It is clear that our climate is changing. Emissions trading is an instrument for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, in order to slow the process.

Causes of climate change

Climate change is caused by both natural phenomena and human behaviour. The use of fossil fuels releases large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect, along with methane (CH4), laughing gas (N2O) and fluorine compounds. These greenhouse gases augment the natural greenhouse effect. The concentrations of greenhouse gases in the air have increased dramatically over the last century.

Consequences of climate change

Average temperatures have risen by 0.9 degrees Celsius over the last 130 years (IPCC, 2013).

Higher temperatures lead to rising sea levels due to the melting of glaciers and other ice masses, and also cause more extreme weather conditions. Some regions are subject to extremely heavy rains, while others suffer drought.

Average temperatures on Earth are expected to continue rising over the course of the 21st century – the rate at which they do so will depend on the measures we take to prevent climate change. Some important measures include emissions trading, and the use of renewable energy.