Climate Change & Energy

Climate Change Explained


Over the last two centuries, industrial activities, deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels have released high concentrations of heat-trapping agents called greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. While a certain amount of greenhouse gas is important to keep our climate warm and livable, these higher concentrations are warming the Earth’s surface to temperatures that threaten life on our planet. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane are two GHGs that have increased dramatically due to human activity.


Why Climate Change Matters

The top 10 warmest years on the planet since record-keeping began in 1880 have all occured since 1998. By 2100, the temperature could rise as much as 12F if agressive efforts to control emissions are not put in place. From heat waves and drought in Texas and wildfires in California to rising sea levels in Virginia, climate change isn't coming in the future—it's literally happening in our backyards, right now.

Overwhelming scientific consensus and real-life impacts tell us that global warming is real, is caused by human activity, and is a significant threat to our health, economy and environment. Skeptical about that consensus? Read this.

The warming temperatures caused by GHGs are responsible for rising sea levels (from melting glaciers and ice shelves), melting permafrost, changes in the distribution of plants and animals, and the lengthening of seasons. Scientists are also increasingly confident in linking climate change to the catastrophic storms, droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes we’ve experienced in the last few years.

Climate change is expected to increase the risk of some infectious diseases—particularly those diseases occurring in warm areas—including malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever and encephalitis.

Other concerns, according to EarthShare member Natural Resources Defense Council, include deadly heat waves, drought, food and water shortages, and international conflict. Rising sea levels, desertification and depleted aquifers could displace millions of people from their homes. The Defense Department says that "climate change has a dramatic impact on national security."

During and following the industrial revolution, we acquired most of our energy—to build our cities, to transport goods and people, and more—through the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil. Fossil fuels are a finite, unsustainable source of energy and burning them produces the GHGs that lead to global warming. To solve these problems, EarthShare members are working not only on advocating for renewable energy, but also for lessening our waste through better energy efficiency and design.


What You Can Do


Though the facts of climate change are sobering, it’s not too late to make a difference. Here at EarthShare, we’re committed to supporting our member organizations' efforts to address climate change and scale up bold energy solutions. By supporting these organizations, you can make the world a better place for future generations.

Get involved by:


  * EarthShare member organization