Climate change in 226 words
Current warming trends are unequivocal. It is very likely that greenhouse gases released by human activities are responsible for most of the warming observed in the past fifty years. The warming is projected to continue and to increase over the course of the 21st century and beyond.
Climate change already has a measurable impact on many natural and human systems. Effects are projected to increase in the future and to be more severe with greater increases in temperature. Adaptation measures are already being implemented, and will be essential in order to address the projected consequences. There is, however, a limit to adaptation; mitigation measures will also be needed in order to reduce the severity of impacts.
Mitigation measures that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can help avoid, reduce or delay many impacts of climate change. Policy instruments could create incentives for producers and consumers to significantly invest in products, technologies and processes which emit less greenhouse gases. Without new mitigation policies, global greenhouse gas emissions will continue to grow over the coming decades and beyond. Rapid world-wide investments and deployment of mitigation technologies, as well as research into new energy sources will be necessary to achieve a stabilization of the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Additional research addressing gaps in knowledge would further reduce uncertainties and thus facilitate decision-making related to climate change.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
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