Climate Change Statistics

by guest writer, Mike J

In this article we will analyze climate change statistics, and see how these statistics point to what we might experience in the future.

We hope to make them as relevant as possible, so that you would not be put off by the figures. Hopefully, we would be able to energise you into action, as well as give you hope, despite some of the very startling and worrying climate change statistics.

What do we really need to know?

Let's begin with the number of people currently on this planet!

Climate change statistics on human population

From the beginning of 2010 the United States Census Bureau estimates the planet has 6,793,593,686 people on it. This is a figure that grows everyday, exponentially. In fact, it is expected that by 2067, the current figure of just above 6.5 billion will double to 13 billion – a growth rate of approximately 1.14 per cent! (That might not sound a lot, but when was the last time your savings account gained interest at this rate?!)

The problem with such big numbers, (and you will see a lot of them when discussing climate change statistics) is that it is hard “see” the numbers as real people living their lives, and making an impact on the earth. But let’s try.

The world’s population currently consumes about 1.4 planets worth of resources. Or to put it another way as the Carbon Footprint Network reports “81 per cent of the world's population lives in countries that use more resources,” than is “renewably available within their own borders.”

The United Nation's Development Programme (U.N.D.P) estimates that the figure is closer to 90 per cent and comments that “the carbon footprint of the poorest 1 billion people on the planet at around 3 percent of the world’s total footprint.” Yet, these people, who are living in the roughest conditions and the most under-developed parts of the world “are highly exposed to climate change threats for which they carry negligible responsibility.”

If these figures don’t seem to mean much, consider looking at it from another angle. 1 billion people represents over one sixth of the current world population. As the U.N.D.P estimates, these people would be highly exposed to serious hardship, misery and in many cases, death, as global warming accelerates.

This figure may well continue to grow with population growth and ever worsening global conditions. Imagine if every one in six people you knew died over night. I think that may help you realise the seriousness of the problem.

And to have an idea of how much impact this huge population has on planet earth, just visit check out the average carbon footprint of an individual and multiple it by 6.7 billion. Hope it gives you an idea of how important each and every one of us on this planet is when it comes to how to reduce climate change (read more about the importance of going green).

Take a closer look at the world’s growing population and diminishing resources and it is not hard to recognise that these are some important climate change statistics that we need to be aware of.

Climate change statistics in recent times

The current climate change statistics estimate is that if the entire planet warms up by a further 2 degrees, it could set in motion a chain of events that will be virtually unstoppable. Greenpeace states that if we do not do something now to prevent this irreversible chain reaction from happening, within 50 years, one third of all land-based animals will be made extinct.

We can already see the amount of (fresh water) shelf ice that is melting away from the ice caps – approximately 400,000 square miles (or roughly the size of Texas) in 30 years. This in turn will affect the salinity of the Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) which provides an alternating cooling / warming system around the world. With all these happening, previously warm locations may experience cooler weathers, while cooler locations may experience hotter ones. Scientists aren't sure how it will affect the planet overall as there are too many variables when it comes to calculating the possible effects of global warming. Read about what causes climate change.

And according to climate change statistics from NASA, we have experienced two of the hottest years on record, ie. 1998 and 2005, within the past decade. This is more than a coincidence.

To quote Susan Joy Hassol in Artic Climate Impact Assessment (2004) “although many details of how climate, environment, and society evolve in the future remain uncertain,” what it will mean is significant change and challenges.

We are currently undergoing a period man-driven global warming, associated with rising sea levels, and shrinking land mass (once hospitable parts of the planet will soon be intolerable for life) due to drought, famine, overcrowding, flooding and general ecological extremes. The basics mankind needs to survive – water, fuel, food and shelter will ALL be harder to secure.

These climate change statistics remind us that if we do nothing today, we will have to suffer the consequences of our action (or inaction) in the following days to come.

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