1. Cross-cutting issue I: Introduction
Introduction to climate change and greenhouse gases emissions
In this lecture, we quickly cover the basics of the greenhouse effect and of climate change. It is an introductory lesson meant to be sure that these notions are correctly understood, as they are important to understand the issues around urban climate policies.
What is climate change, and what are the greenhouse gases?
Video presented in the course
CO2 concentration in the atmosphere during one year.
References cited in the course
- Planetary boundaries
- Global and French increases in average temperature
- The famous “warming stripes” graph
- Observed temperature changes everywhere in the world on carbonbrief.org.
- Summary for policy makers of the 6th IPCC report (2021)
- [in French] Chiffres clés du climat, France, Europe et Monde
- Global carbon project for the latest figures about the greenhouse gases emissions and concentration in the atmosphere
- The “spaghetti graph” of all greenhouse gases emissions in the world.
Evolution of greenhouse gases emissions
How much time do we have to act?
Another explanation of the carbon budget:
- The carbon budget clock and its explanation
- For more info: https://carbontracker.org/carbon-budgets-where-are-we-now/
The historical evolution of GHG emissions
This is the course as it was presented in 2020. The slides with updated figures can be found here (but the main messages are still valid today).
The impacty of Covid 19 on emissions
All the figures are coming from the Global Carbon Project.
Who is responsible for climate change?
The figures are coming from the Global Carbon Project, the report “Chiffres clés du climat, France, Europe et Monde”, and the 2021 report of the French High Panel for Climate Change (Haut Conseil pour le Climat).
To know your knowledge level on climate change.
It is recommended that you know what to answer to the following questions, to take the most of the next sessions.
Click to unroll the questions
To know more
- The Global Carbon project references many internet resources on climate change and emissions.
- The EPA website provides a nice introduction to what is climate change and what are greenhouse gases.
- The WRI website and its Climate Watch platform, provides clear explanations about where the emissions come from, and the link with economic activity.
- MIT and NASA websites on climate change provide clear introductory articles and great infographics. So does Imperial College website
- Map of observed temperature changes everywhere in the world on carbonbrief.org.
- The Interactive atlas of the last IPCC report
- Climate Action Tracker (https://climateactiontracker.org/) Here are a few ideas of websites with basic information on climate change (many other exist) :
- Our World in data to get key figures on climate change.