Very briefly, man-made climate change is caused by the release of certain gasses into the atmosphere, mostly from burning fossil fuels and agriculture. These gasses include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide. The shorthand term ‘CO2 equivalent’ (CO2e) is used to describe all these gases together. The build-up of these gasses is causing the planet to become warmer and the climate to become more unstable and unpredictable.
Even if emissions are fully stabilised, climate change and its effects will last for many years to come. These effects will be different everywhere, but are likely to include hotter summers, more droughts, more frequent wildfires, more extreme wind events (hurricanes, cyclones, gales, typhoons), sea level rise and intense periods of rainfall leading to floods.
This will make life generally less comfortable for everyone, and will cause periodic life changing (even life ending) weather events for many people. The number of homes and farms affected by flood, wildfire, wind and drought is steadily increasing. By being aware of the nature of these threats at a local level, and taking action well in advance, their impact can be reduced.