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Over the past several decades, individuals have become increasingly aware of the connection between the actions they take on a day-to-day basis and overall environmental quality. Many common actions add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere � starting a car, turning on a light, heating and cooling our homes, taking out the trash. In the United States, 6.6 metric tons of greenhouse gases are emitted per person every year. Emissions per person have increased by 3.5% between 1990 to 1997.
Once, all climate changes occurred naturally. However, during the Industrial Revolution, we began altering our climate and environment through changing agricultural and industrial practices. Before the Industrial Revolution, human activity released very few gases into the atmosphere, but now through population growth, fossil fuel burning, and deforestation, we are affecting the mixture of gases in the atmosphere.
However, many actions can lower emissions as well � the opportunity exists for each of us to reduce our contribution to the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases. "Individuals Can Make A Difference" identifies actions that many households can take that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in addition to other benefits, including saving you money! "Smart Savings: Climate Solutions for Cities" identifies areas where we can work together within our communities and with our local officials to save money, save energy, clean the air, reduce congestion, curb sprawl, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
There is information throughout EHSO's site of potential interest to the concerned citizen. Below, you will find brief descriptions of the site's major sections which address climate science, greenhouse gas emissions, potential global warming impacts, and the actions conducted or supported by governments, corporations, small businesses, and individuals that help address global warming issues.
Climate - Data on a wide variety of environmental indicators are consistent with the consequences that scientists generally expect to result from increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases. This section provides background information on what this means now and on what it may mean for the future.
Emissions - Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have increased nearly 30%, methane concentrations have more than doubled, and N2O concentrations are up by about 15%. This section provides information on how people affect the mixture of gases in the atmosphere.
Impacts - Scientific studies show that human health, ecological systems, and socioeconomic sectors, all of which are vital to sustainable development, are sensitive to changes in climate. This section examines the potential impacts of climate change in a wide variety of areas.
Actions - Today, action is occurring at every level to reduce, to avoid, and to better understand the risks associated with climate change. This section focuses on actions and activities conducted or supported by governments, corporations, small businesses, and individuals that help address global warming issues.
Publications and Presentations - Contains major reports, information sheets, brochures, documents, and electronic publications on climate change and related science, policy, and technology issues. The section includes a series of state specific information sheets on climate change and its potential impacts. Also Slideshows (downloadable) on Climate Science, Emissions. .
Rising global temperatures are expected to raise sea level, and change precipitation and other local climate conditions. Changing regional climate could alter forests, crop yields, and water supplies. It could also threaten human health, and harm birds, fish, and many types of ecosystems. Deserts may expand into existing rangelands, and the character of some of our National Parks may be permanently altered. Unfortunately, many of the potentially most important impacts depend upon whether rainfall increases or decreases, which can not be reliably projected for specific areas.
||Selected chapters from the IPCC publication, The Regional Impacts of Climate Change - An Assessment of Vulnerability (1998), are available on the EPA Global Warming Site.|
Today, action is occurring at every level to reduce, to avoid, and to better understand the risks associated with climate change. Many cities and states across the country have prepared greenhouse gas inventories; and many are actively pursuing programs and policies that will result in greenhouse gas emission reductions.
At the national level, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) coordinates the world's most extensive research effort on climate change. In addition, the Clinton Administration is actively engaging the private sector, states, and localities in partnerships based on a win-win philosophy and aimed at addressing the challenge of global warming while, at the same time, strengthening the economy.
At the global level, countries around the world have expressed a firm commitment to strengthening international responses to the risks of climate change. The U.S. is working to strengthen international action and broaden participation under the auspices of the Framework Convention on Climate Change.
In addition, you can access the latest climate related news, articles, speeches, and information about upcoming events. And, before you leave EHSO, visit the Global Warming
Links area to find some of the best climate related sites on the World Wide Web.