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Home > Environment > Climate Change > What is climate change?

What is climate change?

Empty field with a body of water running through the centre.

What is Climate change?

The weather is what is happening outside your window, while our climate is the average weather experienced over a long period of time.

The climate is not static; over the millions of years of earth's existence, it has changed many times in response to natural causes. Nowadays, however, the term climate change is generally used when referring to changes in our climate which have been identified since the early part of the twentieth century. 

Responding to climate change will be one of the biggest challenges we face this century. Everyone has a carbon footprint. This is the amount of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide - which contributes to global warming - released into the atmosphere by people's actions.

Everything that saves energy saves carbon dioxide from being released, so please do turn lights off, insulate your loft and try to use your car less (or drive more efficiently). By accepting responsibility and taking action, we can all be part of the solution.

The Climate Change Act 2008

The Climate Change Act became law in 2008. The Act places a legal requirement on the Government to dramatically reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

It must also prepare the UK for the impacts of climate change – like heatwaves, drought and flooding.

To help achieve these targets, the Committee on Climate Change was created (CCC), an organisation independent of Government that advises and reports to Parliament each year.

Progress on reducing emissions to date has come from:

  • New ways of generating electricity
  • Closing coal-fired power plants as more electricity is being produced without burning fossil fuels
  • Reducing costs - the cost of renewable energy has dropped dramatically (particularly off-shore wind)

But further action is needed to meet our targets:

  • Emissions from our transport system, buildings and industry are not falling fast enough
  • We still need to reduce emissions from the way we use our land
  • We need to work on eliminating emissions from the waste we produce.
  • New homes need to be protected from heat and flooding
  • Our natural environment needs to be improved.

 

The Paris Agreement

In 2015, countries around the world agreed to try and limit global warming to well below 2 degrees centigrade. The Paris Agreement explains more.

Dover District Council has acknowledged the serious impact of climate change globally and agrees there is a need for urgent action. Alongside other councils in Kent and the UK, we have declared a Climate Change Emergency. 

Useful links

A really simple guide to climate change

Climate change – your questions answered

Committee on climate change

Contact

Tel: 01304 872128

Email: energy@dover.gov.uk