Climate change is perhaps the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced.
It affects every corner of our planet – from the poles to the tropics, and from the mountains to the oceans. People and nature worldwide are already feeling the effects: water supplies are shrinking, extreme weather events increasing in frequency and intensity, forests burning, and coral reefs dying.
Governments and communities are coming together to act – and we can still escape the worst impacts of climate change, and build a safer future for all.
But we need to do more, and faster. Most importantly, we need to step up efforts to switch from using fossil fuels – the biggest cause of climate change – to clean, renewable energy. And we need to help people and nature adapt to the inevitable changes ahead.
'Manmade climate change is real, it’s happening now, and it’s among the greatest challenges we face on planet Earth.'
Since the industrial revolution, human actions have caused average global temperatures to rise by almost 1°C. Levels of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are higher than they have been at any point in human existence and are still increasing. Over the coming decades, global temperatures will continue to rise. But we don’t yet know how much and how fast will they rise.
Scientists warn that 1.5°C of warming will likely have catastrophic impacts. Extreme weather events – from floods and storms, to droughts and heatwaves – bringing huge social and economic costs. Melting ice causing sea levels to rise, flooding coastal cities and whole island nations. Water scarcity and crop failures causing food shortages and unprecedented movements of people within countries and across national borders. Huge, irreversible damage to nature, potentially leading to mass extinctions.
And this could happen within a human lifespan, leaving our children and grandchildren to cope with the results.
The global consensus on the need for climate action is strong and continues to grow. The shift away from fossil fuels has already begun.
We have the technology to provide everyone on Earth with clean, renewable energy. And together, we can create a fossil-free future − and give ourselves the best chance of averting climate catastrophe. We’ll enjoy cleaner air. We’ll protect the vital habitats of plants and animals currently threatened by oil and gas developments. And we’ll help steer our cities towards low-carbon development.
Protecting and restoring forests, and producing and consuming food more sustainably, will also make a major contribution – while helping reverse the loss of nature at the same time.
We can also prepare for the impacts that will result from climate change – and help people and nature adapt to a warming world.
Tackling climate change involves every single one of us – and WWF is at the heart of the global movement for a low-carbon, climate-resilient future. We remain calm and positive but also realistic about the huge global effort required to meet the challenge.
We’re pushing governments to set ambitious policies that favour climate-resilient, low-carbon development, energy efficiency, and clean renewable energy for all – and holding them to account. We’re working with finance institutions to get money out of fossil fuels and into climate solutions, like clean technology and forest restoration. And we’re supporting businesses to cut their carbon emissions on a scale never seen before.
At the same time, we’re working to reduce the impact of climate change in areas like agriculture, forests and water. And we’re helping people and nature from the Arctic to Antarctica adapt to the changes ahead.
OUR GLOBAL GOAL
By 2030, an equitable and just transition is underway that limits warming to 1.5°C, protects people and nature, and builds a climate resilient future.