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Global climate change will affect how much energy we need and when we need it. As temperatures rise, more people will need to keep cool by using air conditioning, which uses a lot of electricity. However, some people might need less energy to heat buildings in the winter because it may not get as cold as it used to be. Climate change could also make it harder to produce certain types of electricity, such as hydropower.

What's at stake?


Dam in mountainsideAs climate change causes precipitation patterns to shift, some areas that currently have plenty of water to make hydropower, such as northern California, might not have enough water in the future. Without enough water to produce electricity, these areas could experience power shortages and blackouts. They might have to use other energy sources to make more of the electricity they need, and if these sources are fossil fuels like coal, oil, or natural gas, more greenhouse gases will be added to the atmosphere.

  • What can people do about it?
    If climate change begins to affect hydropower production, people can adapt by using less energy, using energy in more efficient ways, or finding other clean energy sources.

What's at stake?

Air Conditioning

Apartment complex with air conditionersClimate change will lead to more hot days and more heat waves. As a result, people will need to use more air conditioning to stay cool. As people use more air conditioning, electricity shortages and blackouts could increase. Because most electricity is currently produced by burning fossil fuels, using more electricity to run air conditioners will also add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

  • What can people do about it?
    People can plant trees near offices and homes to provide shade and keep them cool naturally. They can also use fans instead of air conditioners when it's not too hot. When air conditioning is needed, people can save energy by setting the thermostat a few degrees warmer. When buying a new air conditioner, people can choose energy–efficient models.

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