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Climate Crisis in 10 Charts

Climate Crisis in 10 Charts 24 September 2019

The climate crisis explained in 10 charts (via The Guardian)

By Damian Carrington and Cath Levett

From the rise and rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to possible solutions.

The problem – rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

The level of CO2 has been rising since the industrial revolution and is now at its highest for about 4 million years. The rate of the rise is even more striking – the fastest for 66m years – with scientists saying we are in “uncharted territory”.

The causes – fossil fuel burning

Billions of tonnes of CO2 are sent into the atmosphere every year from coal, oil and gas burning. There is no sign of these emissions starting to fall rapidly, as is needed.

The causes – forest destruction

The felling of forests for timber, cattle, soy and palm oil is a big contributor to carbon emissions. It is also a major cause of the annihilation of wildlife on Earth.

The consequences – global temperature rise

The planet’s average temperature started to climb steadily two centuries ago, but has rocketed since the second world war as consumption and population has risen. Global heating means there is more energy in the atmosphere, making extreme weather events more frequent and more intense.

The consequences – ice melting in Greenland

Greenland alone is now losing almost 4 trillion tonnes of ice per year. Mountain ranges from the Himalayas to the Andes to the Alps are also losing ice rapidly as glaciers shrink. A third of the Himalayan and Hindu Kush ice is already doomed.

The consequences – rising sea levels

Sea levels are inexorably rising as ice on land melts and hotter oceans expand. Sea levels are slow to respond to global heating, so even if the temperature rise is restricted to 2C, one in five people in the world will eventually see their cities submerged, from New York to London to Shanghai.

The consequences – shrinking Arctic sea ice

As heating melts the sea ice, the darker water revealed absorbs more of the sun’s heat, causing more heating – one example of the vicious circles in the climate system. Scientists think the changes in the Arctic may be responsible for worsened heatwaves and floods in Eurasia and North America.

The upside (I) – wind and solar energy is soaring

Huge cost drops have seen renewable energy become the cheapest energy in many places and the rollout is projected to continue. Analysts also expect coal use to fall. But much government action is still required to reach the scale needed, and solve difficult problems such as aviation and farming.

See the charts and read the whole story here…