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Climate Change

Climate Change

Climate Change is recognised as the most serious and threatening global environmental problem.  While natural variation in climate over time is normal, humans are contributing to climate change through the emission of substantial amounts of greenhouse gases.  To run cars and provide heat for our homes, business and industries, fossil fuels such as petrol, diesel, oil, coal, peat and gas are burned.  This leads to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2 – the main greenhouse gas) being released into the atmosphere. Other gases are released as a result of activities in the agricultural, industrial and waste sectors.

Some greenhouse gases exist naturally in the atmosphere and are necessary to keep the earth at the global temperature suitable for ecosystems and life as they have evolved.  However, greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere from human activities are building up and trapping extra heat in the atmosphere.  The resulting rise in the Earth's temperature contributes to man-made climate change.  The changes are not limited to increased average temperatures or warmer weather – they also mean more extreme and unstable weather conditions, more storms and floods, more droughts and more coastal erosion - as well as warmer weather in parts of the world.

The main documents in relation to climate change can be seen at the right hand side of the page under the heading Publications and Documents.

More comprehensive listing of the relevant publications
Relevant Legislation

Climate Change Background

  • 1980's and early 1990s scientific evidence linking greenhouse gas emissions from human activities to climate change gave rise for concern
  • 1992 United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) (external link) adopted with the objective of preventing dangerous man-made interference with climate change.Commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions not legally binding
  • 1997 Kyoto Protocol adopted. Provides for individual legally-binding targets to be achieved by industrialised countries
  • 2005 Kyoto Protocol came into force.

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Publications & Documents

News and Speeches