Climate action
© Reilly / WWF-New Zealand

Climate action

Climate change is having a dramatic impact on our natural environment.

The climate crisis affects every corner of our planet – from the poles to the tropics, and from the mountains to the oceans.

People and nature worldwide are already feeling the effects: from droughts, fires, flooding and heatwaves caused by extreme weather to the destruction of coral reefs due to changes in ocean temperature. And these impacts will only worsen if the global temperature continues to rise.

© Anton Vorauer /WWF

Causes

The science is clear. Climate change is caused by human activities.

When we burn fossil fuels, we release carbon pollution into the air. Forests and the oceans help to absorb this carbon dioxide, while deforestation and deep-sea mining contributes to the planet's warming because they release stored carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide isn't the only greenhouse gas. Other gases, like methane and nitrous oxide also trap heat in the atmosphere. Animal agriculture is a big emitter of these gases because of the unsustainable way we farm and what artificial fossil fuel based fertilisers we are putting onto the land.

New Zealanders produce a lot of greenhouse gases, though we're a small country, our emissions per person are big. Per person, we're one of the thirty biggest emitters worldwide - and agriculture is responsible for around half of those emissions.

© Ola Jennersten / WWF-Sweden

New Zealand Impact

The climate crisis is already affecting New Zealand. Our people and ecosystems are already feeling the heat.

Already, the national average temperature has risen by 1.1˚C since 1900. South Island glaciers are retreating, and we're recording fewer frosts. We are already paying more for insurance to deal with extreme weather, like floods and droughts.

We can expect a lot more to come. Climate change will almost certainly cause more droughts and water shortages. It will mean increased heavy rainfall in other areas and an increased risk of flooding. Coastal areas will face greater erosion, and possible inundation.  

Over the next 30 – 100 years, temperatures will continue to rise. It’s also likely that our lives and livelihoods will be significantly affected by global impacts such as immigration, food shortages, and political instability.

The Solutions

The good news is that we have most of the solutions to reduce emissions and keep warming to below 1.5˚C.

At WWF we are working on how we can reduce emissions through nature-based solutions such as:

  • Regenerative farming, food system approach and the blue economy
  • Prioritise domestic emissions reductions
  • Partnering with businesses to drive their emissions towards net zero though Science Based Nature Targets and Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi)

Find out more