Human activity is warming the planet. How much it will warm by the end of this century depends on our choices now.
Without more progress in curbing emissions, average temperatures could rise between 4.7°F to 8.6°F (2.6°C to 4.8°C) by the end of the century, compared to the average temperature around the end of the 20th century (1986-2005).
Human, plants, and animals are already feeling the impacts, which will grow over time. Warmer air and water temperatures are causing sea level to rise and extreme weather events to be more frequent and intense. Rising carbon dioxide concentrations are making the oceans more acidic.
Climate impacts are not evenly distributed, either globally or in the United States. Researchers estimate that each degree of warming causes about a 1 percent drop in U.S. GDP. But some regions will experience much larger economic losses. Parts of Florida and the Gulf Coast could see their economies shrink 25 percent if global emissions go unchecked and if local adaptation actions are not implemented.
Although reducing emissions now can avoid the worst consequences, some impacts are unavoidable. The changes we are experiencing today will continue to grow.