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climate change

cooling towers emitting smoke
Steam rising from the cooling towers of Cottam coal fired power station in Nottinghamshire. © Martin Bond/Still Pictures

Weather warning - Why should we care?

Global warming is one of the most severe problems facing the world today. During the 21st century the average surface temperature over the globe is expected to rise faster than at any time over the past 10,000 years. The climate change that results from global warming is already having a devastating impact - mainly on the poorest people in the world.

Rich countries are largely responsible for the pollution and environmental damage that causes global warming. But it's poor people and poor countries that suffer most. They are least able to cope with the consequences of climate change, such as increasingly severe floods and droughts. They are also more likely to suffer deaths, misery and economic damage as a result.

Climate change is also likely to have an impact on human health - diseases like malaria, for example, could become more widespread. The health of eco-systems is also at risk. Eco-systems such as forests or corals that are not able to adapt rapidly enough to match the rate of climate change could be irreversibly damaged.

It has been estimated that climate change could result in at least 150 million environmental refugees by 2050. The pressure is on the rich countries of the world to prevent a humanitarian as well as an environmental disaster.

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