CLIMATE CHANGE AT A GLANCE

Scientific evidence is clear – human activity is causing the planet to heat up at an alarming rate. Burning fossil fuels creates greenhouse gas emissions. Clearing land and forests releases more carbon (which was stored in trees) into the atmosphere. Landfills for waste generate methane emissions. All of these greenhouse gases act like a blanket around the Earth, raising temperatures and disrupting our climate. We’re increasingly seeing consequences like intense droughts, water scarcity, extreme flooding, melting polar ice and devastating storms.

The last decade (2011-2020) was the warmest on record. Thousands of scientists have agreed that limiting warming to less than 1.5 degrees would help avoid the worst climate impacts and maintain a liveable climate. But global warming is projected to reach around 3.2 degrees celsius by the end of the century.

We face a huge challenge, but we already have many viable solutions, which can deliver economic benefits, improve lives and protect the environment.

Why should we care?

Earth is an interconnected system. Changes in one area influence changes in another. We’re already seeing extreme weather events, increases in diseases and loss of life. As the Earth gets hotter, large areas may become uninhabitable, and we could see large numbers of ‘climate refugees’ seeking new homes. Our food supplies could be effected and we could see more pandemics.

As extreme weather events become more common, we could also lose precious habitats, ecosystems and animal species.

Scientists have been very clear – all action, big or small, helps combat climate change. We all have a role to play, and we can all be part of the solution.

Facts and figures

There’s more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere now than at any time in human history

Based on current emissions, the world is likely to hit between 2.7C and 3.1C of warming by 2100

Since 1900, sea levels have risen faster than in any preceding century in at least the last 3,000 years

Between 2011 and 2020, annual Arctic sea ice reached its lowest level since at least 1850

The number of floods and heavy rains has quadrupled since 1980 and doubled since 2004

Extreme temperatures, droughts and wildfires have more than doubled in the last 40 years

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