Negative effects of climate change

A stable climate is a vital foundation for all life on Earth — but our climate is now changing dangerously fast, with widespread and harmful effects on people and the wild places we love. Melting ice sheets and glaciers are adding to sea level rise, putting millions at risk. Heatwaves, droughts and fires are becoming more ferocious.

We can't wait any longer. It's time to break our remaining ties to the polluting energy systems responsible for these climate change impacts, and shift to the 100 percent renewable energy future we all want.

Glaciers and polar ice are melting

As the climate warms, glaciers are melting. Yet millions of people depend on the planet's 190,000 glaciers to supply water in dry seasons. Arctic sea ice is melting rapidly, a process that further speeds up climate change. On the West Antarctic Peninsula, massive ice shelves have crumbled into the ocean.

Sea levels are rising, faster

As glaciers and land-based ice sheets melt, they contribute to sea level rise. This increases flood risk for millions of people on coasts, where populations and cities are growing fast.  Sea levels could rise by a meter by the end of this century if we don't reign in emissions. For people of small islands and low-lying coastal areas, sea level rise is already a harsh reality.

Ramped up droughts, floods and other extreme weather

More extreme droughts, tropical cyclones, forest fires, and intense rainfall are projected for our warming climate. Many types of extreme weather are already getting worse. Each day we delay action means more damage to lives, economies and ecosystems.

Climate change ecosystem and extinction threats

From tropical mountain cloud forests to polar pack ice, we must protect the ecosystems that enrich our lives with beauty and adventure. But climate change is already causing widespread harm to polar life, coral reefs and other unique and vulnerable ecosystems. Extinctions will ramp up unless we act.

Air pollution is worse with climate change

Air pollution — already a silent and serious killer — is set to become worse still under climate change. Yet we can fight both air pollution and climate change with the shift to 100 percent renewable energy, a hugely important double win for the health of people and our planet.

What is Greenpeace doing?

Greenpeace is driving the urgent shift away from the polluting, dangerous energy systems. We're working to accelerate the leap to a bright new future built on 100 percent safe, clean energy from the sunwind, water and earth.

We believe it's time to hold big carbon polluters to account. We're also working to stop the flow of money to these dirty and destructive fossil fuel industries. Instead, we want to make the finance industry a lever for positive change.

And because healthy oceans can better fight many impacts of climate change, Greenpeace is calling for a network of ocean sanctuaries in the North Pole and around the globe.

What can you do?

  • Find out what Greenpeace is doing to fight climate change where you live.

  • Join our Save the Arctic movement and help Greenpeace make a stand for Arctic protection.

  • Support Greenpeace's work to create a global network of ocean sanctuaries

  • Climate change is a global problem, but you can still take important steps to tackle it in your daily life. Choose your own solutions to suit your lifestyle and your home.

The latest updates

 

Why are women more impacted by climate change?

Blog entry by Ghalia Fayad | 13 April, 2017 1 comment

Women are more likely to feel the impacts of climate change. This is a fact . As a woman and environmental activist living in the Arab World, I often find myself focused on peace building, development, corruption and human security...

The resistance against fossil fuels is winning. Here’s the proof.

Blog entry by Agustin Maggio | 5 April, 2017 2 comments

When we launched the call for the second Break Free from fossil fuels campaign, we were, of course, hoping to grow the coalition and increase the number of peaceful protests against the dirty energy industries. What we did not expect...

We surge ahead: Tens of thousands take peaceful action against fossil fuels

Press release | 3 April, 2017 at 11:06

Amsterdam, 3 April 2017 - With more than 170 peaceful protests, marches and festivals in over 60 countries around the world, the growing movement to Break Free from fossil fuels shows it is tireless, unified and unstoppable.

Activists stop construction at Southeast Asia’s biggest planned coal plant

Press release | 30 March, 2017 at 12:38

Jakarta, 30 March 2017 - Activists today brought construction to a standstill for 13 hours at what will be the largest coal power plant in Southeast Asia. The activists are demanding the Indonesian government cancel the Batang coal power plant...

Hundreds create aerial art to stand up to fossil fuels and protect the Amazon Reef

Press release | 29 March, 2017 at 21:10

Rio de Janeiro, 29 March 2017 - More than five hundred people joined together to form the messages “Defenda os Corais da Amazônia” and “Petróleo Não” (“Defend the Amazon Reef” and “No Oil”, in English) around a huge butterfly fish on the sands of...

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