Climate Change 101: WHY EVERY DEGREE MATTERS
According to 99.9% of the world’s scientists our planet is warming due to greenhouse gas emissions from human causes. These gas emissions trap heat in the atmosphere, causing the polar ice caps to melt and global average temperatures to increase.
In 2015, government leaders from around the world made a pact, the Paris Agreement, to limit global average temperature rise to a point that would allow a familiar standard of living -- 2 degrees Celsius (2°C).
Here’s why every degree matters:
Decreased water availability, increasing drought in many regions
Increased wildfire risk, flooding events, and storm damage
Increased burden from malnutrition, diarrhoeal, cardio-respiratory, and infectious diseases
Increased risk of extinction for 20-30% of known species
Increasing mortality from heat waves, floods, and droughts
Most corals bleached
Sea level rise due to ice melt
Our planet has already experienced several of the above devastating effects as global average temperatures have risen by 0.8°C due to human causes.
Major changes in natural systems cause predominantly negative consequences for biodiversity, water, and food supplies
Widespread coral mortality
Flooding risk increases every year, impacting millions
Increasing rate sea level rise
Global food production decreases significantly
Substantial burden on health services
About 30% of global coastal wetlands lost due to sea level rise
Extinction of more than 40% of known species
Global economic losses
At least partial melting of Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, eventually raising sea level 13-20 feet
It is nearly impossible to predict the severe consequences of going beyond a 2°C rise, as we are already experiencing unanticipated effects from a 0.8°C increase.