Climate Change is a serious global issue. It includes both the global warming driven by human-induced emissions and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Climate change is expected to cause more frequent and intense droughts, storms, heatwaves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and warmer oceans.
We are already seeing some of these effects on our planet earth. Here, I have put together some eye-opening statistics about climate change that everyone needs to know.
Before Industrial Revolution, levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) were around 280 ppm. In May 2019, these levels stand at 419 ppm, highest in the human history. Carbon dioxide is the most abundant greenhouse gas, accounting for about two-thirds of greenhouse gases.
2. 2019 was the 2nd hottest year
According to WMO, 2019 was the second hottest year on record. The global average temperature in 2019 was 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial period. In 2019, greenhouse gas emissions also reached a record high.
3. 2010-2019 = warmest decade
According to WMO, the average temperatures for the five-year (2015-2019) and ten-year (2010-2019) periods are the highest on record. 2010-2019 also concluded as a decade of exceptional global heat, retreating ice, and record sea levels.
4. Methane – most powerful greenhouse gas
Methane is responsible for more than 25% of global warming we are experiencing today. It is a powerful pollutant with a global warming potential of over 80 times greater than CO2 if measured over a period of 20 years. According to IPCC, deep reductions in methane will be necessary to help limit global warming.
With the rise in global temperature, the ice sheets of Greenland and the Antarctic are also melting. This has led scientists to predict that by 2050, sea levels may rise between one to 2.3 feet above present levels. As a result of this most of the low-lying coastal areas of the world may be flooded with seawater.
6. 11% of emissions
30% of the emissions from industry and fossil fuels are absorbed by forests. Yet every year our planet loses 10 million hectares of forest lands. Deforestation and forest degradation account for 11% of carbon emissions. Cutting forests adds carbon dioxide to the air and also reduces the ability to absorb the existing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
7. 30% of the world population
30% of the world’s population is exposed to deadly heatwaves for more than 20 days a year. A warming world will increase the need for access to cooling. More cooling means more emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in cooling equipment. These HFCs will then increase global warming.
Only 0.7% of the world’s forests are coastal mangroves, yet they store up to 10 times as much carbon per hectares as tropical forests. If we continue to lose mangroves at this rate, we may completely lose them by the next century.
9. Difference between 1.5°C to 2°C
The world will see serious climate impacts at a 1.5°C increase in global temperature. But after that, it will get much worse. At 1.5°C,
- 70% of coral reefs will die.
- one ice-less summer in the Arctic per century.
- 6 million affected by sea-level rise.
And, if it rises up to 2°C
- 90% of coral reefs will die.
- one ice-less summer in the Arctic per decade.
- 16 million affected by sea-level rise.
- 1 meter added to sea-level rise.
10. 7.6% every year.
To prevent warming beyond 1.5°C, we need to reduce emissions by 7.6% every year from 2019 to 2030. However, if countries had acted 10 years ago we would have to reduce emissions only by 3.3% each year. Thus, every year we fail to act, the cost to reduce emissions goes up.
11. It all lies in nature
Tropical forests have been one of Earth’s best defenses against rising carbon dioxide levels. Forests absorb twice as much carbon dioxide as they emit in a year. Despite this, forests receive only 3% of all climate funding.
Also Read: How Diseases are Emerging and Re-Emerging?
So, now we know various causes, impacts, and facts related to climate change. Also, we know that now is the time to take action by educating yourself and urging your community to get involved in mitigating climate change 🙂. So that is all for now, meet you in my next article. Keep Reading, Keep Exploring, and Keep Sharing your Knowledge, and above all BE CURIOUS. 🙂
- Facts about Climate Emergency. (2021). Retrieved 15 August 2021, from https://www.unep.org/explore-topics/climate-action/facts-about-climate-emergency
- Climate Change: 11 facts you need to know. (2021). Retrieved 15 August 2021, from https://www.conservation.org/stories/11-climate-change-facts-you-need-to-know#