ABSTRACT

Climate change is an environmental problem that is very different from the more traditional areas of pollution, such as water, waste or air quality. Greenhouse gas emissions do not have a direct impact on human health: they are not visible and do not smell. Moreover, climate change is a truly global environmental problem, as it does not matter at all where greenhouse gases are emitted – they have the same impact. Such greenhouse gas emissions are predominantly related to the use of fossil fuels that have been massively used since the Industrial Revolution that started in Europe in the late eighteenth century, mostly coal and later oil and gas. In the light of emerging uncertainties in the early 1980s, one of the most important decisions at the international level was to create in 1988 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a forum for the world's scientists to come forward with a consensual view on what climate science can say.