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Hardly a day passes without a climate change story in the media. Terms like ‘climate change’, ‘global warming’ and ‘carbon emissions’ are often used, but are they used accurately?
There are no easy answers to climate change, but exploring the issues will help us to understand its causes and effects, and help us to make decisions for ourselves.
Although the immediate effects of climate change may be very different depending on where you live, the wider effects are global in scale. We all live on the same planet, with the same atmosphere, the same oceans and the same climate. We are all therefore affected in some way by any changes taking place.
Changes in climate will affect temperatures, and water availability. The difficulty is predicting exactly what these changes and their effects will be.
The possible impact on the production of food is one example. Foods such as wheat, rice, sugar, tea and coffee are grown and processed in different places around the world. They are traded daily in enormous quantities. Any changes in the climate could therefore have dramatic consequences for both those producing the food and those consuming it.
Of course the impacts may not always be bad. While some areas may become less suitable for growing some foods, perhaps other areas become better suited. North America for example, produces large quantities of grain such as wheat. It is predicted that, as the climate changes, the area suited to growing grain will move northwards into Canada. This would mean more land available to grow grain.