Tiki the Penguin is supported by Oneworld.org

   




site map
Tiki the Penguin's guide to climate change and global warming — for kids
Tiki the Penguin's guide to climate change and global warming — for kids
Poor polluted overheated planet

Yes, climate change is real and unfair! But now there's some good news at last...

Polar bears need ice (Sandra Cobet)Climate change… seriously threatens polar bear survival in the future

IUCN Director General, 2015.

People are making the world too hotThe world is getting hotter. And I'm sorry to say it's all people's fault.

But it's not everyone that's doing it. Mostly it's people in rich countries — North America, Europe and Australia. They are the ones with energy-hungry lifestyles which guzzle fossil fuels.

Life is not fair!
  • TikiA child born in the United States will create thirteen times as much ecological damage over the course of his or her lifetime than a child born in Brazil
  • The average American will drain as many resources as 35 natives of India and consume 53 times more goods and services than someone from China
  • With less than 5 percent of world population, the U.S. uses one-third of the world’s paper, a quarter of the world’s oil, 23 percent of the coal, 27 percent of the aluminum, and 19 percent of the copper
  • American fossil fuel consumption is double that of the average resident of Great Britain and two and a half times that of the average Japanese
Source: Scientific American 2012

 

Poor people like those in most African countries, Asia and Latin America can't afford to travel all over the place in cars and planes, they don't have heating or air conditioning in their homes or eat fancy food. Many don't even have anything more to live in than a Click link for pictureone-room shack with no toilet, no kitchen, no running water. These people are not the ones causing global warming. Yet they are the ones who suffer most from climate change caused by the rich. It's not fair, is it?

As for us other animals, we are innocent too because the only fuel we use is that which we get from our food ... so what are you folks going to do about it?

Good news!

But — at last — people are starting to take serious action on climate change...


Climate change is real In 1988, a group of scientists from many nations began working together to examine the evidence for climate change and make careful suggestions to the world's governments as to what they could do about it. This group is called the IPCC.

IPCC scientists have studied the climate all around the world. They've known for many years that climate change really is happening. They knew that it would be bad for people and much other life. And as more evidence piled in, it became obvious that it is mostly due to humans and their pollution of the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. So way back in 1992, most of the world's countries got together at a United Nations (UN) conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This was called the Earth Summit. Here everyone agreed to start a series of conferences to try and get a worldwide agreement to slow climate change. Most countries soon joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

What is the IPCC?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It was set up by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988. The idea was to provide the world with a clear, up-to-date scientific view on climate change. There are 195 countries which are members of the IPCC. The latest IPCC view on the state of the world's climate is the Fifth Assessment Report (2014)
What is the UNFCCC?
This is an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The idea is that the world's nations (called 'the Parties') come together to work out what they can do to limit climate change and to help poor nations which are already suffering some of the worst effects. The UNFCC organises international conferences called Conferences of the Parties (COP). The latest of these, COP 21, took place in Paris, France, in late 2015.

Kyoto: a lot of hot air? But the 2015 Paris Agreement looks like being much more successfulBack in 1997, 192 countries in the world came together in a big conference at Kyoto in Japan. Here they began to try and agree what to do about climate change. Lots of promises were made but countries haven't been very good at carrying them out. Many people consider Kyoto was a failure. Pollution by greenhouse gases continued to climb.

Since then, the evidence for change has become stronger and stronger. The special computer 'climate models' which IPCC scientists had used to predict what would happen are better than ever. The ice sheets in both the Click link for videoArctic and the Click link for videoAntarctic are melting, in some cases very fast. Ice sheets and glaciers are melting everywhere Sea levels are rising. Temperatures are rising, especially in the Arctic and Antarctic. Glaciers on other mountains of the world are melting very fast — especially in the Click link for video tropics. Click link for videoAnimals and plants which like cooler conditions are moving away from the overheated tropics towards the poles. Storms are getting stronger, with damaging winds and heavy rain causing serious flooding. All these things are predicted by climate models. Yes, it's happening all right.


TikiHuman influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.
IPCC Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report: Fifth Assessment Report

What does 'anthropogenic' mean?
Something that you humans have caused


The COP 21 Paris Agreement

Since Kyoto, there have been more climate conferences. The latest and greatest of these conferences took place in Paris, France, at the end of 2015 (COP 21). At last, everyone from all the 195 countries attending the conference agreed that NOW is the time to take climate change seriously, so they set up a system to do it. The aim is to keep the global temperature rise to below 2°C.

This is the first time there has been general agreement about what to do and how to do it. Well done humans, I say! It's called the Paris Agreement. But it won't be easy because the entire global economy is hooked on fossil fuels. So the road ahead may be rocky but it is passable. It has to be!

What does this road ahead involve?
There has to be a drastic cut in carbon emissions by everyone everywhere to try and stabilise the climate. There also has to be adaptation and mitigation. 'Adaptation' means that people will have to change their lifestyles and adapt to the changing climate. 'Mitigation' means that help will have to be given by rich countries to poor countries whose peoples are being harmed by the changing climate

You clever humans can work it out!So now it's up to you humans to undo the damage that has been done to the Earth's climate system by burning fossil fuels. Obviously this hasn't been done by you kids but unfortunately, it is you – your generation – which will have to slam on the fossil fuel brakes hard or live with a wild climate which will be very unpleasant indeed for much of life on Earth, especially human life… not to mention penguins and polar bears! But I think you humans are incredibly clever and resourceful, and I think you will solve the problems ahead.

The Paris Agreement at COP 21
The 195 countries attending the conference agreed to a global pact, the Paris Agreement. The aim is to reduce their carbon output (= carbon emissions = atmospheric carbon pollution) "as soon as possible" and to do their best to keep global warming "to well below 2 degrees C". Each country that signs up to the agreement has to set a target for emission reduction, but the amount will be voluntary. There is no means to force any country to comply. So the agreement depends more on goodwill and a general agreement that global climate change is happening. People are all in this together and so have to work together to preserve climate stability. Whether this will work remains to be seen and may depend upon you kids, as you get older, hassling your country's governments and making sure they are sticking to their commitments. It's not going to be easy!


But what can I do? I'm only a kid

Okay, now that you know lots about climate change, how about trying my Hot Earth quiz to see how much you really know! I've made a global warming crossword puzzle here. If you can't do it, you probably haven't read my guide!

Now try using this clever tool to see how you would choose to reduce CO2 emissions to 20 per cent of 1990 levels. It's fun to use and gives you an idea of the difficult choices you people have to make to avoid dangerous climate change.

But it's not all doom and gloom! Check out what you and your friends, family and schools can do. You CAN make things better. Click the right arrow below for things YOU can do... !

back to my climate change home page Back to 'It's not really happening, is it?'   Forward to 'What you can do'
   






Live Support