Issues / What is climate change? June 27th, 2019 Hot Topic The Scottish Parliament and the Houses of Parliament have declared a climate emergency. But what is climate change? Climate change refers to the phenomenon in which the climate (long term averages of precipitation, temperature etc.) changes rapidly. It is often connected to the burning of fossil fuels, however it can occur naturally too. Global warming refers to the longer-term warming of the planet. Most scientists agree that global warming is linked to the increased burning of fossil fuels. While global temperatures have been known to fluctuate, temperatures have been rising more rapidly over the past 40 years. The two terms are used interchangeably and while they are linked, they don't mean exactly the same thing. The effects of climate change are wide ranging. This can be from the melting of sea ice to an increase in wildfires. Climate change can lead to a mass loss of habitat and, eventually, life. A recent YouGov poll suggests that more than 1/4 of people in the UK name the environment among the country's top three priorities. There have been widespread protests across the globe from people urging governments and big energy organisations to do more to tackle climate change. Recent Articles Work for Simple Politics! Should we abolish private schools?