Climate is the average weather experienced over a long period. This includes temperature, wind and rainfall patterns. The earth’s climate is not fixed, and in the past has changed many times in response to a variety of natural causes. However, the Earth’s surface has warmed by about 0.754°C on average since around 1900 and by around 0.4°C since the 1970s.
The 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) leaves no doubt that human activity is the main cause of the warming observed over the last 100 years, particularly over the last 50 years. Find out more about the report.
It is likely that continued global warming would mean more intense heat waves, droughts and severe storms in many regions. There may be severe problems where people are particularly vulnerable to changes in the weather.
The social, environmental and economic costs of climate change could be huge if no global action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate change facts
• The Earth’s surface has warmed by about 0.754°C on average since around 1900 and by around 0.4°C since the 1970s
• Human activity is the main cause of global warming observed over the last 100 years, particularly over the last 50 years
• Over 30 billion tonnes of CO2 are emitted globally each year by burning fossil fuels
• The atmospheric concentration of CO2 is now higher than at any time in at least the the last 800,000 years
• Average global temperatures are likely to rise between 1.1°C and 6.4°C above 1990 levels by the end of this century
Source: Department of Energy and Climate Change
Our climate change strategy sets out our overall programme for tackling climate change. It outlines our targets, our data, current governance arrangements and our calculations for delivering carbon reductions. However, more importantly it sets out a series of action plans around how we plan to deliver carbon emissions reductions from Newcastle. It also provides information about our current and work we will being doing in the future to tackle the adaptation agenda.
Download the Climate change strategy (pdf, 2.62mb)