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Agreement on these targets will ensure a peak in global emissions of greenhouse gases within the next decade and a rapid decline thereafter – a precondition for fending off dangerous climate change. Some would define the task as “expensive”. Indeed, it will require trust between nations as serious cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases are pledged, along with large flows of money and technologies from rich to poor nations. It will be based on the polluter-pays principle, on the historically high emissions of developed nations and on the capacity of the rich nations to help the poor. And we will all benefit from this North/South “burden sharing”.
The earth’s climate has warmed and cooled for millions of years, since long before we appeared on the scene. There’s no doubt that the climate is growing warmer currently; indications of that change are all around us. Though climate change isn’t new, the study of how human activity affects the earth’s climate is.
Global mean land-ocean temperature change from 1880–2012, relative to the 1951–1980 mean. The black line is the annual mean and the red line is the 5-year running mean . The green bars show uncertainty estimates. Source: NASA GISS . The map shows the 10-year average (2000–2009) global mean temperature anomaly relative to the 1951–1980 mean. The largest temperature increases are in the Arctic and the Antarctic Peninsula.