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We’ve all heard of climate change and know it’s an important issue. But what exactly are the main causes of climate change? Climate change is a complex problem with multiple facets, and understanding how our actions impact the environment is essential in addressing it.

Once we know the underlying causes of climate change, we can take action and work towards solutions.

What is Climate Change?

Before diving into the different climate change issues, it’s important to understand exactly what it is. Climate change is a term used to describe a long-term shift in global or regional temperature, wind patterns, and other features of Earth’s climate system.

Climate change is mostly caused by humans, largely through burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These gases then trap heat from the sun and cause temperatures to rise.

The result is:

  • A warmer planet
  • Higher sea levels
  • Melting ice caps
  • Stronger storms
  • Changes in ecosystems

Climate change doesn’t just affect the environment – it also has a major impact on people and animals worldwide. It’s a critical issue that we all need to be aware of.

The Main Issues That Impact Climate Change

Many things can contribute to climate change, but here we’ll look at some of the issues that have a major impact.

Burning of Fossil Fuels

The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas is the main cause of climate change.

When fossil fuels are burnt, they release large amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere. This is known as global warming pollution, where carbon emissions accumulate in the atmosphere and trap heat, gradually raising global temperatures.


Trees are nature’s lungs – they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen back into it. But when forests are cut down, this cycle is disrupted. This causes more carbon to remain in the atmosphere and leads to a rise in global temperatures.

Deforestation also disrupts ecosystems and reduces the forest’s ability to act as a natural buffer against climate change.

Items Being Sent to Landfill

Millions of items are sent annually to landfills, where they decompose and release methane into the atmosphere. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. To reduce this issue, reusing and recycling more items can help lessen the amount of waste being sent to landfill.

Single Use Plastics

Single-use plastics are one of the biggest sources of plastic pollution. These items are incredibly difficult to recycle and often end up in landfills or the ocean, releasing toxins into the environment and harming wildlife habitats. Reducing single-use plastics is an essential step towards reducing plastic pollution and healing our planet.

Industrial Agriculture

How food is produced can also have an impact on climate change. Industrial agriculture, for example, requires large amounts of energy and resources. This can lead to deforestation, soil erosion, and water pollution. It also produces greenhouse gases which are released into the atmosphere.


The consumer culture that we live in often encourages overconsumption – buying more than what is needed and throwing away perfectly good items.

Overconsumption equals more waste, which must be processed and disposed of properly. It also increases emissions from manufacturing processes, transportation fuels, and energy used by our homes and workplaces.

Ways We Can Reduce Our Carbon Footprint

When tackling climate change, we all need to do our part. We can start by reducing our own carbon footprint and making sustainable choices in our daily lives.

Here are some small but powerful steps that we can take:

  • Reduce our energy use by switching off lights and unplugging appliances when not in use
  • Choose low-carbon transportation options like public transport, walking, or cycling instead of driving
  • Eat less meat and dairy, which have a large environmental footprint
  • Reuse items where possible, such as buying secondhand clothes or furniture
  • Switch to renewable energy sources like solar and wind power
  • Reduce our waste by avoiding single-use plastics and opting for products supplied in eco-friendly packaging


Climate change is an incredibly complex issue, and we all need to know how our choices affect our planet. By understanding the main issues contributing to climate change, we can start to make changes in our lives to help reduce our carbon footprint.

Small steps taken by individuals can have a huge collective impact, so let’s all work together to protect our planet for future generations.


UK statistics on waste – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)