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


Greenpeace urges G20 governments to bring Paris Agreement into force this year

Press release | 5 September, 2016 at 13:47

Beijing, 5 September 2016 - The Hangzhou G20 communique issued today brings climate change to the center stage of the global political agenda and sends a strong signal for all nations to join the Paris Agreement as soon as possible. Greenpeace...

World’s two largest carbon emitters, China and US, formally join Paris Agreement

Press release | 3 September, 2016 at 12:40

Beijing, 3 September 2016 - The world’s two largest carbon emitters, China and the United States, today announced they have formally joined the Paris Agreement in a major step to bring it into force and start what must be far more ambitious...

Rainbow Warrior in Lebanon to launch solar unity campaign in Mediterranean

Press release | 27 August, 2016 at 13:52

Beirut, 27 August 2016 – The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior is today in the Port of Beirut for the first time in history to host a press conference and launch the “Sun unites us” Mediterranean tour which will highlight the massive potential for...

My Arctic Home

Blog entry by Clara Natanine | 25 August, 2016 2 comments

I live in Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River) in the Canadian Arctic. Most people have never heard of my town. It's 450km north of the Arctic Circle with a population of roughly 1,000. We are isolated from much of the world, but we feel very...

Thanks Rio! The (climate) winners and losers of the Olympic Games

Blog entry by Shuk-Wah Chung | 22 August, 2016

We’ve watched them soar, sprint and swim. For two weeks the world has been gripped by the Games – we’ve celebrated the Gold wins, been perplexed by ultra-human feats and admired the tests of strength and endurance. And next month we’ll...

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