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

 

The Anthropocene Debate

Blog entry by Rex Weyler | 9 December, 2016

“A hushed hundred million years from now, all that we consider to be the great works of man – the sculptures and the libraries, the monuments and the museums, the cities and the factories – will all be compressed into a layer of...

So long as there’s climate change, every day is human rights day

Blog entry by Yeb Sano | 9 December, 2016

When I decided to embark with others on a 1500 km, 60-day pilgrimage from Rome to Paris, culminating at the COP21 climate talks in 2015, the urgency I felt wasn’t just scientific or political, it was also very personal. After so many...

Ladies and gentlemen, meet The Great Northern Forest

Blog entry by Juha Aromaa | 5 December, 2016

The Great Northern Forest has many names. Scientists see The Great Northern Forest as the boreal forest ecosystem - the global coniferous forest blanketing the northern hemisphere. The Russians traditionally call it “Taiga”. If you...

Where is the hope?

Blog entry by Rex Weyler | 30 November, 2016 1 comment

I’m not sure we can win with logic.  How do we reverse species loss, climate change, toxins, general overshoot of Earth’s generous habitats? We have the science, but humanity at the large scale does not appear to have the political...

Four ways our forests must be part of the climate conversation

Blog entry by Jannes Stoppel | 30 November, 2016 2 comments

On a warming planet, forests hold the key to stopping climate change. Forest landscapes and agricultural areas can absorb emissions like a sponge. They take carbon dioxide from the air through photosynthesis, and store it in wood and...

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