Learn About the Climate Crisis

Climate change is a reality, and we’re experiencing its impacts now. 

Two firefighters in the forefront surrounded by trees, with a blazing red forest fire behind them

The Fairview Fire in California, September 2022


California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)

The decade between 2010 and 2019 was hotter than any other decade in the previous 1,300 years. Increased temperatures bring more frequent and more intense weather-related disasters. 

Humans are the lead drivers of climate change, but the power to reverse this worrying trend lies with us as well. To avoid the most dangerous impacts, we must act immediately to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. We already have the tools we need to meet this goal and improve people’s lives—through new clean energy jobs, better health, and long-overdue justice for communities of color that are already the hardest hit by climate change. 

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What Is Climate Change?

Climate change is generally defined as a significant variation of average weather conditions—say, conditions becoming warmer, wetter, or drier—over several decades or more. It’s the longer-term trend that differentiates climate change from natural weather variability.


The percentage rise of the atmosphere’s share of carbon dioxide since preindustrial times


The additional number of deaths expected per year between 2030 and 2050 due to climate change

The amount of all animal and plant species that could face extinction by 2070 due to climate change


The mechanics of the earth’s climate system are simple. When energy from the sun is reflected off the earth and back into space (mostly by clouds and ice), or when the earth’s atmosphere releases energy, the planet cools. When the earth absorbs the sun’s energy, or when atmospheric gases prevent heat released by the earth from radiating into space (the greenhouse effect), the planet warms. A variety of factors, both natural and human, can influence the earth’s climate system.

4.6 metric tons

The amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a typical passenger vehicle every year


The percentage of electricity used in the United States that comes from burning fossil fuels


The number of defunct oil and gas wells in the United States, responsible for emitting more than 280,000 metric tons of methane in 2018

A view of children playing in a flooded building without a roof and windows after Cyclone Pam in Tanna, Vanatu

A school damaged by Cyclone Pam in Tanna, Vanuatu, December 2019


Mario Tama/Getty Images


Climate change affects everything, from the places we live to the water we drink to the air we breathe. And although it affects everyone in some way, its most negative impacts are disproportionately felt by women, children, people of color, Indigenous communities, and the economically marginalized. Climate change is a human rights issue.


The percentage increase of the annual area burned by wildfires in California between 1972 and 2018

Up to 3.61 ft

The predicted amount of sea level rise by the end of the century, should we fail to curb emissions

15 years

The number of years left before the Arctic could be entirely ice-free in the summer


We now know exactly what it will take to win the fight against climate change, and we’re making measurable, meaningful progress. Game-changing developments in clean energy, electric vehicle technology, and energy efficiency are emerging every single day.


The amount of carbon found in the world's soil that is held by freshwater wetlands 


The percentage of U.S. electricity that could be made up by wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear by the end of 2030

1 in 7

The number of U.S. homes projected to have rooftop solar panels by 2030

Take Action

Tackling our climate crisis depends on the efforts of everyone—nations, communities, companies, and individuals. Here are some ways that you can make a difference:

We need climate action to be a top priority in Washington!

Tell President Biden and Congress to slash climate pollution and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

A rainbow arches over lush green mountains and wind turbines in a valley

Urge President Biden and Congress to make equitable climate action a top priority

2023 was the hottest year on record, underscoring the urgency of shifting to clean energy and curbing the carbon pollution that is driving the climate crisis. President Biden and Congress have the tools to get the job done.