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Climate change refers to the change in climate over time due to natural variability or as a result of human activity.
Since pre-industrial times in the past 200 years, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by 36%, methane by 148% and nitrous oxide gas by 18%.
These increases are mostly due to human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels for energy, and account for more than two-thirds of the greenhouse effect that human activities have caused to date.
As a result, the Earth’s average annual surface temperature has increased, as well as an the risk of floods, droughts, heat waves, tropical cyclones and other climate effects across the planet.
Climate change also negatively impacts ecosystems, water resources, human health, industries and societies.
There is now a common global understanding that reduction of GHG emissions is crucial, and that to achieve this we need to reduce the amount of energy used from fossil fuels, and to increase the amount supplied from renewable energy sources, and the efficiency with which we use all types of energy.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007, synthesis report
Environment Canada www.ec.gc.ca/scitech/default.asp?lang=En&n=2A953C90-1&offset=2&toc=show#B.1
Boyle, 2004, “Renewable energy – power for a sustainable future”.