The Earth is rapidly getting warmer, threatening serious and even catastrophic disruption to our societies and to the natural environment on which we depend. Over the course of the 20th century the average temperature increased by around 0.6 C globally, by almost 1 C in Europe and by no less than 5 C in the Arctic. This man-made warming is already having many disruptive effects around the globe.
Sea levels are rising as a result of melting glaciers and ice sheets, threatening to flood low-lying communities. Extreme weather conditions; floods, droughts, storms are becoming more severe, more frequent and more costly in some parts of the world. And many endangered species may be pushed to extinction over the coming decades as climate change affects their traditional habitats.