Chapter 6 - Energy Sustainability

Part 7 - Climate Change

refi9nery at sunset with cloudsAccording to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), "climate change refers to a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer). Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use."

The Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines climate change as: "a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods." The UNFCCC distinguishes "between climate change attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition, and climate variability attributable to natural causes."


icon for interactivity Interactive Exercises: Science of Climate Change
icon for interactivity Interactive Exercises: Visualizing Global Climate Change




Suggested Reading

  1. Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report-Summary for Policymakers. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Core Writing Team, Pachauri, R.K. and Reisinger, A. (Eds.) IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland. pp 22.
  2. Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change. By Nathaniel Rich. Photographs and Videos by George Steinmetz. New York Times Magazine. Aug. 1, 2018


(Photo credit: Pete Williamson, 2010)