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What is Climate Change?

What is Climate Change?

Climate change is caused by the greenhouse gas effect. Certain gases, like carbon dioxide and methane, hold heat close to the Earth’s surface. We call these “greenhouse gases” or GHGs. The more of these gases there are in the atmosphere, the warmer the atmosphere becomes on average, just like a greenhouse roof traps heat from sunlight inside a room. Greenhouse gases from human activities have been collecting in the atmosphere since the 1800s and are warming the climate more and more every year. This rise in average temperatures across the globe affects precipitation patterns, the severity of wildfires, the prevalence of extreme heat events and droughts, and more. Without reducing our GHG emissions, our climate will continue to change.

Climate Change GIF

This “Climate Change 101 with Bill Nye” video by National Geographic gives a more detailed explanation of how climate change has occurred over time. The video is in English and subtitles in other languages are available in the video settings options.

To explore interactive images showing the gradual, growing effects of climate change, see this “Climate Time Machine” created by NASA.

Can Livermore Make a Difference?

Even though climate change is a global problem, we can make a big difference locally. Up to 80 percent of global GHG emissions come from cities. Mostly, GHG emissions come from burning fossil fuels to power our buildings and vehicles. Because cities usually have control over the way they build, use land, and set up transportation systems, they are an important part of the climate solution. Plus, many actions cities take to lower their climate impacts have other positive benefits for their communities, like improving public health, saving money, and protecting ecosystems.

Keep clicking through the open house pages to learn more about sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Livermore, the impacts of climate change Livermore residents may experience, and opportunities for climate action to benefit the Livermore community. Don’t forget to share your thoughts at the bottom of each page!