What climate change is

Learn the terms used for climate change.

What is climate change?

Climate change is the term used to describe changes to the planet’s weather patterns and average temperatures. 

What are carbon emissions?

Burning fossil fuels like gas, coal and oil produces energy, but also releases gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous monoxide into the air - these are called carbon emissions.

Once they're in the atmosphere, they form a blanket around the planet. This traps the heat from the sun and causes the earth to get hotter.

Carbon emissions have to be reported to the government under three categories:

  • scope 1 - this one means emissions that a company or organisation makes directly, like fuel burnt from running vehicles 
  • scope 2 - this one means emissions that are caused indirectly from energy bought and used, like electricity produced from an electric vehicle
  • scope 3 - these are not produced by an organisation or company themselves, but indirectly as a consequence, like emissions released by people using a product

What is net zero?

Net zero means carbon emissions are at - or as close as possible to - zero. We've committed to meeting net zero in our council services and buildings by 2030.