Climate change affects all regions around the world. Polar ice shields are melting and the sea is rising. In some regions extreme weather events and rainfall are becoming more common while others are experiencing more extreme heat waves and droughts.
These impacts are expected to intensify in the coming decades.
When water warms up it expands. At the same time global warming causes polar ice sheets and glaciers to melt.
The combination of these changes is causing sea levels to rise, resulting in flooding and erosion of coastal and low lying areas.
Heavy rain and other extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. This can lead to floods and decreasing water quality, but also decreasing availability of water resources in some regions.
Many poor developing countries are among the most affected. People living there often depend heavily on their natural environment and they have the least resources to cope with the changing climate.
Climate change is already having an impact on health:
Damage to property and infrastructure and to human health imposes heavy costs on society and the economy.
Between 1980 and 2011 floods affected more than 5.5 million people and caused direct economic losses of more than €90 billion.
Sectors that rely strongly on certain temperatures and precipitation levels such as agriculture, forestry, energy and tourism are particularly affected.
Climate change is happening so fast that many plants and animal species are struggling to cope.
Many terrestrial, freshwater and marine species have already moved to new locations. Some plant and animal species will be at increased risk of extinction if global average temperatures continue to rise unchecked.