Key stats about climate change

temperature illustration

Global temperatures increasing

The earth has warmed by an average of 1°C in the last century.

co2 illustration

Highest greenhouse gas levels*

Greenhouse gas levels in our atmosphere reached a record high in 2018, well above the levels observed in nature (*over the last 800,000 years).

sea levels illustration

Sea levels rising

Sea levels will continue to rise well beyond 2100. The extent of the rise will depend on whether we are all able to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

storms illustration

Stronger storms

Climate change is leading to an increasing number of very strong storms in categories 4 and 5.

How climate change affects disasters

Our changing climate is making large weather events like droughts, hurricanes, floods and wildfires worse


Droughts are a natural part of our climate. They are influenced by moving weather patterns, high temperatures and lack of rain.

However, the climate crisis is increasing the severity of extreme drought in some regions around the world. Somaliland, the Lake Chad Basin, and the Eastern Mediterranean have all seen the devastating effects in recent years.

Increasing temperatures, more extreme changes in rainfall patterns and less snowfall are contributing to worsening drought conditions.

Even regions that may not see changes in rainfall are feeling the impact. Warmer temperatures lead to higher demand for water and more surface evaporation, putting greater stress on water supplies.

One of the most devastating effects of droughts is the strain they can put on food supplies. In countries where communities don’t have reliable sources of nutritious food, droughts can cause food prices to go up, leading to social unrest, famine and migration.


As temperatures rise, the warmth can lead to more extreme rainfall in some regions.

At the same time, the sea level rises predicted for the coming years will cause increased flooding in coastal and low-lying areas. Coastal erosion will also increase.

Flood risks are also increasing across many urban and rural areas because of the changing landscape. Natural flood barriers like forests are being cut down and expanding cities create huge areas of impermeable land where high levels of water are not easily drained away. (source: IPCC)

Tropical storms

Tropical storms like hurricanes and cyclones are a natural part of our climate.

Whilst climate change is not increasing the number of tropical storms we see, the rising temperatures are causing the storms to become much more intense and have a far more devastating impact. In recent years, we have seen far more of the highest possible categories of storms – Categories 4 and 5.

Research also suggests that the climate crisis is influencing the speed of tropical storms, causing them to move more slowly, leading to greater destruction.


Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns will lead to more extreme drought.

Drought conditions can fuel deadly wildfires, with areas such as the US and Australia particularly susceptible.

Deforestation and farming techniques such as slash and burn are also a large contributor to wildfires. In 2019 fires ravaged the Amazon Basin, destroying more than 2 million acres of rainforest.

As well as huge areas of forest, thousands of homes have been lost globally over the past decade due to wildfires.

(source: Center for Climate and Energy Solutions)

Mirta, a lady wearing glasses in Paraguay
Icon Info
“I'm tired of always having to move each time there are floods, but we don't have another option. We simply can't afford to buy a home out of the flood-affected areas.” – Mirta, Paraguay

How does climate change affect people?

Extreme weather events often happen in countries where many people live in poverty. We help vulnerable communities recover after disaster, but the climate crisis is making challenging situations worse.

The climate crisis is having a huge impact on people who depend on the weather for their livelihoods. People who farm, rear livestock, or live a nomadic lifestyle are struggling to feed their families. Climate shocks bring devastating and long-term effects, often forcing them to move away into cities.

This brings a new set of challenging circumstances such as overcrowding, food scarcity and vulnerability to diseases.

For people living through war, the climate crisis makes their already overwhelmingly difficult situation worse.

Floods, droughts, depletion of water sources, shortage of food and often having nowhere to live add to the complexities of war.

With no essential services like health or social care, damaged economies, the constant threat of violence, and the lack of robust shelter, people’s ability to cope can be entirely compromised.

How we manage our environmental impact

We know that by working to support disaster-affected communities we also have an impact on the environment.

Our use of air freight and energy contributes to climate change; the waste we produce contributes to landfill, and any single-use plastics will stay on the planet for many lifetimes.

If not properly managed, our impact could contribute to increasing the vulnerability of communities to disaster.

That’s why we are committed to understanding our impact on the environment and finding ways to avoid or reduce these effects.

We’re taking action towards reducing our carbon footprint in a number of ways, including:

  • Prepositioning our aid in storage hubs around the globe.
  • Establishing ShelterBox Operations Philippines so we can respond there more efficiently.
  • Looking for ways to reduce the number of times we move aid items – particularly for longer-term responses like complex conflicts.
  • Collecting carbon emissions data to understand how we can reduce our impact.
  • Identifying and eliminating non-essential single-use plastics in our supply chain.
  • Creating environmental assessment criteria for suppliers.
Icon Info
Severe drought has forced thousands of families to flee their homes in the Horn of Africa. We have been supporting people in Somalia, including Mohamed and his daughter

Why are we talking about climate change?

Supporting communities who have lost their homes to extreme weather events has been a significant part of our work for over 20 years.

We are on the front line, helping communities in the immediate aftermath of disasters, which are becoming more severe because of our warming climate.

Right now, the climate crisis is destroying homes and livelihoods. With help from our partners, we work to reach some of the world’s most vulnerable people. People who are bearing the brunt of the increase in extreme weather and the ravages of conflict.

Climate change is irreversibly changing the lives of the communities we support and that means we are already active players in the climate crisis conversation.

Our priority is helping vulnerable people feel more in control of their futures – they know what they’re facing better than we ever could.  Through listening to the communities we serve, our work can help with climate change adaption.

For example…

Graphic - Water purifier
Water filters can help families clean contaminated water when climate shocks increase water scarcity.

Training ensures people can make the best use of the aid. That includes simple tips for securing a tarpaulin or creating drainage channels.

Graphic - Inside the ShelterBox

Where families are at risk of being displaced several times, aid packages are designed to be mobile and flexible.

Robust tents that can withstand strong winds and vents that help with ventilation in hotter climates.


Be part of the conversation

Millions of people in some of the most vulnerable places around the world are facing the challenges of the climate crisis head-on.

We’re committed to reaching communities that urgently need support, but we can’t do it alone.