Contains the full lesson along with a supporting toolkit, including teachers’ notes.
In order to mitigate the effects of climate change governments and major international agencies throughout the world are prioritising steps to address aspects of the problem. These steps include:
Predicted effects of climate change, such as greater risk of flooding in low-lying areas, can be reduced by taking appropriate preventive measures. These strategies are all interrelated.
Reducing the use of fossil fuels
Certain gases in the atmosphere absorb infrared radiation emitted by the surface of the Earth. This warms the planet by about 30 °C; without thisgreenhouse effect the average global temperature would be an inhospitable -15 °C.
Since the industrial revolution the use of fossil fuels has risen dramatically. There has also been a rise in the average global temperature; this is known as the enhanced greenhouse effect. When coal, oil and gas are burned the main products are carbon dioxide and water – both greenhouse gases. Over the last two hundred years the average concentration of water vapour in the atmosphere has remained relatively constant while the concentration of carbon dioxide has risen from 280 ppm to about 360 ppm, contributing significantly to the enhanced greenhouse effect. Other gases are also significant, especially nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4); these have a greater greenhouse effect but are present in lower concentrations than CO2.
Reducing or limiting our production of greenhouse gases can be achieved in a number of ways: