Climate Change Quiz, 22 questions – test your knowledge (answers at the end of the quiz)

fossil-fuels-oil-coal-gas-pp-1-728

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

1. We use fossil fuels every day all over the world for essential purposes like cooking, heating, transport and manufacturing. What are fossil fuels? Choose the best answer.

a. coal

b. coal and oil

c. coal, oil and natural gas

d. coal, oil, natural gas and wood

 

2. Why does our use of fossil fuels affect Earth’s climate?

a. fossil fuels are sources of energy and burning energy creates heat

b. burning fossil fuels releases stored carbon into the air as carbon dioxide gas

c. burning fossil fuels produces particulates that pollute the air

d. burning fossil fuels takes vital oxygen out of the atmosphere

 

greenhouse gas

3. The group of gases that cause global warming when they are released into the atmosphere are called greenhouse gases. Why?

a. they allow the sun’s heat to penetrate the atmosphere

b. they absorb infrared radiation from the sun

c. they prevent the sun’s heat from being released back into space

d. all of the above

 

4. Which of these gases is not a greenhouse gas?

a. carbon dioxide

b. water vapour

c. nitrogen

d. methane

 

5. As average global temperatures rise, does the Earth’s climate get wetter or drier? Or does Earth’s climate stay much the same?

a. average precipitation (snow and rainfall) increases

b. average precipitation (snow and rainfall) decreases

c. average precipitation (snow and rainfall) stays about the same

A home and car are stranded after a flash flood in Coal Creek destroyed the bridge near Golden, Colorado September 12, 2013. Flooding in Colorado left two people dead, prompted hundreds to be evacuated, caused building collapses and stranded cars, officials said. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)  dryer climate

 

6. Carbon dioxide gas has been released into Earth’s atmosphere as part of a natural process for centuries. True or false?

a. true

b. false

vehicle-emissions-

7. The release of carbon dioxide and water vapour into the atmosphere are natural processes, so why is burning fossil fuels harmful to Earth’s atmosphere?

a. our use of fossil fuels is causing much larger amounts of carbon dioxide to be present in the atmosphere

b. carbon dioxide traps heat and increases the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere

c. the quantities of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere are upsetting the natural balance that was maintained in the past through the carbon cycle

d. all of the above

 

8. How long does the life cycle of the carbon dioxide gas we release into the atmosphere continue to have an effect on Earth’s temperature?

a. 10 years

b. 50 years

c. 100 years

d. more than 100 years

temperature trend

9. Even what appears to be a small change in average global temperatures is already having an effect on sea levels, on weather patterns around the world, and on the environment. Compared to 1850, how much have average global temperatures already risen?

a. 4°C

b. 2°C

c. 1°C

d. 0.5°C

 

10. 10 out of 11 of the hottest years on record have occurred when? In the last…

a. 100 years

b. 50 years

c. 20 years

d. 15 years

arctic warming

 11. Which part of the world is likely to warm most rapidly due to climate change?

a. the Arctic

b. the Antarctic

c. the tropics

d. Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific

 

12. Why are warmer temperatures predicted to be harmful to our planet?

a. melting ice at the North and South Poles will cause further sea level rise

b. there will be more frequent extreme weather events

c. drought and heat waves will occur more often and be more severe

d. changes in the environment will affect all living things and extinction of more species will be likely to occur

e. all of the above

Jurrasic

13. Earth has been warmer at different periods in its past history than it is today.

a. true

b. false

 

14. In January 2016 a severe winter storm struck the north-eastern part of America. Emergencies were declared in 11 states and 85 million people were affected. Storms like this are evidence that scientists are wrong and Earth’s climate is not getting warmer.

a. true

b. false

icecore

15. How do scientists know how much carbon dioxide was in the atmosphere many centuries ago? By studying…

a. the atmosphere of Earth today

b. ice cores

c. past scientific records

d. soil samples

 

16. What methods do scientists use to compare Earth’s present day average temperature with temperatures in the past? They do this by…

i. observing when plants flower

ii. taking readings from thousands of weather stations all over the world

iii. using satellites and weather balloons to measure temperatures higher in the atmosphere

iv. using ships to measure sea temperatures

v. measuring the width and density of rings in tree trunks

vi. boring deep holes in the earth

vii. analysing ice cores

a. i, ii, iii, iv c. i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi

b. i, ii, iii, iv, v d. i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi, vii

 

17. The highest proportion of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions comes from which sector?

a. agriculture/farming

b. energy/power generation

c. transport

d. industry/manufacturing

e. waste/landfills

Cow-Methane-Pollution_small

NZ plans to greatly increase its dairy exports: stand by for take-off!

18. Almost half New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions (48%) are produced from the farming sector, mainly by sheep, beef and dairy cattle. Which greenhouse gas is produced as part of the digestive process of grazing animals?

a. carbon dioxide

b. methane

c. ozone

d. nitrous oxide

 

19. New Zealand is a small country. However, our carbon footprint is significant. What is New Zealand’s ranking compared to 40 other developed countries in relation to the level of greenhouse gas emissions per person?

a. 5th highest per person

b. 11th highest per person

c. 22nd highest per person

d. 32nd highest per person

 

20. New Zealand’s gross emissions have increased significantly since 1990, despite promises to stabilise and reduce them. The largest percentage increases have been in which sector?

a. transport

b. agriculture

c. electricity

 

emissions trading

21. What is the New Zealand government’s main policy tool to reduce emissions?

a. a $323 million fund to increase home insulation and clean heating

b. a new Centre for Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research

c. incentives for new energy technologies like sustainable biofuels, electric cars and solar water systems

d. an emissions trading scheme buying credits on the international market to offset emissions

 

22. Which of these organisations is the United Nations-based international authority on climate change?

a. IEA

b. ICC

c. IPCC

d. WHO

 

 

ANSWERS

1. We use fossil fuels every day all over the world for essential purposes like cooking, heating, transport and manufacturing. What are fossil fuels? Choose the best answer.

a. coal

b. coal and oil

c. coal, oil and natural gas

d. coal, oil, natural gas and wood

Answer: c. coal, oil and natural gas

Coal, oil and natural gas are called fossil fuels because they are mined from the ground having been formed 300 million years ago, during the Carboniferous Period, long before dinosaurs roamed the Earth. When plants and animals died, their bodies decomposed and were buried under layers of earth. Over millions of years, depending on conditions, heat and pressure transformed them into coal, oil and gas. This is why these fuels, which we have come to depend on so much, are non-renewable resources. Once we use them up they are not replaced.

ocean-acidification-670

One of the consequences. Ocean acidification – farewell to coral reefs.

2. Why does our use of fossil fuels affect Earth’s climate?

a. fossil fuels are sources of energy and burning energy creates heat

b. burning fossil fuels releases stored carbon into the air as carbon dioxide gas

c. burning fossil fuels produces particulates that pollute the air

d. burning fossil fuels takes vital oxygen out of the atmosphere

Answer: b. burning fossil fuels releases stored carbon into the air as carbon dioxide gas

Carbon dioxide gas (CO₂) is having a harmful effect on our climate because, together with a group of other gases, it traps heat from the sun. As a result our planet is getting warmer.

 

3. The group of gases that cause global warming when they are released into the atmosphere are called greenhouse gases. Why?

a. they allow the sun’s heat to penetrate the atmosphere

b. they absorb infrared radiation from the sun

c. they prevent the sun’s heat from being released back into space

d. all of the above

Answer: d. all of the above

Carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases trap the sun’s heat like a greenhouse or glass house. This ability of some gases to trap heat has always been important for our planet. Without it Earth would be a lot colder. Over the past 150 years, however, human activities have increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. As a result global temperatures are rising.

 

4. Which of these gases is not a greenhouse gas?

a. carbon dioxide

b. water vapour

c. nitrogen

d. methane

Answer: c. nitrogen

Nitrogen and oxygen together make up 98% of our atmosphere but neither of these gases absorb or emit infrared radiation as greenhouse gases do.

 

5. As average global temperatures rise, does the Earth’s climate get wetter or drier? Or does Earth’s climate stay much the same?

a. average precipitation (snow and rainfall) increases

b. average precipitation (snow and rainfall) decreases

c. average precipitation (snow and rainfall) stays about the same

Answer: a. average precipitation increases

The simple reason for this is that warmer temperatures lead to more evaporation and hold more moisture in the air in the form of water vapour. This in turn results in more rain or results in heavy snowfalls in colder parts of the world. Scientists predict that in the future we will see more heavy rainfall, more frequent floods and more snow storms. As a greenhouse gas, water vapour has a higher warming potential than carbon dioxide, and it is also present in much bigger quantities. Carbon dioxide and water vapour interact together in the atmosphere to create warmer temperatures. Carbon dioxide traps heat from the sun and warms the atmosphere. This leads to more evaporation and more water vapour in the air, which in turn increases the warming effect on the atmosphere.

cumulative emissions

6. Carbon dioxide gas has been released into Earth’s atmosphere as part of a natural process for centuries. True or false?

a. true

b. false

Answer: true

Carbon is continuously stored, released and replaced in various different forms in a process called the carbon cycle. All living things are made of carbon. Carbon is also part of the ocean, air and even rocks. People and animals give off carbon dioxide when they breathe. Plants use carbon dioxide and sunlight to make their own food and grow. When plants and animals die and decompose the carbon stored in their bodies is released into the atmosphere.

 

7. The release of carbon dioxide and water vapour into the atmosphere are natural processes, so why is burning fossil fuels harmful to Earth’s atmosphere?

a. our use of fossil fuels is causing much larger amounts of carbon dioxide to be present in the atmosphere

b. carbon dioxide traps heat and increases the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere

c. the quantities of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere are upsetting the natural balance that was maintained in the past through the carbon cycle

d. all of the above

Answer: d. all of the above

People first started using fossil fuels on a large scale about 150 years ago when the industrial revolution began. Before about 1850, the carbon cycle was a process that maintained a balance in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Over the last 150 years, the amount of carbon dioxide gas (CO₂) in the atmosphere has increased by almost 30%. That’s why it’s great if you get on your bike or walk to work instead of taking the car!

 

8. How long does the life cycle of the carbon dioxide gas we release into the atmosphere continue to have an effect on Earth’s temperature?

a. 10 years

b. 50 years

c. 100 years

d. more than 100 years

Answer: d. more than 100 years

This is why the actions we take today to reduce our carbon emissions are so important. The carbon dioxide we emit today will still be affecting the temperature on Earth many years from now.

venice sea

Farewell to Venice!

9. Even what appears to be a small change in average global temperatures is already having an effect on sea levels, on weather patterns around the world, and on the environment. Compared to 1850, how much have average global temperatures already risen?

a. 4°C

b. 2°C

c. 1°C

d. 0.5°C

Answer: c. 1°C

Keeping the rise in average global temperatures below 2°C is the target that was set by the 195 countries that took part in the International Conference on Climate Change in Paris in December 2015. This is considered by many scientists to be a limit that will keep the impacts of climate change within our control. However, other scientists disagree that this is a safe limit and would rather see the limit set at 1.5°C. A number of small Pacific island countries, seriously threatened by sea level rise, are also calling for the target to be 1.5°C. Global temperature rise of up to 4°C is possible if we continue to our current level of greenhouse gas emissions.

hottest year 2014

2015 was hotter still

10. Ten out of eleven of the hottest years on record have occurred when? In the last…

a. 100 years

b. 50 years

c. 20 years

d. 15 years

Answer: d. 15 years

Scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in America have records of average global temperatures going back 134 years. The ten hottest years on record have all occurred since 2000 with the exception of 1998. 2015 is now the hottest year on record, having beaten 2014, the previous record holder. 2016 is also expected to be a record-breaking year.

 

11. Which part of the world is likely to warm most rapidly due to climate change?

a. the Arctic

b. the Antarctic

c. the tropics

d. Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific

Answer: a. the Arctic

Over 90% of the increased warming so far created by the impact of greenhouse gases on the atmosphere is estimated to have been absorbed by the ocean. Warming ocean water is melting ice at the North and South Poles. However, while the South Pole is situated on the continent of Antarctica, which is a large landmass, the North Pole is very different. It is situated in the Arctic Circle in the middle of a large ocean. Warmer ocean temperatures are melting more of the sea ice. The reduction in Arctic summer sea ice is having an impact on polar bears.

 

12. Why are warmer temperatures predicted to be harmful to our planet?

a. melting ice at the North and South Poles will cause further sea level rise

b. there will be more frequent extreme weather events

c. drought and heat waves will occur more often and be more severe

d. changes in the environment will affect all living things and extinction of more species will be likely to occur

e. all of the above

Answer: e. all of the above

The negative impacts of climate change will outweigh any possible advantages a warmer climate could bring to some parts of the world. Even a 1 metre sea level rise (predicted to be very likely to occur by 2100 by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) will displace over 150 million people on low lying islands and in coastal cities and communities. Rising temperatures will lead to unpredictable weather patterns which will affect farming and food production. Disappearing glaciers will deprive millions of people in a number of parts of the world of the main source of their water supply.

 

13. Earth has been warmer at different periods in its past history than it is today.

a. true

b. false

Answer: a. true

Global temperatures in the past have exceeded temperatures today, and scientists have found plenty of evidence that sea levels have been higher in the past than they are today also. Past changes in Earth’s climate have taken place over thousands of years, unlike today when we are experiencing very rapid change, happening over just 100 – 200 years. The causes of warming in the past have been different, but these periods have also been accompanied by higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

snowmageddon

14. In January 2016 a severe winter storm struck the north-eastern part of America. Emergencies were declared in 11 states and 85 million people were affected. Storms like this are evidence that scientists are wrong and Earth’s climate is not getting warmer.

a. true

b. false

Answer: b. false

In fact the opposite is the case. An extreme weather event like this is further evidence of the influence of climate change on our weather. Increasing amounts of moisture in the atmosphere will make heavy rainfall and blizzards more likely to occur in many parts of the world. When warm, moisture-laden air is mixed with a cold Arctic outbreak, huge amounts of energy and moisture will be generated. In parts of the world that are normally cold, this will produce snow. Some parts of the world are likely to remain cold in spite of global warming. Some areas may even become colder if sea currents that have traditionally moved warmer waters around the planet are affected by climate change.

 

15. How do scientists know how much carbon dioxide was in the atmosphere many centuries ago? By studying…

a. the atmosphere of Earth today

b. ice cores

c. past scientific records

d. soil samples

Answer: b. ice cores

Ice cores are long cylinders of ice drilled out of glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland. These cores contain tiny bubbles of air from past centuries preserved in the ice. When these atmospheric time capsules are chemically analysed we can find out how greenhouse gas concentrations have changed over thousands of years. This research has shown that until the mid 19th century the concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere had remained relatively stable.

 

16. What methods do scientists use to compare Earth’s present day average temperature with temperatures in the past? They do this by…

i. observing when plants flower

ii. taking readings from thousands of weather stations all over the world

iii. using satellites and weather balloons to measure temperatures higher in the atmosphere

iv. using ships to measure sea temperatures

v. measuring the width and density of rings in tree trunks

vi. boring deep holes in the earth

vii. analysing ice cores

a. i, ii, iii, iv c. i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi

b. i, ii, iii, iv, v d. i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi, vii

Answer: d. all of these methods

The first four methods tell us what Earth’s temperature is today. The other three provide information about Earth’s temperature in the past. Trees add a new layer of wood, which appears as a ring, every year. The fluctuation between wider and narrower rings points to periods of drought, rain, storminess, flood, temperature fluctuation, frost, atmospheric circulation, and seasonal extremes. Massive kauri trees found buried in Northland bogs have yielded some of the world’s oldest tree-ring records, dating back up to 60,000 years, being studied by NIWA. Boreholes in the ground can be used to measure a thermal ‘imprint’ of temperatures from the past. The chemical composition of ice can also provide information about temperature in the past.

Greenhouse-gas-emissions

 

17. The highest proportion of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions comes from which sector?

a. agriculture/farming

b. energy/power generation

c. transport

d. industry/manufacturing

e. waste/landfills

Answer: a. agriculture/farming

Agriculture accounts for approximately  47 – 48% of our greenhouse gas emissions.’

 

18. Almost half New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions (48%) are produced from the farming sector, mainly by sheep, beef and dairy cattle. Which greenhouse gas is produced as part of the digestive process of grazing animals?

a. carbon dioxide

b. methane

c. ozone

d. nitrous oxide

Answer: b. methane

Methane is the second most common greenhouse gas produced by human activities, mainly from agriculture, but also from landfills and wastewater systems. Methane is also the main component of natural gas. It has a much shorter life cycle than carbon dioxide, but it is more efficient at trapping radiation, and over a 100 year period its impact on climate change is more than 25 times greater. Methane emissions make a significant contribution to global warming.

emissions-comparisons-chart

19. New Zealand is a small country. However, our carbon footprint is significant. What is New Zealand’s ranking compared to 40 other developed countries in relation to the level of greenhouse gas emissions per person?

a. 5th highest per person

b. 11th highest per person

c. 22nd highest per person

d. 32nd highest per person

Answer: a. 5th

Our high level of per capita emissions is largely due to the reliance of our economy on agriculture. Our level of greenhouse gas emissions per head of population (17.2 tonnes per person) places us ahead of countries like Japan, the UK, and China. Compared globally, New Zealand’s ranking for per capita emissions is 11th.The New Zealand government is spending millions of dollars on research into methods of reducing emissions from agriculture. So far, research indicates small reductions may be able to be made on these emissions in the future. If New Zealand is to contribute to the global effort to reduce emissions, our dependence on agriculture presents a challenge, and reductions we can make in other sectors are vitally important.

nz emissions growth

20. New Zealand’s gross emissions have increased significantly since 1990, despite promises to stabilise and reduce them. The largest percentage increases have been in which sector?

a. transport

b. agriculture

c. electricity

Answer: c. electricity

Electricity emissions have increased 91%, transport 70%, agriculture 12%. These are areas where most of us can make a change by using electricity efficiently, by biking or walking when possible, and by using public transport.

 

21. What is the New Zealand government’s main policy tool to reduce emissions?

a. a $323 million fund to increase home insulation and clean heating

b. a new Centre for Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research

c. incentives for new energy technologies like sustainable biofuels, electric cars and solar water systems

d. an emissions trading scheme buying credits on the international market to offset emissions

Answer: d. an emissions trading scheme buying credits on the international market to offset emissions

An emissions target is a stated intention to meet a particular level of reduction in emissions within a set period – for example, by 2020, or by 2050. It can be met by reducing emissions to that level, but it can also be met by storing carbon in forests or by purchasing units to offset emissions. These units can be obtained from other countries which reduce their emissions below their target levels or from projects in developing countries that reduce emissions.

consequences

The IPCC’s view of consequences if we continue on present track.

22. Which of these organisations is the United Nations-based international authority on climate change?

a. IEA

b. ICC

c. IPCC

d. WHO

Answer: c. IPCC

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was set up in 1988 at the request of United Nations member countries. Its current membership is 195 countries. The UNIPCC is the internationally accepted leading authority on climate change. The organisation does not carry out its own research, instead it reports on the work of thousands of scientists and other experts. All research is subjected to careful assessment before it is accepted. In 2014 the UNIPCC published the results of its most recent findings in its 5th Assessment Report. The UNIPCC reports are used as the basis for a lot of the information that is currently available on climate change.

IEA – International Energy Agency (also has informative things to say about climate change)

ICC – International Criminal Court

WHO – World Health Organisation

 

 

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