Climate change is not just a threat for the future, it is a reality now.
The Earth is surrounded by gases that trap heat from the sun warming the surface so it can sustain life. Since the industrial revolution the concentrations of these `greenhouse gases' has increased, trapping too much heat, and causing the Earth to warm up.
This effect is known as 'global warming' or the `greenhouse effect'.
The increasing global temperatures are now resulting in changes to our climate and we are seeing more extreme weather patterns in Scotland and across the world.
Human activity is responsible for climate change.
Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO 2) are produced and released into the atmosphere as a result of our everyday behaviour. For example by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas to create energy to heat and light our homes and to power our transport. Vast areas of the world's forests which could help absorb this CO 2 are also being destroyed.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) rigorously assesses all scientific and technical aspects of climate change. Climate Change 2007: the Physical Science Basis was published by the IPCC in February 2007 and stated:
'Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.'
This report represents a powerful body of opinion that humans are almost certainly influencing the climate and highlights the need for urgent action to avoid dangerous climate change.