This year, we have seen huge uptick in our attention on the climate crisis and the degradation we have caused our planet. From student climate strikes all over the world to organised protests against the corporations and industries responsible for huge amounts of emissions, there is greater immediacy in the way we view, talk and act about the biggest emergency we currently face. Much of it has been driven by the increasingly shocking figures of our climate that have been revealed by scientific studies, over and over again. Here are 11 major landmark studies that we have learned from this year:
1. 20 Fossil Fuel Companies Generate 1/3 Of All Global Emissions
An analysis by the United States-based Climate Accountability Institute confirms that 20 oil, gas and coal companies can be directly linked to over one third of all energy industry greenhouse gases in modern history.
2. Hong Kong’s Meat & Dairy Consumption Makes The City The 7th Biggest Polluter Worldwide
A University of Hong Kong study found that Hong Kong emits 109 megatonnes of carbon dioxide a year, making it the 7th highest emitter per capita. 62% of these emissions come from Hong Kong’s imported meat and dairy products.
3. 100 Million More People At Risk Of Poverty Due To Climate Inaction
The Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) report warned that unless we build climate resilient infrastructure and develop a sustainable food system, 100 million more people risk being driven into poverty by 2030, and 5 billion people will also be affected by water shortages.
4. Major Corporations Are Still Sourcing Palm Oil From 20+ Deforestation Linked Suppliers
A landmark Greenpeace report unveiled shocking figures about major consumer goods giants such as Mondelez, Nestlé, Unilever and P&G – all 4 of whom have continued to source from at least 20 suppliers linked to forest burning practices.
5. Ending Global Warming Will Cost US$50 Trillion
Analysts from Morgan Stanley estimated that in order to curb rising temperatures, we need to be spending at least US$50 trillion – or risk having to battle even greater losses in damages.
6. 7 Major Cities, Each With Over 15 Million People, Will Be Submerged
Goldman Sachs’ research institute found that the world’s largest cities, including New York, Tokyo, Lagos, Mumbai, Karachi, Dhaka and Shanghai will soon be partially submerged and face severe flooding due to sea level rise caused by global warming.
7. 2 Billion People Will Face Extreme Ocean Events Annually By 2050
The landmark IPCC cryosphere report says that we’re headed for a 4-metre sea level rise, which will affect 2 billion people on the planet (half the world’s megacities and coastal population).
8. 5-Year Period Ending This Year Was The Hottest On Record
The UN report outlined that within the past five years, the global average temperature increased by 1.1 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels, and 0.2 degrees celsius warmer than 2011-2015. This is the hottest period ever on record.
9. Asia-Pacific Won’t Achieve Any Of The 17 SDG Goals By 2030
According to a UN ESCAP report on Asia-Pacific’s progress towards achieving the Global Goals, the region is currently not on track to meet any of the targets by 2030, and is in fact regressing on a key number of them.
10. 300 Million People To Experience Severe Coastal Flooding By 2050
Scientists at Climate Central found that the land which currently houses 300 million will be affected by coastal flooding annually by 2050, even if we curb emissions right now. Many of these areas affected will be in Asia.
11. Singapore, Jakarta, Rangoon & Kuala Lumpur Uninhabitable By 2050
A study by ETH Zurich researchers found that cities situated in the Northern Hemisphere will have climates in 2050 that are 620 miles to their south today. This means that major cities like Singapore, KL, Jakarta and Rangoon will become uninhabitable due to flooding, droughts and water stress.
Lead image courtesy of Freepik.