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Climate

Create a climate-resilient and zero-carbon world, powered by renewable energy

Overview

climate march

People around the world are calling on leaders to take action on climate change.

Our world is changing faster than anyone predicted. Already, freshwater supplies are shrinking, agricultural yields are dropping, our forests are burning, and rising oceans are more acidic—all, in part, due to a warming climate. As our natural world changes around us, so does our way of life. Coastal home values drop as insurance premiums rise; drought reduces feed for American farmers’ cattle and water for their crops; more pollen and dust in the air aggravates asthma and allergies in kids and adults alike.

At WWF, we believe we can fight this consequential threat and build a safer, healthier and more resilient future for people and nature. We must rethink the way we produce and consume energy, food, and water; protect the world’s forests; and help people prepare for a changing world.

Achieving this future will require action by everyone, and we are already well on our way. People are using their collective voices to demand change. Businesses are making investments in clean energy, already creating local jobs and stronger economies. Communities are redesigning their roads, buildings, airports, and railroads to make them climate resilient. And nations around the world are committed to deliver on a landmark global plan to curb climate change, known as the Paris Agreement.

For decades, WWF has engaged with millions of Americans, leading businesses, and government leaders to prepare for inevitable change and reduce the emissions that drive climate change.

Madagascar’s ‘solar grandmothers’ lead a renewable revolution

Remeza, Kingeline, Yollande and Hanitra are all part of WWF’s access to sustainable energy program managed in collaboration with India’s Barefoot College. The four women joined women from several other countries for a six-month training in India in applied solar technology. Most women joining the program leave their country, sometimes their native regions or villages, for the first time in their lives.

Women at training at India's Barefoot College

Why It Matters

  • Wildlife

    Climate change is already having a significant impact on wild animals around the globe. Changes in climate are altering the timing of life cycles, causing species to shift where they live, and in some cases even leading to extinction. We can help species adapt to our changing world by ensuring that our own responses to climate change factor in the health and wellbeing of the habitat and resources on which they depend.

  • Front Line Communities

    Climate change imposes heavy burdens on those living nearest to floodplains, shorelines, and polluted city centers. By demanding cuts to dangerous pollution, providing access to green jobs, and spurring economic growth for all Americans, we can begin a fair transition to the economy of the future—one powered by clean and renewable energy. WWF recognizes and supports cities’ transitions toward 100% renewable energy. WWF also works with communities worldwide on environmentally responsible disaster recovery, reconstruction, and risk reduction.

  • Our Security

    In the US and around the world, climate change is destabilizing food production, displacing people in vulnerable countries, and threatening our shorelines with sea level rise and more extreme storms. But we now have a global deal to curb climate change in the years to come: the Paris Agreement. Now, we must work together to turn the promise of that agreement into concrete action. Our collective security, health, and prosperity rest on urgent and collaborative action.

  • Our Economy

    American taxpayers are paying the price for weather disasters, crop failures, and higher insurance rates associated with our warming world. The good news is that America’s leading businesses, along with our city and state leaders, are taking the lead on climate action. They are investing in clean renewable energy and locking in cheaper energy prices—and creating jobs, strong communities, and a more stable climate in the process.

  • Our Fresh Water

    Climate change is altering patterns of weather and water around the world, causing shortages and droughts in some areas and floods in others. These changes will combine to make less water available for agriculture, energy generation, cities and ecosystems around the world. There’s a lot we can do to create a water-secure future, and it starts by learning how much water it takes to make the things in your daily life—from the coffee you drink to the t-shirts you wear. Once you know the water footprint of everyday items, choose wisely and purchase products that have a minimal impact on the places where they come from.

  • Our Oceans

    Both people and wildlife depend on the health of our oceans as a source of sustenance and livelihood. Our oceans absorb most of the warming and carbon pollution occurring today, even more than the atmosphere. Warmer oceans are driving stronger storms and bleaching coral reefs. As oceans absorb carbon dioxide, they become more acidic, threatening most shelled organisms, including small crustaceans fundamental to the marine food chain.

  • Our Arctic

    The Artic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the earth, affecting weather around the globe and threatening the foundation of Arctic ecosystems. Arctic summer sea ice is expected to disappear before mid-century, which will have cascading consequences worldwide. We can help conserve this region by protecting the Artic from offshore development, reducing pollution and accidents, and enhancing ecosystem resilience to climate change.

What WWF Is Doing

To adequately address the climate crisis we must urgently reduce carbon pollution and prepare for the consequences of global warming—which the world is already experiencing—and raise our collective voice for action. Combining global outreach with local expertise, WWF’s focus is on:

Building a Low Carbon USA

WWF believes that strong action on climate change that grows our economy and strengthens our energy security begins with setting ambitious goals. That is why WWF is working with businesses, cities and national governments to set emissions reduction goals aligned what science says is needed. And because that strong low carbon economy needs to be powered by clean and cheap renewable energy, WWF is leading businesses and cities to make it very easy to buy.  With innovative strategies and partnerships WWF is building momentum for a low-carbon economy by:  

  • Helping companies to set and meet science-based targets
  • Urging America’s largest companies use their collective purchasing power to scale up renewable energy and bringing those lessons to help cities do the same.
  • Challenging all US cities to set ambitious goals, transition toward 100% renewable energy and address local climate threats
Group of wind turbines, Selfkant, Germany

Preparing for a Changing World

WWF works with local communities, governments and others around the world to help people and nature prepare for the many impacts of a changing climate. To do this we:

Delivering on the Promise of the Paris Agreement

US Capital Building

In the US and globally, WWF is leveraging its expertise, reach and partnerships to call for urgent and accelerated action on climate from all sectors of society in order to deliver on the ambitious temperature goals of the historic Paris Agreement. WWF is helping accelerate climate action by:

  • Providing financial support to developing countries as an implementing partner of the Global Environment Facility (GEF)
  • Helping transition developing countries to clean energy sources like wind and solar
  • Working with companies and cities to switch to 100% renewable energy and harnessing their purchasing power to drive bigger change
  • Ensuring that ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation are incorporated into national development plans
  • Collaborating with US Latino leaders and communities to raise awareness of climate risks from Latin America to North America
  • Curbing climate pollution from international aviation

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation

Forests are a vital resource for life on earth. They provide invaluable environmental, social and economic benefits to us all. Forests improve air and water quality, reduce soil erosion and act as a buffer against global warming. The forest industry also

Forests are nature’s greatest technology for combating climate change: they naturally absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), reducing the amount of this heat-trapping gas in our atmosphere. When forests are not managed responsibly, they release large quantities of C02 into the atmosphere. Deforestation and degradation are the largest sources of C02 emissions after the burning of fossil fuels. Scientists estimate up to 13% of global carbon emissions come from deforestation.

WWF saves forests and fights climate change by:

  • Supporting REDD+, which offers financial incentives to developing countries that create and implement strategies to manage and use their forests responsibly.
  • Creating multi-million dollar funds to properly manage forests that are designated as protected.
  • Working to end illegal logging.
  • Ensuring that global climate change agreements reduce forest loss and degradation.
  • Helping countries and regions assess the benefits nature provides under different development and climate change scenarios.

Projects

  • Conserving Snow Leopards, Securing Water Resources, and Benefiting Communities

    In October 2012, WWF began a four-year project to conserve snow leopard habitat, promote water security, and help communities prepare for climate change impacts in Central Asia. The USAID-funded, $7.3 million Conservation and Adaptation in Asia’s High Mountain Landscapes and Communities project will conduct field activities in and build alliances among six of the snow leopard’s 12 range countries: Bhutan, India, Nepal, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan. The project will run through September 30, 2016.

  • Hariyo Ban: Mitigating and adapting to climate change in Nepal

    A 10-year program called Hariyo Ban partners with local community groups, government agencies, NGOs and the private sector to build capacity and promote strategic approaches for biodiversity conservation, climate mitigation and adaptation in Nepal.

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Experts