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This section provides answers to frequently asked questions about climate change. In each of the three first sections ("The physical science basis on climate change", "Climate change impacts, and adaptations and vulnerabilities" and "Mitigation of climate change"), FAQs 1 to 3 were prepared by the editorial team of Each answer represents a summary of a detailed text, directly sourced from IPCC "Fourth Assessment Report (AR4)", produced in 2007 by a large international panel of scientists. In addition, FAQs 4 to 22 of the section "The physical science basis on climate change" are directly sourced from the Working Group I report "Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis" of IPCC "Fourth Assessment Report (AR4)". All other FAQs were prepared by the EEA.

  1. No section
  2. The physical science basis on climate change
  3. Climate change impacts, adaptations and vulnerabilities
  4. Mitigation of climate change
  5. EEA activities on the mitigation of climate change in Europe

The physical science basis on climate change

  1. What makes the climate change?
  2. How is climate changing and how has it changed in the past?
  3. How is the climate going to change in the future?
  4. What factors determine Earth’s climate?
  5. What is the relationship between climate change and weather?
  6. What is the greenhouse effect?
  7. How do human activities contribute to climate change and how do they compare with natural influences?
  8. How are temperatures on Earth changing?
  9. How is precipitation changing?
  10. Has there been a change in extreme events like heat waves, droughts, floods and hurricanes?
  11. Is the amount of snow and ice on the Earth decreasing?
  12. Is sea level rising?
  13. What caused the Ice Ages and other important climate changes before the industrial era?
  14. Is the current climate change unusual compared to earlier changes in Earth’s history?
  15. Are the increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases during the industrial era caused by human activities?
  16. How reliable are the models used to make projections of future climate change?
  17. Can individual extreme events be explained by greenhouse warming?
  18. Can the warming of the 20th century be explained by natural variability?
  19. Are extreme events, like heat waves, droughts or floods, expected to change as the Earth’s climate changes?
  20. How likely are major or abrupt climate changes, such as loss of ice sheets or changes in global ocean circulation?
  21. If emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced, how quickly do their concentrations in the atmosphere decrease?
  22. Do projected changes in climate vary from region to region?


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