Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. Now is the moment to act.
We can see the impacts of the climate crisis today in mounting cases of respiratory and insect-borne diseases, increasing extreme and unpredictable weather events, and disappearing wildlife. Rising temperatures are threatening food production around the world, contributing to the growing refugee crisis and disproportionately impacting poor and marginalized communities.
As the climate crisis intensifies, so will the effects on human wellbeing. While these challenges are daunting, there is time left to win the battle against climate change. Learn more about opportunities for impact here.
Eighteen of the last 19 years were the hottest in recorded history. Changing temperatures and precipitation will lead to a reduction in global food production. Yields of wheat, rice, soybean and maize—crops that feed two-thirds of the world’s population—are projected to plummet.
As Earth’s ability to produce crops is weakened, a growing population will demand more than twice as much food, exacerbating malnutrition, food security issues and economic losses for vulnerable populations worldwide.
Air pollution is the leading environmental cause of premature death today, killing more than 7 million people every year. These impacts are concentrated in the poorest communities and countries around the world and will only worsen with climate change.
Meanwhile, higher temperatures are shifting disease-carrying insects into cooler northern climates and increasing the risk for diseases like dengue fever, West Nile virus, chikungunya and Lyme disease.
In 2018, the global losses from weather-related natural disasters were $215 billion. In August 2018, Kerala, India, experienced its worst flood in nearly a century leading to 1,424 deaths and $5.1 billion in economic losses. The land area burnt by wildfires in the U.S. has more than doubled in the past 50 years; within the past 10 years, the number of wildfires across Europe has increased by 43%.
By 2050, 143 million people, primarily from Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America, will lose their homes to extreme weather events and rising sea-levels. In the U.S., the number of coastal communities battling chronic flooding is expected to nearly double to 170 in less than 20 years.
Biodiversity is critical to the global ecosystem that allows humans and natural systems to thrive. Between 1970 and 2010 the planet lost more than half of its biodiversity, and scientists believe the sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is underway.
More than 1 million of the 8 million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction. Of great concern are coral reefs, which are home to one quarter of all ocean life and have been made highly uninhabitable due to ocean acidification.
In 2019, the United Nations recognized climate change as a “threat multiplier” and warned that it is “a threat to international peace and security.” Climate change is causing devastating health effects, property damage and displaced communities and creating a resource-starved world that will see more violent conflict, civil war and refugees. Projections show that by 2050, up to 250 million people will be displaced by rising sea levels, floods, famine, drought, hurricanes, desertification and devastated ecosystems.
Climate change is an environmental, social and economic issue, affecting nearly every facet of human life. Through coordinated, strategic giving, donors can have a meaningful impact on turning the tide. Learn about opportunities for impact here.