What is climate change

Climate is the average weather in a place over many years. Climate change is a shift in those average conditions.

The rapid climate change we are now experiencing in the UK and around the world is caused by people burning oil, gas and coal for heat and energy in homes, industry and transport.

Oil, gas and coal are known as 'fossil fuels' - carbon-rich materials formed from decomposed living organisms that died millions of years ago. When fossil fuels are burned, they release greenhouse gases (mostly carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere, trapping the Sun's heat and causing world temperatures to rise.

The world is now about 1.2ºC warmer than it was in the 19th Century and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by 50%.

What’s the difference between weather and climate?

Visit the Met Office for further information and to learn about the difference between weather and climate change. 


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will host the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) from Thursday 30 November to Tuesday 12 December 2023 at Expo City Dubai.

It aims to unite the world towards agreement on bold, practical and ambitious solutions to the most pressing global challenge of our time.

What happened at COP26?

The UK hosted the 26th UN Climate COP26, in Glasgow during November 2021.

On 13 November 2021, COP26 concluded with all countries agreeing the Glasgow Climate Pact to keep 1.5°C alive and finalise the outstanding element of the Paris Agreement.