Climate Change Facts: 6 Frightening Truths That Prove Humans Are the Worst
One in six of the world’s species are facing extinction due to climate change...
Climate Change Facts
Boreal forests are being destroyed in Canada, Beijing is stuck in a smog of pollution, Indonesian rainforests are being torched and crops around the world are being washed away. Climate change is threatening to transform the world, and yet much of the planet remains unaware about the possible implications.
Climate change facts show clearly that we need to act. Change is happening; the Paris Agreement set the ball in motion – though has been criticised for not going far enough – and as well as nations including Portugal, Denmark, Costa Rica and Scotland producing huge amounts of energy from the sun and wind, Sweden is soon set to become the first fossil fuel-free country in the world, largely due to public demand in the past few years.
Emissions, global warming, weather and climate - it can be hard to keep up with what the climate scientists are talking about and what the actual climate change effects could be.
Here are six simple terrifying climate change facts that should have us all pushing our countries to follow in Sweden’s footsteps (while hoping that Donald Trump doesn't doom us all)...
1) More than one million species face potential extinction as a result of disappearing habitats
One of the climate change facts surely most likely to open people's eyes is the implications for animals, because as you probably know, a whole lot of people prefer animals to humans. Sometimes it's not hard to see why.
Earlier this year the Bramble Cay melomys, the only mammal endemic to the Great Barrier Reef, became the first mammal species wiped out because of human-induced climate change.
Scientists say that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that more than one in six of the world’s species are facing possible extinction due to climate change.
The most particular species at risk are those whose habitats will completely disappear or who are particularly specialised in what they eat or where they live. That could even include animals like the koala bear.
We have already lost 27% of the world’s coral reefs, and if present rates of destruction continue, 60% of the world’s coral reefs will be destroyed in the next 30 years alone. Coral reefs are home to more than 25% of all known marine fish species and occupy less than 1% of the marine environment.
2) Global flooding could triple by 2030
The sea levels have risen twice as much in the past 10 years as they did in the whole of the 20th century.
The number of people exposed to flooding each year is at risk of tripling from 21 million to 54 million by 2030, according to a study from the World Resources Institute. This would result in the economic costs of flooding increasing from £65 billion to around £340 billion.
This is especially dangerous of course because half of the world’s population lives within 37 miles of the sea, and three quarters of all large cities are on the coast, which brings us to point three...
3) The UNHCR has warned that climate change could cause the displacement of 250m people across the world by 2050
Climate change could cause the displacement of 250,000,000 people by 2050. Take a minute to consider that prediction. And the estimate is that an additional six million people will have to flee their homes each year if warming continues at the same rate.
Millions of people have already had to do exactly that due to natural disasters, which are becoming more commonplace as a result of climate change. 2012 alone saw over 32,000,000 human beings displaced.
It’s often small islands, who contribute the least to climate change, who end up suffering the most from the results.
The US is of course one of the main contributors to the global warming problem, but it’s affecting them too. Miami is seeing increasing levels of rising water and spending millions to try and delay it and 99.84% of the land in California is suffering from drought already.
By 2100, a U.N climate report predicts that sea levels will probably affect 70% of the world’s coastlines.
4) Greenland is transforming into a radiator
The ice in Greenland has been turning black because of soot and other pollutants, and because of this colour, rather than reflecting the sun and acting as a cooler for the planet, Greenland will actually become a sort of heater.
This isn’t just happening in Greenland, either. It’s happening in the Himalayas, in western North America, and in the Arctic circle. The Arctic is warming up twice as fast as the Subarctic, and scientists think it may be due to the dark ice absorbing rather than reflecting the rays of the sun.
This of course, contributes further to the rising sea levels and unpredictable weather conditions around the world.
5) In 2016 we used all of the Earth's yearly resources up by August 8th
Earth Overshoot Day is the date on which humanity’s resource consumption for the year exceeds the Earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources that year. In 2000 the day took place in October, but in 2015 we consumed all of Earth’s resources by August 13th. In 2016 it was on August 8th, and it’s getting earlier each year.
“We use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate through overfishing, overharvesting of forests and emitting more CO2 into the atmosphere than forests can sequester," writes overshootday.org.
The world’s super powers, including China, the USA, the UK and Japan, all already use more than double the amount of resources they produce.
6) The Arctic region may have its first ever ice-free summer by 2040
According to a study published in Geophysical Research Letters, if greenhouse gasses continue to get pumped into the atmosphere at the current rate, the majority of the Arctic basin will be ice-free in September in 24 years.
There was less ice in the Arctic in the winter of 2015 than in any other winter since the satellite era began, say National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists.
The consequences of such a low amount of Arctic ice would have grave consequences for the eco-system.