The coronavirus pandemic caused the UN's annual climate conference to be postponed by a year, but it was also responsible for a drop in carbon emissions. Is it enough and will it last?
Motorways were once seen as a way of reducing congestion in our towns and cities. But the more we build, the more they fill with drivers.
Our intention to buy climate-friendly products does not always match our buying behaviour, especially when we pay more for such products.
Professor John Long, Flinders University
We have had to adapt to several changes to our climate since we started our migration out of Africa many thousands of years ago.
Absolute temperatures are expected to rise more slowly in the tropics than in higher latitudes and polar regions, but the combination of heat and rising humidity will make life more challenging.
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Methane is a live-fast, die-young greenhouse gas but its impact on the climate can last for hundreds or even thousands of years
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Geothermal reservoirs supply more than 15% of New Zealand's electricity. The heat energy stored in geothermal fields is vast but not infinite.
In the near future, we may see electric cars supplying power to smart grids or communities with their own independent microgrids.
To limit warming to 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels, we'll need to cut global emissions by 7.6% each year this decade. It's difficult, but not impossible.
If agricultural land was used to grow crops, it would limit methane emissions from livestock, but not store a substantial amount of carbon. Growing trees is what makes the difference.
The last time global carbon dioxide levels were around 400ppm was four million years ago. On average, the world was 3℃ warmer, but in high northern latitudes, it was up to 14℃ warmer than today.
The drop in traffic during COVID-19 lockdowns reduced global emissions. If we keep encouraging cycling and working from home beyond the pandemic, our climate goals may become more achievable.
If we had not altered the composition of the atmosphere at all through emitting greenhouse gases, particulate matter and ozone-destroying chemicals, the average temperature would have remained stable.
You can reduce your fuel consumption by 15-20% with improved driving habits alone – reducing emissions and saving money at the same time.
While it's impossible to stop all extraction of fossil fuels now, renewable sources are already generating 25% of global electricity demand now and their contribution continues to grow.
Countries account for emissions based on all activities that happen within their territory, which means countries that export more than they import will likely have higher per capita emissions.
Thomas La Mela/Shutterstock
It is easy for people in the industrialised world to blame population growth elsewhere for environmental damage. But increased consumption is just as important – if more confronting.
Earth's has gone through major climate changes in the past. They happened on time scales of millions of years and triggered mass extinctions. Our emissions are changing the climate much faster.
Food choices make a difference to the climate impact of our diet. Every step towards eating a more plant-based diet results in lower emissions, better population health and reduced healthcare costs.