11 FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE
We’re already seeing the effects of human-caused climate change — but nature can help.
We’re already seeing the effects of climate change, but thankfully, the planet is equipped with a powerful tool for stabilizing the climate: nature itself. Protecting nature today means a better planet for future generations. Share these facts about climate change and help make a difference:
416 parts per million 1
The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere, as of May 2020, is the highest it has been in human history. 2
2019 was the second warmest year on record
NASA data show that average global temperatures in 2019 were 1.8 degrees F (0.98 degrees C) warmer than the 20th-century average. 3 In fact, the five warmest years in the 1880–2019 record have all occurred since 2015. 4
11% of emissions
Eleven per cent of all global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans are due to deforestation 5 — comparable to the emissions from all of the passenger vehicles on the planet.
Nature is an untapped solution
Tropical forests are incredibly effective at storing carbon, providing at least a third of the mitigation action needed 7 to prevent the worst climate change scenarios. Yet nature-based solutions receive only 3% of all climate funding. 8
Fight climate change, improve livelihoods — naturally
Natural climate solutions such as restoring degraded forests could create as many as 39 jobs per million dollars spent — that's a job-creation rate more than six times higher than the oil and gas industry. 9
10x the return on investment
Roughly 3.2 billion people are currently impacted by land degradation worldwide. Restoration is critical and cost-effective. Every US$ 1 invested in restoration generates, on average, 10x that amount in benefits. 10
800 million people
Eleven per cent of the world’s population is currently vulnerable to climate change impacts 11 such as droughts, floods, heatwaves, extreme weather events and sea-level rise.
Coastal ‘blue carbon' ecosystems are critical
Just 0.7% of the world’s forests are coastal mangroves 12, yet they store up to 10 times as much carbon per hectare as tropical forests. 13, 14, 15
800,000 hectares lost every year 15
If we continue to lose mangroves at this rate, they may disappear within the next century. This loss removes an important buffer from extreme weather for coastal communities and releases immense amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Save nature. It’s cheaper
Conserving ecosystems is often more cost-effective than human-made interventions. In the Maldives, preserving the natural coral reef is four times cheaper than building a sea wall for coastal protection, even after 10 years of maintenance costs. 16
189 nations on board
189 countries have ratified the 2015 Paris Agreement 17, agreeing to limit global warming and adapt to climate change, partly by protecting nature.
Price tag: US$ 140 billion per year 18
This is what it would take to make the changes humanity needs to adapt to a warming world. It may sound like a lot, but it’s less than 0.2% of global GDP. 19 And the cost will only increase the longer we take to act ambitiously.
C. D. Keeling, S. C. Piper, R. B. Bacastow, M. Wahlen, T. P. Whorf, M. Heimann, and H. A. Meijer, Exchanges of atmospheric CO2 and 13CO2 with the terrestrial biosphere and oceans from 1978 to 2000. I. Global aspects, SIO Reference Series, No. 01-06, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, 88 pages, 2001. https://scrippsco2.ucsd.edu/data/atmospheric_co2/primary_mlo_co2_record.html. Accessed: 2020-06-09.
Willeit, M., Ganopolski, A., Calov, R., & Brovkin, V. (2019). Mid-Pleistocene transition in glacial cycles explained by declining CO2 and regolith removal. Science Advances, 5(4), eaav7337. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aav7337
NASA. (2020, January 15). NASA, NOAA Analyses Reveal 2019 Second Warmest Year on Record. https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-noaa-analyses-reveal-2019-second-warmest-year-on-record. Accessed: 2020-06-09.
NOAA. Global Climate Report - 2019. https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/201913. Accessed: 2020-06-09.
Goodman, R.C., Herold, M. (2014). Why Maintaining Tropical Forests Is Essential and Urgent for a Stable Climate - Working Paper 385. Center for Global Development. https://www.cgdev.org/publication/why-maintaining-tropical-forests-essential-and-urgent-stable-climate-working-paper-385
DeCicco, J., Fung, F., An, F. (2006). Global Warming on the Road: The climate impact of America’s automobiles. Environmental Defense. https://www.edf.org/sites/default/files/5301_Globalwarmingontheroad_0.pdf
Correction to Supporting Information for Griscom et al., Natural climate solutions. (2019). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(7), 2776–2776. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1900868116
Buchner, B., Clark, A., Falconer, A., Macquarie, R., Meattle, C., Wetherbee, C. (2019). Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2019. Climate Policy Initiative. https://climatepolicyinitiative.org/publication/global-landscape-of-climate-finance-2019/
Garrett-Peltier, H., Pollin, R. (2010). Job Creation per $1 Million Investment. University of Massachusetts Political Economy and Research Institute. https://grist.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/job_creation_for_investment_-_garrett-peltier.pdf
Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, I. (2018). The IPBES assessment report on land degradation and restoration. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/ZENODO.3237392
DARA. (2012). Climate Vulnerability Report - 2nd Edition. https://daraint.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/CVM2ndEd-FrontMatter.pdf.
Giri, C., Ochieng, E., Tieszen, L. L., Zhu, Z., Singh, A., Loveland, T., … Duke, N. (2010). Status and distribution of mangrove forests of the world using earth observation satellite data. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 20(1), 154–159. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00584.x
Fourqurean, J. W., Duarte, C. M., Kennedy, H., Marbà, N., Holmer, M., Mateo, M. A., … Serrano, O. (2012). Seagrass ecosystems as globally significant carbon stock. Nature Geoscience, 5(7), 505–509. https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1477
Pan, Y., Birdsey, R. A., Fang, J., Houghton, R., Kauppi, P. E., Kurz, W. A., Phillips, O. L., Shvidenko, A., Lewis, S. L., Canadell, J. G., Ciais, P., Jackson, R. B., Pacala, S. W., McGuire, A. D., Piao, S., Rautiainen, A., Sitch, S., & Hayes, D. (2011). A Large and Persistent Carbon Sink in the World’s Forests. Science, 333(6045), 988–993. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1201609
Pendleton, L., Donato, D. C., Murray, B. C., Crooks, S., Jenkins, W. A., Sifleet, S., Craft, C., Fourqurean, J. W., Kauffman, J. B., Marbà, N., Megonigal, P., Pidgeon, E., Herr, D., Gordon, D., & Baldera, A. (2012). Estimating Global “Blue Carbon” Emissions from Conversion and Degradation of Vegetated Coastal Ecosystems. PLoS ONE, 7(9), e43542. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0043542
Jones, H. P., Hole, D. G., & Zavaleta, E. S. (2012). Harnessing nature to help people adapt to climate change. Nature Climate Change, 2(7), 504–509. https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1463
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Paris Agreement - Status of Ratification. https://unfccc.int/process/the-paris-agreement/status-of-ratification. Accessed: 2020-06-09.
Puig, D., Olhoff, A., Bee, S., Dickson, B., & Alverson, K. (Eds.) (2016). The Adaptation Finance Gap Report. United Nations Environment Programme. https://backend.orbit.dtu.dk/ws/files/198610751/Adaptation_Finance_Gap_Report_2016.pdf
Worldometer. Global GDP this year. https://www.worldometers.info/gdp/. Accessed: 2020-06-09.