Transcript has been edited for clarity
Hi, I'm Catherine Osborn, manager of sustainability strategy at ENGIE Impact. In this video on the Fundamentals of Corporate Decarbonization series, I'm going to cover climate science basics and a quick overview of climate scenario modeling. These concepts are foundational to understanding decarbonization and may help you navigate conversations around climate change more easily.
Carbon emissions and greenhouse gases are key concepts in the field of climate science. To break it down, carbon emissions are caused by human activities like burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial processes. These activities release significant amounts of carbon dioxide, a primary greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere, leading to a rise in the planet's temperature. This phenomenon is known as the greenhouse effect. You can imagine it like a blanket surrounding the earth, preventing some of the energy received from the sun from escaping back into space. This temperature rise is commonly referred to as global warming and represents one of the most significant environmental challenges we face today.
When it comes to predicting future warming, climate scientists use observational data and computer models. Climate scenario modeling considers current and past temperature records to project future temperature changes and their impacts. These projections are crucial for decision-makers as they provide insights into the potential future of our planet if emissions continue to rise. In the climate debate, a crucial threshold is the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit. Scientists believe that surpassing this limit will result in catastrophic consequences, so we must not let the planet's temperature rise beyond this point.
I hope this explanation helps clarify the science behind carbon emissions, greenhouse gases, and scenario modeling. For more on decarbonization fundamentals, see the other videos in our series.
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