Tackling climate change
The continuing growth of greenhouse gas emissions could result in devastating consequences for people and nature.
Addressing climate change is central to the delivery of WWF’s two metagoals on protecting biodiversity and reducing humanity’s ecological footprint. Unless we stop average global temperatures from rising more than 2°C above the level recorded in pre-industrial times, we face a high risk of severe and irreversible changes in the planet’s natural systems. The consequences of changing weather patterns, warming seas and melting ice will be devastating for people and nature.
What is the problem?
More than 1 in 3 people polled in Wales believe climate change will cause problems in their lifetime and 70 per cent view it as a real threat.
There is no longer any doubt that the main cause of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels, which releases carbon dioxide (CO2) and other 'greenhouse' gases into the atmosphere. Without urgent action, climate change will devastate life on Earth.
Hundreds of millions of people, particularly the world's poorest and most vulnerable, will be put at severe risk of drought, floods, starvation, and disease. By the middle of the century up to one third of land-based species could face extinction. The damage has already begun. There is no more time to lose.
In England and Wales, 5 million people already live in flood-risk areas and about 12 per cent of farmland and a quarter of industrial sites are at risk. If we don't do anything to tackle climate change, Wales is at increased risk of the following:
- more frequent storms
- a rise in sea-level
- increased rainfall and greater inflow to estuaries and the sea
- wetter winters (up to 20 per cent increase by 2080s)
- drier summers (by up to 40 per cent by 2080s)
- increased likelihood of drought and water shortage
- loss in soil moisture, especially in summer
- The combined effects of increased sea-level rises and greater storm surges has the potential to increase risk of floods in 2080 by up to 30 times present levels.