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 Pacific Islanders will lead the fight against climate change

Blog entry by Joeteshna Zenos | 4 August, 2016 1 comment

Most of us know the story of coal miners and their caged canaries. When my seven-year-old daughter heard it, she was sad that the canaries had to give up their lives to warn the miners to get out. She asked me if miners still use...

Five reasons why CEOs of fossil fuel giants must answer to the Filipino people

Blog entry by Jennifer Morgan | 28 July, 2016

For the first time ever, a national human rights body has ordered the world's largest fossil fuel companies to respond to allegations that they have contributed to human rights abuses in the Philippines. Last year, disaster survivors...

#WorldOnFire: Forest-fire smog has no borders

Blog entry by Khalimat Tekeeva | 28 July, 2016 3 comments

The vast, lush, green of Siberia’s forests is black and smouldering. The fires rage on, already scorching an area the size of Belgium, Luxembourg and The Netherlands combined - seven million hectares. I can see the haze 4500km away...

World’s largest carbon producers ordered to respond to allegations of human rights...

Press release | 27 July, 2016 at 4:50

Manila, 27 July 2016 - Companies responsible for the majority of fossil fuel products that have been manufactured, marketed, and sold since the industrial revolution and have contributed the lion’s share of cumulative global emissions of...

Fire Then and Now

Blog entry by Rex Weyler | 12 July, 2016

Fire is the fundamental human technology, the foundation of everything that came after in human societies. Controlled fire transformed our diet, physiology, psychology, language, social structure, technologies, and our relationship to...

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