Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans, which started to increase in the

late 19th century and is projected to keep going up. Since the early 20th century, Earth's average surface temperature has increased by about 0.8 °C (1.4 °F), with about two [2] thirds of the increase occurring since 1980. Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and scientists are more than 90% certain that most of it is caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse [3][4][5][6] gases produced by human activities such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels. These findings [7][A] are recognized by the national science academies of all the major industrialized nations. Climate model projections are summarized in the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They indicate that during the 21st century the global surface temperature is likely to rise a further 1.1 to 2.9 °C (2 to 5.2 °F) for their lowest emissions [8] scenario and 2.4 to 6.4 °C (4.3 to 11.5 °F) for their highest. The ranges of these estimates arise from [9][10] the use of models with differing sensitivity to greenhouse gas concentrations. An increase in global temperature will cause sea levels to rise and will change the amount and pattern [11] of precipitation, and a probable expansion of subtropical deserts. Warming is expected to be strongest in the Arctic and would be associated with continuing retreat of glaciers, permafrost and sea ice. Other likely effects of the warming include more frequent occurrence of extreme-weather events includingheat waves, droughts and heavy rainfall, species extinctions due to shifting temperature regimes, and changes in crop yields. Warming and related changes will vary from region to region around the globe, with [12] projections being more robust in some areas than others. If global mean temperature increases to 4 °C above preindustrial levels, the limits for human adaptation are likely to be exceeded in many parts of the world, while the limits for adaptation for natural systems would largely be exceeded throughout the [13] world. Hence, the ecosystem services upon which human livelihoods depend would not be preserved. Most countries are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate [14] Change (UNFCCC), whose ultimate objective is toprevent "dangerous" anthropogenic (i.e., human[15] induced) climate change. Parties to the UNFCCC have adopted a range of policies designed to reduce [16]:10[17][18][19]:9 greenhouse gas emissions and to assist in adaptation to global [16]:13[19]:10[20][21] warming. Parties to the UNFCCC have agreed that deep cuts in emissions are [22] required, and that future global warming should be limited to below 2.0 °C (3.6 °F)relative to the pre[22][B] industrial level. A 2011 report of analyses by the United Nations Environment [23] [24] Programme and International Energy Agency suggest that efforts as of the early 21st century to reduce emissions may be inadequately stringent to meet the UNFCCC's 2 °Ctarget.

Initial causes of temperature changes (external forcings)

Greenhouse effect schematic showing energy flows between space, the atmosphere, and earth's surface. Energy exchanges are expressed in watts per square meter (W/m 2).

This graph, known as the "Keeling Curve", shows the long-term increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations from 1958–2008. Monthly CO2 measurements display seasonal oscillations in an upward trend; each year's maximum occurs during the Northern Hemisphere's late spring, and declines during its growing season as plants remove some atmospheric CO2.

External forcing refers to processes external to the climate system (though not necessarily external to Earth) that influence climate. Climate responds to several types of external forcing, such as radiative forcing due to changes in atmospheric composition (mainly greenhouse gas concentrations), changes in solar luminosity, volcanic eruptions, and variations in Earth's orbit around the Sun. Attribution of recent climate change focuses on the first three types of forcing. Orbital cycles vary slowly over tens of thousands of years and at present are in an overall cooling trend which would be expected to lead towards an ice age, but the 20th century instrumental temperature record shows a sudden rise in global temperatures.

Greenhouse gases
Main articles: Greenhouse gas, Greenhouse effect, Radiative forcing, and Carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere The greenhouse effect is the process by which absorption and emission of infrared radiation by gases in the atmosphere warm a planet's lower atmosphere and surface. It was proposed by Joseph Fourier in [45] 1824 and was first investigated quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius in 1896. Naturally occurring amounts of greenhouse gases have a mean warming effect of about 33 [46][C] °C (59 °F). The major greenhouse gases are water vapor, which causes about 36–70% of the greenhouse effect; carbon dioxide (CO2), which causes 9–26%; methane (CH4), which causes 4–9%; and ozone (O3), which causes 3–7%. Clouds also affect the radiation balance through cloud forcings similar to greenhouse gases. Human activity since the Industrial Revolution has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, leading to increased radiative forcing from CO 2, methane, tropospheric ozone, CFCs and nitrous oxide. The concentrations of CO2 and methane have increased by 36% and [50] 148% respectively since 1750. These levels are much higher than at any time during the last 800,000 [51][52][53][54] years, the period for which reliable data has been extracted from ice cores. Less direct geological evidence indicates that CO2 values higher than this were last seen about 20 million years ago.Fossil fuel burning has produced about three-quarters of the increase in CO2 from human activity

over the past 20 years. The rest of this increase is caused mostly by changes in land-use,

particularly deforestation.


Per capita greenhouse gas emissions in 2005, including land-use change.

Total greenhouse gas emissions in 2005, including land-use change.

Over the last three decades of the 20th century, gross domestic product per capita and population [57] growth were the main drivers of increases in greenhouse gas emissions. CO2 emissions are continuing [58][59]:71 to rise due to the burning of fossil fuels and land-use change. Emissions can beattributed to different regions. The two figures opposite show annual greenhouse gas emissions for the year 2005, including land-use change. Attribution of emissions due to land-use change is a controversial [60][61]:289 issue. Emissions scenarios, estimates of changes in future emission levels of greenhouse gases, have been projected that depend upon uncertain economic, sociological, technological, and natural [62] developments. In most scenarios, emissions continue to rise over the century, while in a few, emissions [63][64] are reduced. Fossil fuel reserves are abundant, and will not limit carbon emissions in the 21st [65] century. Emission scenarios, combined with modelling of the carbon cycle, have been used to produce estimates of how atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases might change in the future. Using the six IPCC SRES "marker" scenarios, models suggest that by the year 2100, the atmospheric concentration [66] of CO2 could range between 541 and 970 ppm. This is an increase of 90–250% above the concentration in the year 1750. The popular media and the public often confuse global warming with ozone depletion, i.e., the destruction [67][68] of stratospheric ozone by chlorofluorocarbons. Although there are a few areas of linkage, the relationship between the two is not strong. Reduced stratospheric ozone has had a slight cooling influence on surface temperatures, while increased tropospheric ozone has had a somewhat larger [69] warming effect.

Particulates and soot

Ship tracks over the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of the United States. The climatic impacts from particulate forcing could have a large effect on climate through the indirect effect.

Global dimming, a gradual reduction in the amount of global direct irradiance at the Earth's surface, was [70] observed from 1961 until at least 1990. The main cause of this dimming is particulates produced by volcanoes and human made pollutants, which exerts a cooling effect by increasing the reflection of incoming sunlight. The effects of the products of fossil fuel combustion – CO2 and aerosols – have largely offset one another in recent decades, so that net warming has been due to the increase in non[71] CO2 greenhouse gases such as methane. Radiative forcing due to particulates is temporally limited due to wet deposition which causes them to have an atmospheric lifetime of one week. Carbon dioxide has a lifetime of a century or more, and as such, changes in particulate concentrations will only delay [72] climate changes due to carbon dioxide. In addition to their direct effect by scattering and absorbing solar radiation, particulates have indirect [73] effects on the radiation budget. Sulfates act as cloud condensation nuclei and thus lead to clouds that have more and smaller cloud droplets. These clouds reflect solar radiation more efficiently than clouds [74] with fewer and larger droplets, known as the Twomey effect. This effect also causes droplets to be of more uniform size, which reduces growth of raindrops and makes the cloud more reflective to incoming [75] sunlight, known as the Albrecht effect. Indirect effects are most noticeable in marine stratiform clouds, and have very little radiative effect on convective clouds. Indirect effects of particulates represent the [76] largest uncertainty in radiative forcing. Soot may cool or warm the surface, depending on whether it is airborne or deposited. Atmospheric soot directly absorb solar radiation, which heats the atmosphere and cools the surface. In isolated areas with high soot production, such as rural India, as much as 50% of surface warming due to [77] greenhouse gases may be masked by atmospheric brown clouds. When deposited, especially on [78] glaciers or on ice in arctic regions, the lower surface albedo can also directly heat the surface. The influences of particulates, including black carbon, are most pronounced in the tropics and sub-tropics, particularly in Asia, while the effects of greenhouse gases are dominant in the extratropics and southern [79] hemisphere.

Satellite observations of Total Solar Irradiance from 1979–2006.

Solar activity
Main articles: Solar variation and Solar wind Solar variations causing changes in solar radiation energy reaching the Earth have been the cause of [80] past climate changes. The effect of changes in solar forcing in recent decades is uncertain, but small, [81] with some studies showing a slight cooling effect, while others studies suggest a slight warming [43][82][83][84] effect. Greenhouse gases and solar forcing affect temperatures in different ways. While both increased solar activity and increased greenhouse gases are expected to warm the troposphere, an increase in solar activity should warm the stratosphere while an increase in greenhouse gases should cool the [43] stratosphere. Radiosonde (weather balloon) data show the stratosphere has cooled over the period since observations began (1958), though there is greater uncertainty in the early radiosonde record. [85] Satellite observations, which have been available since 1979, also show cooling. A related hypothesis, proposed by Henrik Svensmark, is that magnetic activity of the sun deflects cosmic rays that may influence the generation of cloud condensation nuclei and thereby affect the [86] climate. Other research has found no relation between warming in recent decades and cosmic [87][88] rays. The influence of cosmic rays on cloud cover is about a factor of 100 lower than needed to [89] explain the observed changes in clouds or to be a significant contributor to present-day climate change. Studies in 2011 have indicated that solar activity may be slowing, and that the next solar cycle could be delayed. To what extent is not yet clear; Solar Cycle 25 is due to start in 2020, but may be delayed to 2022 or even longer. It is even possible that Sol could be heading towards another Maunder Minimum. While there is not yet a definitive link between solar sunspot activity and global temperatures, the scientists conducting the solar activity study believe that global greenhouse gas emissions would prevent [90] any possible cold snap.
The fact we still see a positive imbalance despite the prolonged solar minimum isn't a surprise given what we've learned about the climate system...But it's worth noting, because this provides unequivocal evidence that the sun is not the dominant driver of global warming.[91]

“ ”

In line with other details mentioned above, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies James Hansen says that the sun is not nearly the biggest factor in global warming. Discussing the fact that low amounts of solar activity between 2005 and 2010 had hardly any effect on global warming, Hansen says it is more evidence that geen house gases are the largest culprit; that is, he supports the theory advanced [91] by "nearly all climate scientists" including the IPCC.

Climate models
Main article: Global climate model

Calculations of global warming prepared in or before 2001 from a range of climate models under the SRES A2 emissions scenario, which assumes no action is taken to reduce emissions and regionally divided economic development.

The geographic distribution of surface warming during the 21st century calculated by the HadCM3 climate model if a business as usual scenario is assumed for economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions. In this figure, the globally averaged warming corresponds to 3.0 °C (5.4 °F).

A climate model is a computerized representation of the five components of the climate [98] system: Atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, land surface, and biosphere. Such models are based on physical principles including fluid dynamics, thermodynamics and radiative transfer. There can be components which represent air movement, temperature, clouds, and other atmospheric properties; ocean temperature, salt content, and circulation; ice cover on land and sea; the transfer of heat and moisture from soil and vegetation to the atmosphere; chemical and biological processes; and others. Although researchers attempt to include as many processes as possible, simplifications of the actual climate system are inevitable because of the constraints of available computer power and limitations in knowledge of the climate system. Results from models can also vary due to different greenhouse gas inputs and the model's climate sensitivity. For example, the uncertainty in IPCC's 2007 projections is caused by (1) the use of multiple models with differing sensitivity to greenhouse gas concentrations, (2) the use of differing estimates of humanities' future greenhouse gas emissions, (3) any additional

emissions from climate feedbacks that were not included in the models IPCC used to prepare its report, [93] i.e., greenhouse gas releases from permafrost. The models do not assume the climate will warm due to increasing levels of greenhouse gases. Instead the models predict how greenhouse gases will interact with radiative transfer and other physical processes. One of the mathematical results of these complex equations is a prediction whether warming [99] or cooling will occur. Recent research has called special attention to the need to refine models with respect to the effect of [100] [101][102][103] clouds and the carbon cycle. Models are also used to help investigate the causes of recent climate change by comparing the observed changes to those that the models project from various natural and human-derived causes. Although these models do not unambiguously attribute the warming that occurred from approximately 1910 to 1945 to either natural variation or human effects, they do indicate that the warming since 1970 is dominated by [43] man-made greenhouse gas emissions. The physical realism of models is tested by examining their ability to simulate contemporary or past [104] climates. Climate models produce a good match to observations of global temperature changes over the last [105] century, but do not simulate all aspects of climate. Not all effects of global warming are accurately predicted by the climate models used by the IPCC. Observed Arctic shrinkagehas been faster than that [106] predicted. Precipitation increased proportional to atmospheric humidity, and hence significantly faster [107][108] than global climate models predict.

Expected effects
Main articles: Effects of global warming and Regional effects of global warming "Detection" is the process of demonstrating that climate has changed in some defined statistical sense, without providing a reason for that change. Detection does not imply attribution of the detected change to a particular cause. "Attribution" of causes of climate change is the process of establishing the most likely [109] causes for the detected change with some defined level of confidence. Detection and attribution may [110] also be applied to observed changes in physical, ecological and social systems.

Sparse records indicate that glaciers have been retreating since the early 1800s. In the 1950s measurements began that allow the monitoring of glacial mass balance, reported to the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) and theNational Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC)

Natural systems
Global warming has been detected in a number of systems. Some of these changes, e.g., based on the instrumental temperature record, have been described in the section on temperature changes. Rising sea [111] levels and observed decreases in snow and ice extent are consistent with warming. Most of the [D] increase in global average temperature since the mid-20th century is, with high probability, attributable [112] to human-induced changes in greenhouse gas concentrations. Even with policies to reduce emissions, global emissions are still expected to continue to grow over [113] time. In the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, across a range of future emission scenarios, model-based estimates of sea level rise for the end of the 21st century (the year 2090–2099, relative to 1980–1999) range from 0.18 to 0.59 m. These estimates, however, were not given a likelihood due to a lack of scientific understanding, nor was an upper bound given for sea level rise. On the timescale of centuries to millennia, the melting of ice sheets could result in even higher sea level rise. Partial deglaciation of theGreenland ice sheet, and possibly the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, could contribute 4–6 metres (13 to [114] 20 ft) or more to sea level rise. Changes in regional climate are expected to include greater warming over land, with most warming at high northern latitudes, and least warming over the Southern Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic [113] Ocean. Snow cover area and sea ice extent are expected to decrease, with the Arctic expected to be [115] largely ice-free in September by 2037. The frequency of hot extremes,heat waves, and heavy precipitation will very likely increase.

Ecological systems
In terrestrial ecosystems, the earlier timing of spring events, and poleward and upward shifts in plant and [111] animal ranges, have been linked with high confidence to recent warming. Future climate change is [113] expected to particularly affect certain ecosystems, including tundra, mangroves, and coral reefs. It is expected that most ecosystems will be affected by higher atmospheric CO 2 levels, combined with higher [116] global temperatures. Overall, it is expected that climate change will result in the extinction of many [117] species and reduced diversity of ecosystems.

Social systems
Vulnerability of human societies to climate change mainly lies in the effects of extreme-weather events [118] rather than gradual climate change. Impacts of climate change so far include adverse effects on small [119] [120] islands, adverse effects on indigenous populations in high-latitude areas, and small but discernable [121] effects on human health. Over the 21st century, climate change is likely to adversely affect hundreds of millions of people through increased coastal flooding, reductions in water supplies, [122] increased malnutrition and increased health impacts. Future warming of around 3 °C (by 2100, relative to 1990–2000) could result in increased crop yields in mid- and high-latitude areas, but in low-latitude areas, yields could decline, increasing the risk of [119] malnutrition. A similar regional pattern of net benefits and costs could occur for economic (market-

sector) effects. Warming above 3 °C could result in crop yields falling in temperate regions, leading to [123] a reduction in global food production. Most economic studies suggest losses of world gross domestic [124][125] product (GDP) for this magnitude of warming.


Responses to global warming
Main article: Climate change mitigation See also: Fee and dividend Reducing the amount of future climate change is called mitigation of climate change. The IPCC defines mitigation as activities that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, or enhance the capacity of carbon [126] sinks to absorb GHGs from the atmosphere. Many countries, both developing and developed, are [59]:192 aiming to use cleaner, less polluting, technologies. Use of these technologies aids mitigation and could result in substantial reductions in CO2 emissions. Policies include targets for emissions reductions, increased use of renewable energy, and increased energy efficiency. Studies indicate substantial [127] potential for future reductions in emissions. In order to limit warming to within the lower range described in the IPCC's "Summary Report for [128] Policymakers" it will be necessary to adopt policies that will limit greenhouse gas emissions to one of [129] several significantly different scenarios described in the full report. This will become more and more difficult with each year of increasing volumes of emissions and even more drastic measures will be required in later years to stabilize a desired atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases. Energyrelated carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2010 were the highest in history, breaking the prior record set [130] in 2008. Since even in the most optimistic scenario, fossil fuels are going to be used for years to come, mitigation may also involve carbon capture and storage, a process that traps CO2produced by factories and gas or [131] coal power stations and then stores it, usually underground.

Main article: Adaptation to global warming Other policy responses include adaptation to climate change. Adaptation to climate change may be planned, either in reaction to or anticipation of climate change, or spontaneous, i.e., without government [132] [127] intervention. The ability to adapt is closely linked to social and economic development. Even societies with high capacities to adapt are still vulnerable to climate change. Planned adaptation is already occurring on a limited basis. The barriers, limits, and costs of future adaptation are not fully understood.

A body of the scientific literature has developed which considers alternative geoengineering techniques [133] for climate change mitigation. In the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report(published in 2007) Working Group III (WG3) assessed some "apparently promising" geoengineering techniques, including ocean fertilization, capturing and sequestering CO2, and techniques for reducing the amount of sunlight [133] absorbed by the Earth's atmospheric system. The IPCC's overall conclusion was that geoengineering [134] options remained "largely speculative and unproven, (...) with the risk of unknown side-effects." In the [134] IPCC's judgement, reliable cost estimates for geoengineering options had not yet been published.

As most geoengineering techniques would affect the entire globe, deployment would likely require global public acceptance and an adequate global legal and regulatory framework, as well as significant further [135] scientific research.

Views on global warming
Main articles: Global warming controversy and Politics of global warming See also: Scientific opinion on climate change and Public opinion on climate change There are different views over what the appropriate policy response to climate change should [136] be. These competing views weigh the benefits of limiting emissions of greenhouse gases against the costs. In general, it seems likely that climate change will impose greater damages and risks in poorer [137] regions.

Global warming controversy
The global warming controversy refers to a variety of disputes, significantly more pronounced in [138][139] the popular media than in the scientific literature, regarding the nature, causes, and consequences of global warming. The disputed issues include the causes of increased global average air temperature, especially since the mid-20th century, whether this warming trend is unprecedented or within normal climatic variations, whether humankind has contributed significantly to it, and whether the increase is wholly or partially an artifact of poor measurements. Additional disputes concern estimates of climate sensitivity, predictions of additional warming, and what the consequences of global warming will be. In the scientific literature, there is a strong consensus that global surface temperatures have increased in recent decades and that the trend is caused mainly by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases. [140][141] No scientific body of national or international standing disagrees with this view, though a few organisations hold non-committal positions. From 1990–1997 in the United States, conservative think tanks mobilized to undermine the legitimacy of global warming as a social problem. They challenged the scientific evidence; argued that global warming [142] will have benefits; and asserted that proposed solutions would do more harm than good.

Article 2 of the UN Framework Convention refers explicitly to "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations." [143] In order to stabilize the atmospheric concentration of CO2, emissions worldwide would need to be dramatically reduced from their present level.[144]

Most countries are Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate [145] Change (UNFCCC). The ultimate objective of the Convention is to prevent "dangerous" human [146] interference of the climate system. As is stated in the Convention, this requires that GHG concentrations are stabilized in the atmosphere at a level where ecosystems can adapt naturally to climate change, food production is not threatened, and economic development can proceed in a [147] sustainable fashion. The Framework Convention was agreed in 1992, but since then, global emissions [148] have risen. During negotiations, the G77 (a lobbying group in the United Nations representing 133 [149]:4 developing nations) pushed for a mandate requiring developed countries to "[take] the lead" in [150] reducing their emissions. This was justified on the basis that: the developed world's emissions had

contributed most to the stock of GHGs in the atmosphere; per-capita emissions (i.e., emissions per head of population) were still relatively low in developing countries; and the emissions of developing countries [61]:290 would grow to meet their development needs. This mandate was sustained in the Kyoto Protocol to [61]:290 [151] the Framework Convention, which entered into legal effect in 2005. In ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, most developed countries accepted legally binding commitments to limit [151] their emissions. These first-round commitments expire in 2012. US President George W. Bush rejected the treaty on the basis that "it exempts 80% of the world, including major population centers such as China and India, from compliance, and would cause serious harm to the US [149]:5 economy." At the 15th UNFCCC Conference of the Parties, held in 2009 at Copenhagen, several UNFCCC Parties [152] produced the Copenhagen Accord. Parties associated with the Accord (140 countries, as of November [153]:9 [154] 2010) aim to limit the future increase in global mean temperature to below 2 °C. A preliminary assessment published in November 2010 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) suggests a possible "emissions gap" between the voluntary pledges made in the Accord and the emissions cuts necessary to have a "likely" (greater than 66% probability) chance of meeting [153]:10–14 the 2 °C objective. The UNEP assessment takes the 2 °C objective as being measured against the pre-industrial global mean temperature level. To having a likely chance of meeting the 2 °C objective, assessed studies generally indicated the need for global emissions to peak before 2020, with substantial declines in emissions thereafter. The 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16) was held at Cancún in 2010. It produced an agreement, not a binding treaty, that the Parties should take urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet a goal of limiting global warming to 2 °C above pre-industrial temperatures. It also recognized the need to [155] consider strengthening the goal to a global average rise of 1.5 °C.

Public opinion
The examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with English-speaking territories and do not represent aworldwide view of the subject. Please improve this article and discuss the issue on the talk page. (October 2011)

Based on Rasmussen polling of 1,000 adults in the USA conducted 29–30 July 2011.[156]

In 2007–2008 Gallup Polls surveyed 127 countries. Over a third of the world's population was unaware of global warming, with people in developing countries less aware than those in developed, and those in Africa the least aware. Of those aware, Latin America leads in belief that temperature changes are a result of human activities while Africa, parts of Asia and the Middle East, and a few countries from the

Former Soviet Union lead in the opposite belief. In the Western world, opinions over the concept and the appropriate responses are divided. Nick Pidgeon of Cardiff University said that "results show the different stages of engagement about global warming on each side of the Atlantic", adding, "The debate in Europe is about what action needs to be taken, while many in the US still debate whether climate change [158][159] is happening." A 2010 poll by the Office of National Statistics found that 75% of UK respondents were at least "fairly convinced" that the world's climate is changing, compared to 87% in a similar survey [160] in 2006. A January 2011 ICM poll in the UK found 83% of respondents viewed climate change as a current or imminent threat, while 14% said it was no threat. Opinion was unchanged from an August 2009 [161] poll asking the same question, though there had been a slight polarisation of opposing views. A survey in October, 2009 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press showed decreasing public perception in the US that global warming was a serious problem. All political persuasions showed reduced concern with lowest concern among Republicans, only 35% of whom considered there to be [162] solid evidence of global warming. The cause of this marked difference in public opinion between the US and the global public is uncertain but the hypothesis has been advanced that clearer communication by scientists both directly and through the media would be helpful in adequately informing the American [163] public of the scientific consensus and the basis for it. The US public appears to be unaware of the extent of scientific consensus regarding the issue, with 59% believing that scientists disagree [164] "significantly" on global warming. By 2010, with 111 countries surveyed, Gallup determined that there was a substantial decrease in the number of Americans and Europeans who viewed Global Warming as a serious threat. In the US, a little over half the population (53%) now viewed it as a serious concern for either themselves or their families; this was 10% below the 2008 poll (63%). Latin America had the biggest rise in concern, with 73% saying [165] global warming was a serious threat to their families. That global poll also found that people are more likely to attribute global warming to human activities than to natural causes, except in the USA where [166] nearly half (47%) of the population attributed global warming to natural causes. On the other hand, in May 2011 a joint poll by Yale and George Mason Universities found that nearly half the people in the USA (47%) attribute global warming to human activities, compared to 36% blaming it on natural causes. Only 5% of the 35% who were "disengaged", "doubtful", or "dismissive" of global warming were aware that 97% of publishing US climate scientists agree global warming is happening and is [167] primarily caused by humans. Researchers at the University of Michigan have found that the public's belief as to the causes of global [168] warming depends on the wording choice used in the polls. In the United States, according to the Public Policy Institute of California's (PPIC) eleventh annual survey on environmental policy issues, 75% said they believe global warming is a very serious or somewhat [169] serious threat to the economy and quality of life in California. A July 2011 Rasmussen Reports poll found that 69% of adults in the USA believe it is at least somewhat [156] likely that some scientists have falsified global warming research. A September 2011 Angus Reid Public Opinion poll found that Britons (43%) are less likely than Americans (49%) or Canadians (52%) to say that "global warming is a fact and is mostly caused by emissions from vehicles and industrial facilities." The same poll found that 20% of Americans, 20% of [170] Britons and 14% of Canadians think "global warming is a theory that has not yet been proven."


Other views

Most scientists agree that humans are contributing to observed climate change. National science [172] academies have called on world leaders for policies to cut global emissions. However, some scientists [171][173][174] and non-scientists question aspects of climate-change science. Organizations such as the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute, conservative commentators, and some companies such as ExxonMobil have challenged IPCC climate change scenarios, funded scientists who disagree with the scientific consensus, and provided their own projections of the economic cost of [175][176][177][178] stricter controls. In the finance industry, Deutsche Bank has set up an institutional climate [179] [180] change investment division (DBCCA), which has commissioned and published research on the [181] issues and debate surrounding global warming. Environmental organizations and public figures have emphasized changes in the climate and the risks they entail, while promoting adaptation to changes in [182] infrastructural needs and emissions reductions. Some fossil fuel companies have scaled back their [183] [184] efforts in recent years, or called for policies to reduce global warming.


The term global warming was probably first used in its modern sense on 8 August 1975 in a science paper by Wally Broecker in the journal Science called "Are we on the brink of a pronounced global [185][186][187] warming?". Broecker's choice of words was new and represented a significant recognition that the climate was warming; previously the phrasing used by scientists was "inadvertent climate modification," because while it was recognized humans could change the climate, no one was sure which [188] direction it was going. The National Academy of Sciences first used global warming in a 1979 paper called the Charney Report, it said: "if carbon dioxide continues to increase, [we find] no reason to doubt [189] that climate changes will result and no reason to believe that these changes will be negligible." The report made a distinction between referring to surface temperature changes as global warming, while [188] referring to other changes caused by increased CO2 as climate change. Global warming became more widely popular after 1988 when NASA climate scientist James [188] Hansen used the term in a testimony to Congress. He said: "global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the [190] greenhouse effect and the observed warming." His testimony was widely reported and [188] afterward global warming was commonly used by the press and in public discourse.

Global Warming

An Introduction to Climate Change
 Climate change is changing our economy, health and communities in diverse ways. Find out what it could mean for you and your family. READ MORE »

Fact Sheet

Climate Change, Water, and Risk
Climate change will have a significant impact on the sustainability of water supplies in the coming decades. A new analysis, performed by consulting firm Tetra Tech for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), examined the effects of global warming on water supply and demand in the contiguous United States. The study found that more than 1,100 counties -- one-third of all counties in the lower 48 -- will face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century as the result of global warming. More than 400 of these counties will face extremely high risks of water shortages. READ MORE » Overview

Solving global warming will improve our lives by cleaning up air pollution while investing in clean energy, green jobs and smart energy solutions that get the U.S. economy moving again. We need to drive smarter cars, save money with energy efficient homes and offices, and build better communities and transportation networks. See how we can solve the climate crisis today. READ


Extreme Weather Map
In 2011, record-breaking extreme events occurred in each of the 50 states, and the frequency and intensity of some extreme events is likely to worsen with climate change. Check out our interactive map and learn how to protect your family from extreme weather. READ MORE » Maps

Climate Change Threatens Health
Climate change is one of the most serious public health threats facing the nation, but few people are aware of how it can affect them. Children, the elderly, and communities living in poverty are the most vulnerable. Explore our interactive maps to see climate-health threats in your state, actions that are being taken to prepare communities from climate change's serious health threats, and what you can do about them Climate change is one of the most serious public health threats facing the nation, but few people are aware of how it can affect them. Children, the elderly, and communities living in poverty are among

the most vulnerable. Click on a state on the map for more information on climate-health threats, actions being taken to prepare communities, and what you can do.
What is global warming? Global warming is when the earth heats up (the temperature rises). It happens when greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrous oxide, and methane) trap heat and light from the sun in the earth’s atmosphere, which increases the temperature. This hurts many people, animals, and plants. Many cannot take the change, so they die. What is the greenhouse effect? The greenhouse effect is when the temperature rises because the sun’s heat and light is trapped in the earth’s atmosphere. This is like when heat is trapped in a car. On a very hot day, the car gets hotter when it is out in the parking lot. This is because the heat and light from the sun can get into the car, by going through the windows, but it can’t get back out. This is what the greenhouse effect does to the earth. The heat and light can get through the atmosphere, but it can’t get out. As a result, the temperature rises. The sun’s heat can get into the car through the windows but is then trapped. This makes what ever the place might be, a greenhouse, a car, a building, or the earth’s atmosphere, hotter. This diagram shows the heat coming into a car as visible light (light you can see) and infrared light (heat). Once the light is inside the car, it is trapped and the heat builds up, just like it does in the earth’s atmosphere. Sometimes the temperature can change in a way that helps us. The greenhouse effect makes the earth appropriate for people to live on. Without it, the earth would be freezing, or on the other hand it would be burning hot. It would be freezing at night because the sun would be down. We would not get the sun’s heat and light to make the night somewhat warm. During the day, especially during the summer, it would be burning because the sun would be up with no atmosphere to filter it, so people, plants, and animals would be exposed to all the light and heat. The squiggle lines coming from the sun are visible light and the lines and arrows inside the car are infrared light.

Although the greenhouse effect makes the earth able to have people living on it, if there gets to be too many gases, the earth can get unusually warmer, and many plants, animals, and people will die. They would die because there would be less food (plants like corn, wheat, and other vegetables and fruits). This would happen because the plants would not be able to take the heat. This would cause us to have less food to eat, but it would also limit the food that animals have. With less food, like grass, for the animals that we need to survive (like cows) we would even have less food. Gradually, people, plants, and animals would all die of hunger. What are greenhouse gasses? Greenhouse gasses are gasses are in the earth’s atmosphere that collect heat and light from the sun. With too many greenhouse gasses in the air, the earth’s atmosphere will trap too much heat and the earth will get too hot. As a result people, animals, and plants would die because the heat would be too strong. What is global warming doing to the environment? Global warming is affecting many parts of the world. Global warming makes the sea rise, and when the sea rises, the water covers many low land islands. This is a big problem for many of the plants, animals, and people on islands. The water covers the plants and causes some of them to die. When they die, the animals lose a source of food, along with their habitat. Although animals have a better ability to adapt to what happens than plants do, they may die also. When the plants and animals die, people lose two sources of food, plant food and animal food. They may also lose their homes. As a result, they would also have to leave the area or die. This would be called a break in the food chain, or a chain reaction, one thing happening that leads to another and so on. The oceans are affected by global warming in other ways, as well. Many things that are happening to the ocean are linked to global warming. One thing that is happening is warm water, caused from global warming, is harming and killing algae in the ocean. Algae is a producer that you can see floating on the top of the water. (A producer is something that makes food for other animals through photosynthesis, like grass.) This floating green algae is food to many consumers in the ocean. (A consumer is something that eats the producers.) One kind of a consumer is small fish. There are many others like crabs, some whales, and many other

animals. Fewer algae is a problem because there is less food for us and many animals in the sea. Global warming is doing many things to people as well as animals and plants. It is killing algae, but it is also destroying many huge forests. The pollution that causes global warming is linked to acid rain. Acid rain gradually destroys almost everything it touches. Global warming is also causing many more fires that wipe out whole forests. This happens because global warming can make the earth very hot. In forests, some plants and trees leaves can be so dry that they catch on fire. What causes global warming? Many things cause global warming. One thing that causes global warming is electrical pollution. Electricity causes pollution in many ways, some worse than others. In most cases, fossil fuels are burned to create electricity. Fossil fuels are made of dead plants and animals. Some examples of fossil fuels are oil and petroleum. Many pollutants (chemicals that pollute the air, water, and land) are sent into the air when fossil fuels are burned. Some of these chemicals are called greenhouse gasses. We use these sources of energy much more than the sources that give off less pollution. Petroleum, one of the sources of energy, is used a lot. It is used for transportation, making electricity, and making many other things. Although this source of energy gives off a lot of pollution, it is used for 38% of the United States’ energy. Some other examples of using energy and polluting the air are:

Turning on a light Watching T.V. Listening to a stereo Washing or drying clothes Using a hair dryer Riding in a car Heating a meal in the microwave Using an air conditioner Playing a video game

Using a dish washer

When you do these things, you are causing more greenhouse gasses to be sent into the air. Greenhouse gasses are sent into the air because creating the electricity you use to do these things causes pollution. If you think of how many times a day you do these things, it’s a lot. You even have to add in how many other people do these things! That turns out to be a lot of pollutants going into the air a day because of people like us using electricity. The least amount of electricity you use, the better. When we throw our garbage away, the garbage goes to landfills. Landfills are those big hills that you go by on an expressway that stink. They are full of garbage. The garbage is then sometimes burned. This sends an enormous amount of greenhouse gasses into the air and makes global warming worse. Another thing that makes global warming worse is when people cut down trees. Trees and other plants collect carbon dioxide (CO2), which is a greenhouse gas. Carbon dioxide is the air that our body lets out when we breathe. With fewer trees, it is harder for people to breathe because there is more CO2 in the air, and we don’t breathe CO2, we breathe oxygen. Plants collect the CO2 that we breathe out, and they give back oxygen that we breathe in. With less trees and other plants, such as algae, there is less air for us, and more greenhouse gases are sent into the air. This means that it is very important to protect our trees to stop the greenhouse effect, and also so we can breathe and live. This gas, CO2, collects light and heat (radiant energy), produced by the sun, and this makes the earth warmer. The heat and light from the sun is produced in the center of the sun. (The sun has layers just like the earth.)

This layer is called the core. Just like a core of an apple, it is in the middle. Here there is a very high temperature, about 27,000,000F. This heat escapes out of this layer to the next layer, the radiative zone. This layer is cooler, about 4,500,000F. Gradually, the heat and light will pass through the convection zone at a temperature of around 2,000,000F. When it gets to the surface, the temperature is about 10,000F. Finally, the heat and light is sent into space. This is called radiant energy (heat and light). The radiant energy reaches the earth’s atmosphere. As a result of this process we get light and heat. When you pollute, you send chemicals into the air that destroy our atmosphere, so more heat and light cannot escape from the earth’s The dirty yellow color on outside is the surface. atmosphere. The light and dark yellow colored area is the convection zone. The orange colored area is the What are people doing to stop global radiative zone, and the red colored area is the warming? core. The squiggle lines represent radiant energy. People are doing many things to try to stop global warming. One thing people are doing is carpooling. Carpooling is driving with someone to a place that you are both going to. This minimizes the amount of greenhouse gases put into the air by a car. Another thing that people are doing is being more careful about leaving things turned on like the television, computer, and the lights. A lot of people are taking time away from the television, and instead, they are spending more time outdoors. This helps our planet out a lot. Now, more people are even riding busses, walking to school, and riding their bikes to lower the amount of greenhouse gases in the air. Planting trees and recycling also helps. If you recycle, less trash goes to the dump, and less trash gets burned. As a result, there are fewer greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. Watch what you buy. Many things, such as hairspray and deodorant, now are made to have less of an impact on the atmosphere. Less greenhouse gasses will rise into the air, and global warming will slow down. What is the government doing to stop global warming?

The government is doing many things to help stop global warming. The government made a law called The Clean Air Act so there is less air pollution. Global warming is making people get very bad illnesses that could make them disabled, very sick, and sometimes even die. The Clean Air Act is making many companies change their products to decrease these problems. Part of the law says that you may not put a certain amount of pollutants in the air. Hairspray and some other products, like foam cups, had this problem. Making and using these products let out too much volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), ozonedestroying chemicals (chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s), and related chemicals (such as CO2) into the air. Now, almost all of these products have a label on them telling people what this product can do to the environment and many people. By 2015 all products listed on the Clean Air Act will have this label on them: WARNING: contains or manufactured with (the chemical would go here. For example chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s), a substance which harms public health and the environment by destroying ozone in the upper atmosphere. Almost all of the other chemicals that could be harmful will have this label on them hopefully by this time (2015) as well. The Clean Air Act has also made car companies change some of the things inside of the cars. Cars pollute a lot. While cars make more than half of the world’s smog (visible pollution in the air), many things that cars need to move and heat up make even more pollution. Some things that are inside of cars, buses, trucks, and motorcycles, like gasoline, pollute the air when the fuel is burned. It comes out as a chemical and when mixed in the air, forms smog. Smog is a kind of pollution that you see in the form of a cloud. If you have ever been to California you can see a lot of smog in some places. Sometimes the smog gets so bad that you cannot see at all! Smog forms when car exhaust, pollution from homes, and pollution from factories mixes in the air and has a chemical reaction. The sun’s heat and light add to the reaction. Cars, buses, and trucks are also responsible for over 50% of dangerous chemicals let into the air. Some of these chemicals can cause cancer, birth defects, trouble breathing, brain and nerve damage, lung injures, and burning eyes. Some of the pollutants are so harmful that they can even cause death. What are some of the other dangerous chemicals? Some other chemicals that cause air pollution and are bad for the environment and people are: Ozone- Ozone is produced when other pollution chemicals combine. It is the basic element of smog. It causes many different kinds of health issues dealing with the lungs. It can damage plants and limit sight. It can also cause a lot of property

damage. VOC’s (volatile organic compounds, smog formers)- VOC’s are let into the air when fuel is burned. This chemical can cause cancer. It can also harm plants. NOx (nitrogen dioxide)- This chemical forms smog. It is also formed by burning sources of energy, like gas, coal, and oil, and by cars. This chemical causes problems in the respiratory system (including the lungs). It causes acid rain, and it can damage trees. This chemical can eat away buildings and statues. CO (carbon monoxide)- The source of this chemical is burning sources of energy. It causes blood vessel problems and respiratory failures. PM-10 (particulate matter)- The source of this chemical is plowing and burning down fields. It can cause death and lung damage. It can make it hard for people to breathe. The smoke, soot, ash, and dust formed by this chemical can make many cities dirty. Sulfur Dioxide- This chemical is produced by making paper and metals. This chemical can cause permanent lung damage. It can cause acid rain which kills trees and damages building and statues. Lead- This chemical is in paint, leaded gasoline, smelters, and in lead storage batteries. It can cause many brain and nerve damages and digestive problems. Test yourself on global warming by figuring out a word search at the website below. When you enter this website, you will have to click on Global Warming Word Search to enter the page. Click on the website below to test yourself on global warming. Kid can help stop global warming, too!! Although adults do many things to help stop global warming, kids can do just as much. Kids can’t do hard things like making a law, but we can do easier things like not watching as much TV. You can listen to your parents when they say, turn off your lights or go play outside. Listening to them and actually trying to help can help