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In June 2007, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published the three-part UN Climate Report, on which some 2,500 researchers from 124 countries had worked for years. It is based on about 40 computer simulations. For the first time, agreement was reached on a formulation according to which humans are to blame for climate change (although this is still disputed in some places to this day). The highly developed countries are responsible for the heating of the atmosphere (global warming) and the "export" of the effects. The main causes are rapid population growth, increasing consumption of fossil fuels, deforestation and urbanisation.

Causes and general impacts

The relentless burning of fossil fuels such as petrol, oil or coal produces huge amounts of additional carbon dioxide, which causes the so-called greenhouse effect. It is contained in the earth's atmosphere as a trace gas with a volume share of about 0.038%. This share, which at first glance appears to be extremely small, is repeatedly and incorrectly used by sceptics as an argument that the (human) contribution in the air is so small that it does not influence the climate. The basic assumption is that only a small amount has a small effect. But this is not the case. In many regions of the world, a decrease in the number of frosty days and an increase in the number of days with extremely high temperatures have been observed in recent decades. This was particularly the case in central and northern Europe, the USA, Canada, China, Australia and New Zealand. In the middle and northern latitudes, especially in the northern hemisphere, the frequency of heavy precipitation increased significantly in the second half of the 20th century. In contrast, in some regions of Africa and Asia there are increasingly frequent severe droughts, as well as desertification.

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Hans-Georg Schwarz

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Hans-Georg Schwarz
Ehrenobmann der Domäne Wachau (Wachau)

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