These Six Facts Prove That the Climate Emergency is Real
Despite what many might say, human-caused climate change is real. It’s happening right now. It’s been shown to increase the risk of extreme rainfalls and floods, wildfires, and heatwaves that could have serious ramifications for humans, animals, and our world as a whole.
Things don’t look too good over time either. It’s expected that CO2 levels in the atmosphere will maintain an average 311 ppm across 2019, so there are plenty of works to be done before the world is close to reaching the goals laid out by the Paris Agreement.
Here are some facts compiled by Wired that tell you everything you should know about climate change and what it means.
1. Summers – and even winters – are getting hotter
British Columbia, Delhi, and San Francisco recorded record-setting temperatures this June, suggesting that the Northern Hemisphere is in for another series of heatwaves. The UK has seen the hottest summer on record since 2006 in 2018. A climate study of the data from last year showed that these kinds of heatwaves are up to 30 times more likely because of climate change.
2. Sea levels haven’t risen this fast for 3,000 years
Sea levels are rising by an average of three millimetres per year. The two key factors behind the rise in sea levels are thermal expansion (the ocean is getting warmer, and water expands when it gets warmer) and ice glaciers & ice sheets melting, which increases the flow and volume of water. Greenland and Antarctica alone have enough frozen water to potentially increase sea levels by around 65 meters if they melted completely. This scenario may be unlikely, but it’s true that the ice is melting faster than it has for millennia.
3. Wildlife populations decreased by 60% in 40 years
The average size of populations of vertebrate animals dropped 60% between 1970 and 2014, according to the Living Planet Report published biennially by the Zoological Society of London and the WWF. This doesn’t mean that animal populations have dropped a total of 60% though. The report looks at the relative decline in different animal populations.
4. There has never been so much carbon dioxide in the air
Sensors at the Mauna Loa observatory of Hawaii – which has kept track of CO2 concentration since the 1950s – detected a CO2 concentration of 415.26 ppm in May. This is the highest it’s ever been in human history. The last time CO2 levels were this high was over three million years ago, when the sea levels were much higher and trees grew comfortably at the South Pole.
5. Two-thirds of all extreme weather events across the past 20 years have been human-influenced
The amount of heavy rains and floods in the world has quadrupled since 1980 and also doubled since 2004. Extreme temperatures, wildfires, and droughts have also doubled since 1980. The UK-based website Carbon Brief, which reports on climate science, gathered data from across 230 studies on “extreme event attribution” and discovered that 68% of all extreme weather events from the past 20 years have been made severe or more likely to occur thanks to human-caused climate change.
6. Carbon emissions from energy have risen at their fastest rate since 2011
This extreme weather brings with it an increased demand for energy. Carbon emissions caused by global energy increased 2% in 2018, according to BP’s annual World Energy Study. This increase was the fastest for seven years and is the carbon equivalent of increasing the number of car passengers across the world by a third. Two-thirds of all carbon emissions are produced by the energy sector.
For more information and in-depth reading about climate change facts from Wired, read the full article in the link below.