The key indicators below demonstrate how our climate is changing and the effect this is having on our precious ecosystems and biodiverse habitats.
Global Tree Cover Loss
The tropics lost 11.1 million hectares of tree cover in 2021, according to new data from the University of Maryland and available on Global Forest Watch. Of particular concern are the 3.75 million hectares of loss that occurred within tropical primary rainforests — areas of critical importance for carbon storage and biodiversity — equivalent to a rate of 1 football pitch every 6 seconds.
Currently, there are more than 147,500 species on The IUCN Red List (2022-1), with more than 41,000 species threatened with extinction, including 69% of cycads, 41% of amphibians, 37% of sharks and rays, 34% of conifers, 33% of reef building corals, 28% of crustaceans, 27% of mammals, 21% of reptiles and 13% of birds.
New research (Feb 2021) from Harvard University, in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester and University College London, found that more than 8 million people died in 2018 from fossil fuel pollution; meaning that air pollution from burning fossil fuels like coal and diesel was responsible for about 1 in 5 deaths worldwide.
For the past thousands of years, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has been 200-300 ppm. But since the beginning of the industrial revolution around 1760, CO2-levels have skyrocketed, to more than 420 ppm currently - the highest level of CO2 in atleast 4 million years.
According to the World Meterological Organisation Report on the State of the Global Climate, the global annual mean temperature in 2021 was around 1.11 ±0.13 °C above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial average. The most recent seven years, 2015 to 2021, are the seven warmest years on record.
According to the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC), the average Arctic sea ice extent for April 2022 was 14.06 million square kilometers. This was 630,000 square kilometers below the 1981 to 2010 average and ranked eleventh lowest in the 44-year satellite record.