Shocking Climate-Change Photos

The United Nations secretary-general shares his take on a stunning photo gallery that documents how warming temperatures are changing the planet.

10.13.09 7:43 PM ET

As a major climate summit in Copenhagen approaches, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shares his take on stunning photos that document how warming temperatures are changing the planet. Plus, read more about taking action on Giving Beast.

Melting ice. Parched landscapes. These are the images of climate change. Last month I visited the Arctic. An icebreaker took me to the Polar ice rim. In just a few decades, the same ship may be able to sail all the way to an ice-free North Pole.

Click the Image Below to View Climate Change Photographs by Michael Hall

Advancing deserts in Mongolia, drought in East Africa, wildfires in California, floods in Mexico and the Philippines: All tell the same story. Climate change is real, it is happening now, and it is affecting people all around the world.

Giving Beast: Take Action, Make a Difference As floods and droughts become more frequent and intense, poverty and hunger will rise. Economies will suffer. Fragile nations may become more unstable, threatening security for all. The solution lies in action now for change tomorrow.

Dependence on coal and oil is causing global warming. But there is another vision: sustainable growth based on clean power, energy-efficient buildings, and green cities. The world’s best minds are working overtime to find creative solutions. Engineers are looking to cool our cities with white roofs and green spaces. Entrepreneurs are racing to capitalize on the growing demand for clean energy. Policy specialists are considering the impact of energy subsidies.

This December, the world can galvanize a clean energy revolution. When government representatives gather at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen they need to know that the citizens of the world want change. We want to leave our children a planet free of famine, fire, and flood. We want them to enjoy clear streams, clean air, and green growth.

A new climate-change agreement can achieve these goals. A comprehensive, fair, and ambitious agreement in Copenhagen can put the brakes on runaway climate change. It can help the most vulnerable to adapt to changes already under way. It can move the world toward a new era of green growth.

Let us seize the moment—for a better, safer, healthier future for all.

Get Involved. How to Help: to learn more about Michael Hall’s climate-change photography project, visit

Check out more from Giving Beast, featuring news, video, and amazing photographs of people, places, and issues that need our support.

The writer is secretary-general of the United Nations