Top 5 truly scary facts about our climate crisis

by Annie Leonard

October 29, 2021

Halloween is here, and some pretty scary things about our climate crisis are weighing on my mind.

Halloween season has me reflecting on fear. Although I am incredibly hopeful for the future of our planet and proud of the activists and changemakers who have fought so hard for so long, there is power in naming those fears. Here are some pretty scary things on our minds.

1. Plastics are a growth area for the dying fossil fuel industry

A new report released by Greenpeace USA reveals that Big Oil companies — think ExxonMobil, Shell, and Chevron — supply the plastic resin or petrochemicals that makes the plastic packaging for companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé.

Greenpeace protests with a plastic-spitting dragon in front of the ‘Our Oceans 2017’ conference-building in Malta.


2. Congress gives billions in taxpayer money to fossil fuel corporations annually

Another thing keeping this zombie industry alive? The U.S. government hands out $15 billion in direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry every year. 

Greenpeace USA activists hand-deliver a 4×8’ taxpayer-funded “150 billion dollar check” to American Petroleum Institute Headquarters to call for an end to fossil fuel subsidies and demand Congress pass the End Polluter Welfare Act.


3. Rainforests signal a worsening of the climate crisis

A decades-long study released in July 2021 shows that parts of the Amazon rainforest are releasing more carbon dioxide than they absorb. The study results suggest that deforestation and fire, among other factors, have dramatically undercut the Amazon’s ability to absorb heat-trapping carbon emissions from the atmosphere.

Fire line moves through a degraded forest area in an undesignated public forest area in Porto Velho, Rondônia state.

4. The Arctic ice is melting rapidly

Scientists studying Arctic sea ice have just announced the last 15 years are the lowest 15 sea ice extents in the satellite record. The Arctic sea ice has already lost two-thirds of its volume and there is a consistent decline in sea ice extent over the past decades.

Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise surrounded by ice floes.

5. The Climate Crisis and its deadly effects are already here

This year’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed what we’ve been saying for years: Climate change is not a future threat. Climate change is happening right now, and it’s getting worse. The IPCC report called this moment a “code red for humanity.”

Greenpeace campaigner Sarah North holds a banner reading “Climate Emergency” whilst floating in front of BP oil rig on day 11 of the protest in the North Sea.

For 50 years, Greenpeace has been preparing for this exact moment. We’ve been building a movement that is better positioned now than ever before to tackle big problems like these. I know that with the passion, resolve, and determination of the millions of Greenpeacers around the world, we can accomplish anything — but we need to act NOW.

I’m hopeful because of you, because of all of us who are in this fight together. I am so excited to see what we can get done together in the next year.

Annie Leonard

By Annie Leonard

Annie Leonard is the co-Executive Director of Greenpeace USA. Leonard began her career at Greenpeace in 1988 and has returned to help the organization inspire and mobilize millions of people to take action to create a more sustainable future together. She is based in San Francisco.

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