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ARE WE FACING A MAN-MADE SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION?



  Jun 10, 2024

ARE WE FACING A MAN-MADE SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION?



One million of the world’s estimated 8 million species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction. Climate change statistics reveal a dire situation. Delhi has recorded India’s highest temperature at 52.3 degrees Celsius. In the past 170 years, 2.4 trillion tons of CO2 have been added to our atmosphere, half of this in the last 50 years. The extinction rate is nearly 1,000 times the natural rate. By mid-century, 30-50% of species on Earth may disappear. Nearly 27% of coral reefs are destroyed, and the US throws away enough plastic bottles weekly to encircle the Earth five times.

Climate Change Impact:

• Global Temperature: 2023 was the hottest year on record. Average global temperatures were 2.12 degrees F warmer than the 20th-century average. Two-thirds of extreme weather events in the past 20 years were influenced by humans. Floods and heavy rain instances have quadrupled since 1980. The IPCC report indicates that 99% of coral reefs could be lost with a 2°C temperature increase.

• Carbon Dioxide Levels: The concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere is at its highest in human history. The last time CO2 levels were this high was more than three million years ago, when sea levels were much higher, and trees grew at the South Pole. Approximately 25% of greenhouse gas emissions come from land clearing, crop production, and fertilization, with animal-based food contributing significantly to these numbers.

• Extinction Rate: Dozens of species of plants and animals go extinct each day, nearly 1,000 times the natural rate. By mid-century, as many as 30-50% of the species on Earth may disappear. Between 1970 and 2016, there has been a 68% average decline in the population sizes of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish.

• Rising Sea Levels: By 2050, global mean sea levels are predicted to rise almost 1 foot compared to 2000 levels and above 3 feet by 2100. Many major cities around the world could be submerged, leading to severe consequences for human populations.

• Food Insecurity: Climate change limits the availability and quality of water for drinking and agriculture. This exacerbates food insecurity, with 720 million to 811 million people currently undernourished and 2.3 billion affected by malnutrition.

• Human Health: Climate change is projected to adversely impact child undernutrition, increase diet-related morbidity and mortality, and cause additional yearly deaths due to diseases like malaria and coastal flooding. Vulnerable regions experience higher death rates from extreme weather events.

• Wealth Disparity: The richest 1% of the world’s population is responsible for more than twice as much carbon emissions as the poorest 50%. Industrial activities of 100 companies owned by the wealthiest individuals contribute to over 70% of global emissions.


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