As the world comes up on the 10th anniversary of George W. Bush’s Kyoto Protocol and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth that both addressed the issue of climate change, every scientist who had taken down data concerning climate changes has reviewed his or her scientific notebook. It was found that at least 10 significant changes have occurred between then and now.
- In 2006, the United States was the top carbon dioxide emitter in the world. Regardless of any treaties, it may not have been the climate that made the U.S. switch from coal to natural gas, but the boost it gave the economy. Today, the U.S. is the second top emitter of carbon dioxide.
- Steady growth in world population, from 6.5 billion in 2006 to 7.4 billion today indicates that by 2100 there could be as many as 12.3 billion people on the planet, which is more than it can sustain under today’s conditions.
- Sea levels are rising so quickly that by 2100 they could be 3 ft. higher than they are right now.
- The Arctic ice is melting twice as fast as it is anywhere else. The past ten years have offered 9 out of the 10 lowest ice levels ever.
- From the genocide that killed hundreds of thousands in Darfur Sudan in 2006 to the Syrian conflict that has taken the lives of more than 400,000, changes in the environment have played a factor in the lost lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Though it wasn’t the only factor, the change in climate meant changes in the environment that forced farmers to migrate and many resources to be lost.
- Though there were 28 major storms in 2006, the number has dropped dramatically. The prediction is that the hotter the planet gets, the fewer hurricanes will occur, but those hurricanes will get more intense as the planet warms.
- Between 1989 and 2007, Kilimanjaro’s ice has receded by 20%. It’s retreated 85% since 1912 and, by the end of 2016, it could be gone completely.
- 2016 is expected to be the hottest year on record, and 2015 was the hottest year on record so far.
- Carbon dioxide levels have been rising since the Industrial Revolution, so much so that they are currently at 400 ppm, and growing by 3 ppm every year. If they reach the predicted 450 ppm by 2100, it will cause dangerous changes in the climate.
- Humans have taken over the ability to change the planet. As of now, the Anthropocene Era has begun: an era that means humans now shape the planet more than nature.
An Inconvenient Truth may have opened the eyes of the world, but it didn’t stop the numbers from going in one scientific notebook to the next. If anything, the situation has only gotten worse. Humans don’t seem to be motivated to change things unless it has an immediate impact on their lives. Finances are typically where people focus the most, so selling climate change may be the only answer.