Acting on Climate Together –ACT is a platform to mobilize and encourage action through accessible information on climate change, based on science.
Climate change is complex. Scientific information is usually not easy to understand.
ACT’s goal is to explain climate change in a simple way for everyone, everywhere, to understand and do something about it.
Each and every one of us can multiply and accelerate climate action.
Your participation, experiences and contributions will be included in our next global report.
We are looking forward to engaging with you!
1. Almost Everything You Do Every Day Contributes to Climate Change
Every day, you shower, get dressed, eat, communicate, work or study, travel, read, shop, watch television. These activities require energy. Some examples:
Every day, you also
All of these activities require energy:
To heat up your home and the water you use to shower, cook or clean
To refrigerate and cook your food
To power your computer or charge your phone
To fuel your car
To produce and transport the good and products you buy
All of these activities you do every day generate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Some GHGs are emitted by natural sources. However, most are emitted by man-made sources.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the single most important human-emitted GHG in the atmosphere.
Half of the CO2 that is emitted is processed by the oceans and land. The other half, as well as other GHGs, concentrates in the atmosphere.
It is these GHG concentrations that warm up the Earth, causing the climate to change.
Energy is a key part of the problem because 81% of the energy in the world is generated by burning coal, oil and natural gas –all fossil fuels—accounting for 65% of all GHGs emissions.
2. The Changing Climate
Climate is usually confused with weather. So it is important to define key concepts.
Weather is the combination of temperature, wind and rain in the short-term. So the weather in a day can be hot or cold, rainy or clear, windy or calm.
Climate is the average weather pattern in a region over a long period of time. There are three climate regions in the world: tropical, temperate and polar. There are five types of climate in the world:
Tropical: Year-round high temperatures and high annual rainfall.
Dry: Year-round high temperatures and little annual precipitation.
Mild: Warm summers and mild winters.
Continental: Warm summers and cold winters
Polar: Very cold winters and summers.
Climate change is the changes in the average weather over more than 30 years.
Weather events are the results of natural factors.
There are hot days in the summer.
There are rainy days everywhere in the world.
Weather events are also influenced by climate change. For example:
The average rainfall for an entire month pours in just a couple of hours or doesn’t fall at all.
The temperature in a particular place is warmer than average.
Climate change has altered the frequency and intensity of weather events.
Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, severe storms and hurricanes –both leading to flooding—have increased in number and strength due to human-induced climate change.
The consequences of these weather events are already impacting us.
Climate change is already impacting our freshwater resources, our cities particularly coastal cities, our food production and agriculture, our health, our industries, our infrastructure, among many others sectors and services.
3. World Leaders are Doing Something About It
All countries contribute to global GHG emissions.
While China, United States, India, and the European Union are responsible for about 50% of global GHG emissions, 165 countries are responsible for the other half.
All countries committed to take joint action to combat climate change by adopting the Paris Agreement in 2015.
By 2019, 192 countries (or 165 parties to the Climate Change Convention) put forward pledges to reduce GHG emissions and to adapt to the changing climate.
All pledges –or nationally determined contributions— submitted under the Paris Agreement rely on actions and policies to be implemented by governments.
Some national and local governments are already taking action to combat climate change.
The private sector and research institutions are already taking action too.
All around the world, business leaders and companies are investing and implementing innovative technology initiatives and projects. These companies understood that investing today will save money and secure sustainable businesses tomorrow. Some examples are:
Research institutions are also analyzing and testing new technologies to reduce and remove GHGs. They are also assessing and developing options to generate carbon-free energy. In addition, researchers are advising policy-makers on options to implement climate-friendly policies.
4. More Needs to be Done
Initiatives and projects to tackle climate change are already being implemented all around the world. Starting in 2020, actions to combat climate change will be implemented in 192 countries.
Global GHGs emissions, however, are not decreasing fast enough.
By 2030, global GHG emissions should be reduced by 20 percent from current levels to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal to hold ‘the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels’.
If all pledges are fully implemented, global GHG emissions will be 30 percent above the level of what they should be in 2030 to stay below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels.
This means that more needs to be done to reduce global GHG emissions.
Because more than half of GHG emissions concentrate in the atmosphere, it is critical to do more to reduce GHG emissions.
CO2 accounts for 76% of all GHG emissions, 50% of which concentrate in the atmosphere.
These CO2 concentrations, or atmospheric CO2, are the main driver of global temperature increase.
GHG emissions that have been emitted decades ago and have concentrated in the atmosphere, are still contributing to the increase in global temperature because of their long lifetime in the atmosphere.
Annual records may continue to show an increasing trend, for example, 2015, 2016 and 2017 have been confirmed as the three warmest years on record.
However, it is the global average temperature that is causing the climate to continue to change.
Global average temperature has already reached 1.1ºC above pre-industrial levels in 2016
5. What YOU Can Do About It!
Simple actions and choice you make every day can significantly contribute to combating climate change.
You are part of the solution!
Some examples of how you can do to contribute are:
About 80% of households in the U.S. own, at least, one computer. Almost 97% of public schools in the U.S. have at least one computer in the classroom.
Computers, TVs and cell phone chargers, among many other appliances, use electricity even if they are shut off.
Unplug them when not in use.
Turn off the lights when leaving a room.
You will contribute to saving energy. You will also save money.
A meal based on soy, wheat, carrots, and apples generates ten times less GHGs than a meal based on beef, rice, cooked frozen vegetables and tropical fruits
Make simple swaps in your diet.
Buying locally grown food is another great choice.
You will contribute to saving emissions, electricity and fuel.
More than half of the waste generated in the U.S. every year is disposed in landfills, while just 35 percent is recycled. In comparison, Germany recycles more than 65% of its waste.
Recycle, recycle, recycle.
You will contribute to saving energy required to produce and transport goods and products.