What causes climate change?

  • Burning fossil fuels
  • Agriculture and deforestation
  • Land-use change

The planet has always had significant fluctuations in average temperatures. However, this current period of warming is occurring more rapidly than ever. Man-made activities have been increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. They are causing the average temperature of our planet to increase at a rate too fast for living things to adapt to.

Burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas is the source of most emissions for almost all economic sectors. It accounts for more than 70% of global GHG emissions.

The IPCC estimates that almost a quarter of total GHG emissions originate from agriculture and forestry (23%), making it the second highest source of emissions after the energy sector. About 40% of these emissions come from the natural digestive process that occurs in ruminant animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats. Land use and land-use change such as deforestation, forest degradation, and forest fires are also significant sources of GHG emissions. These activities, such as turning forest areas into grazing land for commercial cattle farming, and the production of feed crops such as soy, and palm oil plantations, are often closely linked to agro-industrial food systems.

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