What is Climate Change?

Page - October 20, 2006
Today, our region is forced to confront one of the greatest threats it has ever faced. Scientist call the threat climate change; many call the menace global warming. It is a human-induced problem that puts into question the entire development goals of the countries of Southeast Asia.

Greenpeace activists party with the people of Bo Nok community, home of assassinated anti-coal activist Charoen Wataksorn and release paper lanterns to commemorate his successful fight against coal power plants in Thailand.

Climate change is the warming of our planet, caused by human activity. It is the worst environmental problem we face today. Most scientists and governments around the world agree that climate change will damage or destroy many natural ecosystems and human communities.

    When we speak of climate change, we are referring to changes in the climate of the Earth as a whole. Climate change is happening due to an increased concentration of certain gases in the atmosphere.  These heat-trapping gases are becoming more concentrated in the Earth's atmosphere, trapping more heat in the process.  The most prevalent of these gases is carbon dioxide, released from burning coal, oil and natural gas in power plants, cars, factories and so on as well mae moh as through large scale deforestation.

The warming to which we are currently committed is likely to cause irreversible damage to some unique ecosystems and the extinction of many endemic species. Significant damages to agriculture in some developing countries, growing water shortages, and increasing exposure to health risks will also occur. Simply put, the world is already in the grip of dangerous climate change.

Manila skyline

    As climate change is mainly caused by our profligate use of polluting fossil fuel energy sources - coal, oil, and gas - in order to achieve the deep cuts necessary to combat climate change, we need to phase out the use of fossil fuels. But how to provide the much-needed energy for a growing population without further threatening the climate is, perhaps, the major challenge of the day.

To learn more about climate change you can visit the following links: