Why is swift action to protect the climate so important and what is the scientific basis for calculations on causes and consequences of climate change? The Leopoldina explains this in its “Factsheet climate change: causes, consequences and possible actions”. In the first two chapters of this publication, the currently available knowledge about the causes and consequences of climate change has been summarized in an easy-to-understand format. The connections and data are illustrated in graphics, with concise explanations.
The factsheet is divided into three sections: causes, consequences and possible actions. In the chapter “Causes of climate change”, phenomena such as the greenhouse effect are explained and the development of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations in the course of earth's history is described, along with the speed of human-induced global warming. The chapter “Consequences of climate change” covers topics such as extreme weather events, the rising sea level, drought and the consequences of climate change for health and food security. The role of tipping points in the climate system is also explained.
Previously agreed emissions reductions are discussed in the chapter “Measures to counteract climate change”. Other topics include technologies for “negative emissions”, carbon pricing, natural carbon sinks such as soils, forests and oceans as well as the distribution of the remaining emission budget as a political and ethical issue.