Climate change: Where we are and what we can do

Climate change: Where we are in seven charts

Representatives from nearly 200 countries are gathering in Poland for talks on climate change – aimed at breathing new life into the Paris Agreement. The UN has warned the 2015 Paris accord’s goal of limiting global warming to “well below 2C above pre-industrial levels” is in danger because major economies, including the US and the EU, are falling short of their pledges.

The biggest emitters are China, the US, India and Russia

The countries emitting the most greenhouse gases by quite a long way are China and the US. Together they account for more than 60% of the global total, according to 2017 data from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

We can all do things to helpWhile governments need to make big changes – individuals can play a role too. Scientists say we all have to make “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes” to our lifestyles, in order to avoid severely damaging climate change.The IPCC says we need to: buy less meat, milk, cheese and butter; eat more locally sourced seasonal food – and throw less of it away; drive electric cars but walk or cycle short distances; take trains and buses instead of planes; use videoconferencing instead of business travel; use a washing line instead of a tumble dryer; insulate homes; demand low carbon in every consumer product.The single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet is to modify your diet to include less meat – according to recent studies.

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