Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change

Climate change is already having devastating effects on the planet and human health. The acceleration in sea level rise increases flooding risks to coastal properties and communities living in low-lying areas. Higher temperatures lead to hotter, drier forests, priming them for wildfires. Hurricanes, droughts, storms, and heat waves have all become more intense and severe. These changes put natural and human landmarks at risk, but also threaten public health, and the water, electricity, and food supplies that humans depend on.

Greenhouse gases cause climate change by trapping heat below the atmosphere. Humans have both increased the production of greenhouse gasses and reduced the capacity of the environment to absorb them, especially in the last few centuries of intense industrialization. All industries contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, particularly energy, agriculture, and transportation. But there is high variance in carbon emissions performance within each industry, creating both leaders and laggards across the economy.