flooding, while others will suffer from drought, drying up natural wells and watering holes, both severely impacting local populations, wildlife and vegetation. 

Destruction of coral reefs

Coral reefs support 25% of all ocean wildlife and are crucial for a healthy ocean. The increasing temperatures and acidification of the oceans make it harder for corals to hold on to the algae they depend on to survive resulting in coral bleaching.

Air pollution 

According to WHO 90% of the world's population breath polluted air and it disproportionately impacts children, the elderly and people of lower incomes. In London, 40% of the air pollution comes from road transport with diesel vehicles being the worst offenders.


What causes climate change?

Climate change is caused by a number of factors, but crucially 87% of scientists believe that humans are the cause of climate change (3). 

Fossil fuels

The burning of fossil fuels gas, oil and coal releases enormous amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere every year increasing the global temperatures. These energy sources are used to produce electricity, heat our homes and power cars, trains and plains. 


One of the issues with meat and dairy farming are the strains on water resources and 90% of all soya produced, the impact of which you will read about below, is fed to livestock.  

Industrial fishing

The oceans are under pressure from industrial fishing depleting fish stocks, killing whales, sharks and dolphins in bi-catch, the dumping of nets and other fishing gear resulting in the death of even more ocean wildlife. The oceans are the biggest carbon sinks and two thirds of all oxygen originates from our blue name sake of or planet. 

Overfishing and out of control bi-catch from industrial fishing depletes fishing stocks and disrupts the ecological balance in the oceans. 


Often referred to as the lungs of the planet, trees are immensely important not only due to their role in supporting the very thing we breathe, but forests are also home to around 80% of the world’s land biodiversity.

The large scale production of soya and palm oil have resulted deforestation of crucial tropical forests not only home to a multitude of wildlife in order to make room for fields to grow these crops. 

Trees are also incredibly good carbon stores and absorb other pollutants, provide an important cooling effect in cities and contribute to improved mental health.  

Climate change and the Royal Borough of Greenwich 

Sources of greenhouse emissions in Greenwich are mainly from domestic buildings, transport and non-domestic buildings.

Heat and electricity used in buildings in the borough accounted for 64% of emissions in Greenwich in 2019. Emissions from homes alone were 41% of the borough’s total.

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