Climate change is now widely recognized as the major environmental problem facing the globe. The phrase “climate change” is becoming the preferred phrase instead of “global warming” because it helps convey that there are climate changes in addition to rising temperatures. The average pattern of weather usually stays pretty stable for hundreds of years if it is left to itself. However people are taking actions that can change the earth and its climate in significant ways. The human activity that is having the largest impact on the climate is the burning of "fossil fuels" such as coal, oil and gas. These fuels contain carbon which is released in to the atmosphere when burnt for energy. Certain gases, especially CO2, absorb solar radiation that would otherwise be dissipated back into space, these gases then radiate heat back to the earth. The more of these gases in the atmosphere, the more energy radiated back to earth. The higher the percentage
of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the greater the amount of the sun's energy that is trapped on earth. Since the early 1800s, when people began burning large amounts of coal and oil, the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere has increased by nearly 30%, and average global temperature appears to have risen significantly affecting the weather and climate patterns. As a result rising sea levels threaten our shorelines, increased storm surges and extreme wind events become matters of concern. Declining soil moisture will mean lost agricultural productivity and more frequent droughts, pests, and forest fires. As if the current situation faced by the globe due to climate change is not bad enough, Africa is expected to be hit hardest even though she is least responsible for climate change.