This brochure was prepared by researchers
at Carnegie Mellon University to explain
the issue of global warming and climate change. The key points are covered
in the three parts that follow:
The issue at a glance...
- Burning coal, oil and natural gas releases carbon dioxide gas into
the atmosphere. On average, this may warm the earth and change the climate
in other ways. For example, it might change the severity and duration
of storms or droughts.
- Other human activities, such as cutting down forests, and growing
rice, and raising cattle, may have the same effect, but are less important.
- If the climate changes heating, cooling, water use, and sea level
will be affected. In wealthy countries, the average cost would probably
be small, although some people and regions might have high costs and
others might receive large benefits. In some poor countries, the cost
could be very high.
- A large or fast change in climate will have a big effect on plants
and animals in the natural environment.
- Very rapid climate change is unlikely, but could be disastrous, even
for wealthy countries.
- We could reduce the rate at which we add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere
by burning less coal, oil and natural gas.
- If climate changes, we could adapt by changing agriculture and other
human activities. Many plants and animals in the natural environment
might be unable to adapt.
- If warming is large and costly, some people might want to make changes
to the atmosphere or oceans in order to cool the earth. This is very
The three sections linked from this summary tell you more about the climate
change issue. You can find even more information in the "details booklets"
found via the links in each section. A glossary, that defines words, and a list of additional
readings are in the back of Details Booklet Part 3.
This brochure was written by a group in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at
Carnegie Mellon University. More information about the authors.
To obtain one or more print copies of the Brochure
Carnegie Mellon University
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and send to the address indicated above. Thank you.
Department of Engineering and Public Policy
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
ATTN: Climate Brochure
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Copyright 1994. This material may be reproduced
for free distribution. It may not be reproduced for sale in any form without
the written permission of the authors.