What is the Climate Crisis? The Greatest Challenge We Face, Explained

Climate change is here, and it’s having a devastating impact on the planet’s natural systems. As global temperatures rise, as we’ve seen with the current European heatwave, the environmental and humanitarian effects of anthropogenic climate change now pose a constant threat. Even the language we use has evolved to acknowledge the severity of the situation, with many now favouring the term ‘climate crisis’. Because this is more than just ‘change.’ This is the greatest crisis humanity faces.

But what is causing the climate crisis? What exactly is it and what can be done to resolve it?

The Climate Crisis In Numbers

🏭 Atmospheric CO₂ is now 50% higher than pre-industrial levels.*

💧 Sea levels have risen by 98.5 millimetres since 1993**

🌡️ The global mean temperature is now 1.15℃ above the pre-industrial average*

🏔️ Glaciers lost over 6,000 gigatonnes of ice between 1993 and 2019*

🦍 Climate change is pushing over 10,000 endangered species closer to extinction***

The Industrial Revolution – A Gateway To Fossil-Fuel Reliance

The beginning of the climate crisis can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution, which ran from 1760 to sometime in the first half of the 19th century and saw rich nations like the U.K., Europe and the U.S. transition from agricultural to mechanised means of production. As production increased, so too did reliance on fossil fuels as a source of power. It wasn’t long before pollution and air quality became concerns. The culprit? Greenhouses gases like carbon dioxide and methane, whose presence in our atmosphere continue to drive global temperatures to ever more dangerous numbers today.

To measure the rate of global warming, climate scientists use data to determine how much the temperature has risen since ‘pre-industrial times.’ The most recent report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) suggests that the global mean temperature is currently 1.15℃ above where it was before the Industrial Revolution1, putting us alarmingly close to exceeding the 1.5℃ threshold set by the Paris Agreement.

Global Warming – A Domino Effect

If global warming is climate change, then its negative knock-on effects are the climate crisis. According to the International Panel On Climate Change (IPCC), Earth’s glaciers lost over 6,000 gigatonnes of ice between 1993 and 2019 due to increasing temperatures, contributing to a sea-level rise within that time of nearly 10 centimetres2. While this might not sound like a lot, it’s already devastating coastal communities, with flooding, soil erosion and loss of habitat made far more likely. Urban areas are also at risk, with the United Nations estimating that if no action is taken, large parts of world cities like New York, Shanghai and Abu Dhabi could be submerged within our lifetime3.

Extreme weather events, such as the 2023 European heatwave, exacerbated by global warming are not only wreaking environmental havoc, but they’re also driving food insecurity. Record-breaking drought, heat waves and rainfall have all impacted soil health, leading to crop failures that the WMO estimates to have plunged 2.3 billion people, mostly in Asia and Africa, into food insecurity as of 20214.

The Interlinked Costs Of The Climate Crisis

Climate change impacts every aspect of life on Earth, driving humanitarian, environmental, political and economic crises that are often interlinked. As more frequent, intense natural disasters threaten vital resources like food and accommodation, affected regions face rising socioeconomic tensions, increased poverty and mass displacement. Last year, drought had a catastrophic impact on farming livelihoods and food security in Somalia, leading to the displacement of over 1 million people5.

The World Bank warns that the global economy could suffer annual losses of $2.7 trillion by 2030 if action isn’t taken to protect and restore natural ecosystems6. This prediction is most worrying for business leaders in East Asia and the Pacific, who ranked natural disasters and extreme weather events as top-ten risks in a 2019 survey by the World Economic Forum7. A separate branch of this report served to highlight the interconnectedness of the many risks both individuals and businesses face, with respondents identifying links between issues of social instability and forced migration, biodiversity loss and the failure of climate-change mitigation efforts8.

Pathways Out Of Climate Crisis

Overcoming the climate crisis requires the evolution of life as we know it, from our food systems, economies and modes of transportation. We urgently need to move away from the fossil-fuel dependence that began with the Industrial Revolution, towards a greener future powered by renewable energy. This transition needs to centre the principles of climate justice, meaning that the nations most impacted by climate change receive the most support in adapting to and mitigating its effects.

Climate finance offers hope to such communities. Leaders of Pacific and Caribbean island nations have long advocated for reforms to global financial systems that would lessen the burden of debt while also providing accessible economic support for those most in need of resources and infrastructure for climate adaptation and mitigation. At last year’s COP27, a historic Loss and Damage fund was agreed, which will see rich nations provide financial assistance to countries bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. 

Alongside policies and action to drastically reduce emissions and decarbonise our economies and societies, we need to tackle the dirty legacy of the Industrial Revolution: the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that linger in the atmosphere for centuries. The IPCC recognises carbon-removal technologies as key in addressing the climate crisis, and nature-based solutions like enhanced rock weathering not only permanently remove carbon from the air, but offer several climate-positive co-benefits, too.

Help UNDO Remove Carbon Dioxide – For Good

If we’re to stand a chance at halting and even reversing, the climate crisis, we need to take action to reduce and reverse carbon emissions. And we need to do it now.

As individuals, we have the power to make conscious decisions every day, from adapting our diets and travel habits to be more environmentally friendly, to switching to ethical banks and providers or joining climate-activist communities. For business leaders and decision-makers, every day is an opportunity to be part of moving our industries towards a liveable future, through ambitious net-zero strategies and emissions-reduction activities. 

At UNDO, we believe that removing carbon dioxide and permanently locking it away through our enhanced weathering technology has a huge part to play in keeping the planet fit for future generations. Our scalable, nature-based solution has the potential to remove millions of tonnes of CO₂, leading the way in gigatonne-scale carbon removal.

We already have the tools and technology needed to stop climate change in its tracks. A better world is within reach – join us today to be part of making that world a reality.



*State of the Global Climate 2022 report by WMO:

**NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center:

***The International Union for Conservation of Nature:










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