Causes : Fossil Fuels – coal, oil and gas
Human activities – primarily the burning of fossil fuels, like coal and oil, and clearing of forests – are triggering the changes we are witnessing in the global climate.
Fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas, were formed from prehistoric plants and animals. They are primarily made of carbon that has been trapped deep underground for millions of years. We use fossil fuels to make energy. Coal and gas are burnt to generate electricity and oil is used for transportation. When fossil fuels are extracted and burnt, they release carbon dioxide into the air. Carbon dioxide is the most important greenhouse gas contributing to climate change
Because there is only a certain amount of fossil fuels available and they will take millions of years to be replaced, they are called non-renewable resources meaning they can only be used once (in contrast to ‘renewable’ resources, such as sunlight and wind, which are constantly available no matter how much we use).
Burning fossil fuels puts additional carbon from underground into the atmosphere which increases the greenhouse effect, causing the Earth’s temperature to rise.
To minimise the risks, we must decarbonise our economy and move to clean energy sources.
- 19 June 2013 - Gold Coast Community Forum
- 5 December 2012 - Adelaide community forum