8 Climate Change Facts that may surprise you
The UN Climate Change Conference 2021 will take place on 31st October – 12th November 2021, and at a time when we all need to be taking action! Although a day rarely goes by when we’re not hit with another headline of flooding, forest fires, and other extreme weather incidents, it can be easy to see this as happening in far-off lands, well outside the world in which we live our daily lives.
The reality is that we all have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure that we pass our planet onto our children, and their children… in a state that allows them to live their lives as well as we have lived our own! To do that we all need to act; and if we all take small steps to moderate the way go about our day, then we will have a massive cumulative impact.
Here are just 8 reasons we need to make a change:
There is more CO2 in the world than at any other point in history
Earlier in the year, an observatory in Hawaii detected CO2 concentrations of more than 417 parts per million. To put this into context, that’s more than double the amount seen at the start of the 19th century.
Most climate change can be linked to human activity
Since 1950, most climate change temperature increases can be attributed to human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels, intense farming activities and the deforestation of vast areas to make way for other land uses.
Temperatures are continuing to rise
The average temperature has risen by 1°C in the past 100 years. Although that may not be noticed as we walk to the shops, it has led to significant increases in extreme weather incidents.
Our icecaps are melting
One of the most well-known effects of global warming is that sea ice and glaciers in the Arctic are melting, leading to higher water levels.
In 1910, the Glacier National Park in Montana in the United States was filled with approximately 150 glaciers; when recounted in 2017, this number had dropped to 26.
Sea levels are expected to rise by up to 1.5 metres before the end of the century
This will have an impact in many countries and islands across the world, especially low-lying areas with high risk of extensive flooding, including parts of Ireland.
Extreme heat events have become more frequent and severe
Whilst it may seem a long time ago we had that summer heatwave, they are becoming increasingly frequent; in fact, severe heatwaves now happen almost twice the number of times than they did at the turn of the 20th century.
Wildlife populations are reducing at a rapid rate
Climate change is not only affecting us; the average size of vertebrate populations declined by 60 per cent between 1970 and 2014, according to the biennial Living Planet Report published by the Zoological Society of London and the WWF.
We have very little time to act
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have warned that we now have less than a decade to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.
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No matter what you do, or what change you make, now is the time.