“I care about climate change because of our children. I want to safeguard their future.”
Cate Blanchett, Actress
All Climate Change Facts & Stats you have to know
Climate change can be defined as a change in the earth’s average temperature. It can be either a drop or an increase in average temperature.
However, in our nowadays age, climate change is almost always associated with global warming, since increasing air and water temperature is one of the biggest challenges humanity faces today.
In this article, several facts and stats regarding global warming are given.
List of the most important Global Warming Stats and Facts
- Our planet has been heating up and will continue to do so in the future. Humanity makes a big contribution to speed up global warming through the emission of greenhouse gases.
- Apart from man-made causes for global warming, there are also natural causes like a change in solar radiation and natural swings in global temperature.
- From 1880 to 2019, our average surface temperature has increased by about 1 degree Celsius (around 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
- In the past decades, the speed of global warming increased dramatically. Over the past 50 years, global average temperature increased at the fastest rate in recorded human history.
- According to NASA, all but one of the hottest 16 years in 134 years of recorded temperature history happened since the year 2000.
- Leading scientists estimate that our earth’s air temperature will increase in a range between 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) and 3.2 degrees Celsius (5.8 degrees Fahrenheit) until the end of the 21st century, depending on the scenario that underlies the calculations and our measures we are willing to take as a global species to mitigate the global warming issue.
- Air temperature is increasing at a faster rate than water temperature.
- In the Paris Agreement in 2017, 159 countries around the world have ratified an agreement that aims to keeps the increase in global air temperature under 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). However, this goal seems to be quite ambitious and not realistic in the eyes of many scientists.
- Making things worse, Donald Trump announced that the United States of America will leave the Paris Agreement. Depending on the election outcome in 2020, this may lead to vast environmental problems if Trump will be reelected since with the U.S. leaving the climate agreement, the world would lose a big partner in the war against global warming.
- Currently, China is the country with the largest amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, followed by the U.S., Europe and India. Thus, it is crucial that especially these powers work together in an efficient manner to fight global warming rather than to quit climate agreements.
- Global warming will have also dramatic economic effects. There are many ways in which an increasing earth temperature negatively affects our global economy, including adverse working conditions, loss of infrastructure, damage from natural disasters, loss of areas of land due to flooding and also significant agricultural losses.
- The total economic loss is hard to measure and always depends on the estimates for the future. However, losses due to climate change will be gigantic and will surely reach thousands of billions of dollars.
- Some sources even estimate that the damage due to climate change may add up to 10% of our global GDP, which would amount to around 10 trillion USD. Just to make sure that you understand this number. It is 10.000.000.000.000 USD in economic damage from effects related to climate change. In other words, it is ten million million USD in global damage.
- The damages from global warming will be distributed quite unequally over our planet. While the vast majority of northern countries will not have many problems or may even benefit from global warming, countries in the Southern Hemisphere may greatly suffer from climate change since the probability of water shortages and natural disasters increases dramatically.
- Global sea levels have risen around 7 inches over the past century. Although this seems not too bad, the rate of increase is much higher compared to past centuries. In fact, leading scientists conclude that until the end of the 21st century, our sea levels could rise from 0.3 meters up to 2.7 meters, depending on our actions to protect our climate and also depending on the speed the polar ice melts.
- An increase in sea levels of 2 meters would have horrible effects for millions of people worldwide, since their homes would simply drown due to the increased sea level, which would force them to leave their home and to migrate to other countries.
- According to NASA, Greenland has lost 286 billion tons of ice per year on average between 1993 and 2016. Antarctica lost around 127 billion tons of ice per year during the same time period. Making things worse, the rate of ice loss in Antarctica tripled in the past decade.
- Glaciers are retreating everywhere around the world, including the Himalaya, the Alps, the Andes, the Rockies and Alaska.
- Due to climate change, also the snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased significantly and the snow is also melting earlier.
- Our Arctic sea ice is also melting at an alarming rate, which contributes to further increases in sea levels.
- Global warming is also associated with a higher risk of natural disasters. The number of natural disasters as well as the intensity has increased over the past decades on average.
- The probability of extremely hot weather increased, while chances for temperature record lows decreased over the past decades.
- Global warming leads to increasing water temperatures, which in turn leads to the extinction of many species, including many corals, which will permanently alter the ocean environments. Moreover, the probability of hurricanes and other powerful tropic storms increases, since those storms get their energy out of the warm water. The warmer the water, the more energy is to form massive storms.
- Methane is an even more dangerous greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. However, due to the sheer amount of carbon dioxide emitted into our atmosphere, the total impact of carbon dioxide emissions on our climate is still much bigger than the adverse impact of methane.
- In fact, we currently experience the highest level of atmospheric carbon dioxide for 800,000 years. Especially in the past few decades, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels skyrocketed.
- Due to our excessive level of consumption and waste production, greenhouse gas emissions skyrocketed since the industrial revolution period. Thus, in order to fight global warming, everyone of us should try to reduce his or her consumption behavior.
- Switching to alternative means of transport is also crucial to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and therefore to slow down global warming.
- What is really necessary to fight global warming is a reset of global values. We have to come to a point where material consumption is no longer regarded as the ultimate north star. Rather, we should put the protection of the environment on a pedestal and governments around the world should reward environmentally-friendly behavior of people. By doing so, people will be more willing to protect our planet and to take action to slow down global warming.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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