Category: Climate Change

5 Things to Know About Europe’s Scorching Heatwave


This post is by Nick Routley from Visual Capitalist


5 Things to Know About Europe’s Scorching Heatwave

5 Things to Know About Europe’s Scorching Heatwave

For the last few months, Europe’s smoldering heatwave has been wreaking havoc across the region, causing destructive wildfires, severe droughts, and thousands of deaths.

The EU’s record-breaking temperatures are making headlines around the world, as experts worry these extreme heatwaves could be the region’s new normal.

Given the volume of coverage on the topic, we sifted through dozens of articles and Twitter threads (so you don’t have to) and complied a list of the five major things to know about Europe’s smothering heatwave.

① High Temperatures are Shattering Records

Temperatures have been hitting all-time highs across the region.

On Monday, July 18, dozens of towns across France reported record-breaking temperatures of up to 42°C (107.6°F). In the same week, the U.K. experienced its hottest day on record at 40.3°C (104.5°F), breaking Britain’s previous record of (38.7°C) 101.7°F that was set back in 2019.

The heat in London was so unprecedented, the city’s national rail service issued a warning to the public, urging passengers to stay home and only travel if necessary. Some major rail lines were even closed for parts of the day on Tuesday, July 19.

② Europe is Feeling the Burn

The smoldering heat is fueling disastrous wildfires across the continent. As of July 20, an estimated 1,977 wildfires have blazed across the region in 2022—almost 3x the average amount, according to historical data from the European Forest Fire Information System.

Mediterranean countries have been hit particularly hard, (Read more...)

Visualizing the Impact of Rising Sea Levels, by Country


This post is by Carmen Ang from Visual Capitalist


Climate change is already causing sea levels to rise across the globe. In the 20th century alone, it’s estimated that the mean global sea level rose by 11-16 cm.

How much will sea levels change in the coming years, and how will it affect our population?

In the below series of visualizations by Florent Lavergne, we can see how rising sea levels could impact countries in terms of flood risk by the year 2100.

These graphics use data from a 2019 study by Scott Kulp and Benjamin Strauss. Their study used CoastalDEM—a 3D graphics tool used to measure a population’s potential exposure to extreme coastal water levels—and examined rising sea levels under different levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Flood Risk By Region

Which countries will be most severely affected by rising sea levels?

If things continue as they are, roughly 360 million people around the world could be at risk of annual flood events by 2100. Here’s what those figures look like across each region:

Africa

Number of people in Africa that will be affected by rising sea levels in 2100

On the continent of Africa, one of the countries with the highest number of people at risk of coastal flooding is Egypt.

Over 95% of Egypt’s population lives along the Nile river, with some areas situated at extremely low elevations. The country’s lowest point is 133 m below sea level.

Asia

Number of people in Asia that will be affected by rising sea levels in 2100

Asia’s population will be more heavily impacted by flooding than any other region included in the dataset.

According to the projections, 70% of the people that will be affected (Read more...)

Visualizing the Impact of Rising Sea Levels, by Country


This post is by Carmen Ang from Visual Capitalist


Climate change is already causing sea levels to rise across the globe. In the 20th century alone, it’s estimated that the mean global sea level rose by 11-16 cm.

How much will sea levels change in the coming years, and how will it affect our population?

In the below series of visualizations by Florent Lavergne, we can see how rising sea levels could impact countries in terms of flood risk by the year 2100.

These graphics use data from a 2019 study by Scott Kulp and Benjamin Strauss. Their study used CoastalDEM—a 3D graphics tool used to measure a population’s potential exposure to extreme coastal water levels—and examined rising sea levels under different levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Flood Risk By Region

Which countries will be most severely affected by rising sea levels?

If things continue as they are, roughly 360 million people around the world could be at risk of annual flood events by 2100. Here’s what those figures look like across each region:

Africa

Number of people in Africa that will be affected by rising sea levels in 2100

On the continent of Africa, one of the countries with the highest number of people at risk of coastal flooding is Egypt.

Over 95% of Egypt’s population lives along the Nile river, with some areas situated at extremely low elevations. The country’s lowest point is 133 m below sea level.

Asia

Number of people in Asia that will be affected by rising sea levels in 2100

Asia’s population will be more heavily impacted by flooding than any other region included in the dataset.

According to the projections, 70% of the people that will be affected (Read more...)

Ranked: Emissions per Capita of the Top 30 U.S. Investor-Owned Utilities



The following content is sponsored by the National Public Utilities Council

Ranked: Emissions per Capita of the Top 30 U.S. Investor-Owned Utilities

Emissions per Capita of the Top 30 U.S. Investor-Owned Utilities

Approximately 25% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) come from electricity generation.

Subsequently, this means investor-owned utilities (IOUs) will have a crucial role to play around carbon reduction initiatives. This is particularly true for the top 30 IOUs, where almost 75% of utility customers get their electricity from.

This infographic from the National Public Utilities Council ranks the largest IOUs by emissions per capita. By accounting for the varying customer bases they serve, we get a more accurate look at their green energy practices. Here’s how they line up.

Per Capita Rankings

The emissions per capita rankings for the top 30 investor-owned utilities have large disparities from one another.

Totals range from a high of 25.8 tons of CO2 per customer annually to a low of 0.5 tons.

UtilityEmissions Per Capita (CO2 tons per year)Total Emissions (M)
TransAlta25.816.3
Vistra22.497.0
OGE Energy21.518.2
AES Corporation19.849.9
Southern Company18.077.8
Evergy14.623.6
Alliant Energy14.414.1
DTE Energy14.229.0
Berkshire Hathaway Energy14.057.2
Entergy13.840.5
WEC Energy13.522.2
Ameren12.831.6
Duke Energy12.096.6
Xcel Energy11.943.3
Dominion Energy11.037.8
Emera11.016.6
PNM Resources10.55.6
PPL Corporation10.428.7
American Electric Power9.250.9
Consumers Energy8.716.1
NRG Energy8.229.8
Florida Power and Light8.041.0
Portland (Read more...)

How Far Are We From Phasing Out Coal?


This post is by Bruno Venditti from Visual Capitalist


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How Far Are We From Phasing Out Coal?

How Far Are We From Phasing Out Coal?

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

At the COP26 conference last year, 40 nations agreed to phase coal out of their energy mixes.

Despite this, in 2021, coal-fired electricity generation reached all-time highs globally, showing that eliminating coal from the energy mix will not be a simple task.

This infographic shows the aggressive phase-out of coal power that would be required in order to reach net zero goals by 2050, based on an analysis by Ember that uses data provided by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Low-Cost Comes at a High Environmental Cost

Coal-powered electricity generation rose by 9.0% in 2021 to 10,042 Terawatt-hours (TWh), marking the biggest percentage rise since 1985.

The main reason is cost. Coal is the world’s most affordable energy fuel. Unfortunately, low-cost energy comes at a high cost for the environment, with coal being the largest source of energy-related CO2 emissions.

China has the highest coal consumption, making up 54% of the world’s coal electricity generation. The country’s consumption jumped 12% between 2010 and 2020, despite coal making up a lower percentage of the country’s energy mix in relative terms.

Top Consumers2020 Consumption (Exajoules)Share of global consumption
China ??82.354.3%
India ??17.511.6%
United States ??9.26.1%
Japan ??4.63.0%
(Read more...)

Visualizing the World’s Loss of Forests Since the Ice-Age


This post is by Omri Wallach from Visual Capitalist


How to Use: To navigate this slideshow, click the arrows on the sides of each image or use the arrow keys on your keyboard.

The World’s Loss of Forests Title

Visualizing The World’s Loss of Forests Since the Ice-Age

How much of Earth used to be covered by forests, and what portion is covered today?

The effects of deforestation on the climate are already being seen and felt, and these repercussions are expected to increase with time. That’s why more than 100 world leaders pledged to end and reverse deforestation by 2030 at the COP26 climate summit.

As today’s graphic using data from Our World in Data highlights, the world’s forests have been shrinking since the last ice age at an increasingly rapid pace.

Earth’s Surface Area: 10,000 Years Ago

To examine the deforestation situation properly, it helps to understand Earth’s total available surface area. After all, our world can feel massive when glancing at maps or globes. But of the roughly 51 billion hectares in total surface area on Earth, more than 70% is taken up by oceans.

What’s left is 14.9 billion hectares of land, not all of which is habitable. Here is how the land was allocated 10,000 years ago, after the last ice age and before the rise of human civilizations.

Uninhabitable land on Earth (10,000 years ago):

  • Barren land (19% or 2.8bn ha)—Includes deserts, salt flats, exposed rocks, and dunes
  • Glaciers (10% or 1.5bn ha)—The vast majority concentrated in Antarctica

Habitable land on Earth (10,000 years ago):

The Impact of Carbon Removal Technologies



The following content is sponsored by the AFRY

Carbon Removal Technologies

The Impact of Carbon Removal Technologies

According to climate scientists worldwide, global warming and the inevitable climate change can lead to severe catastrophic disasters. The only way to avoid this is to reduce greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global temperature rise must be limited to 1.5oC. To achieve this, current CO2 emissions must drop by 50% by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050.

The following infographic by AFRY showcases how carbon removal technologies help facilitate the reduction of environmental CO2 emissions and the role companies play in helping achieve these goals.

How Carbon Offset Technologies Can Help

The most common way to reduce CO2 emissions is through carbon offset technologies, namely avoided emissions and carbon removal. Though they serve a similar purpose, these two methods are fundamentally different.

One metric ton of CO2 is reduced or avoided for every metric ton of CO2 emitted in avoided emissions. This still leads to a positive increase in emissions overall.

On the other hand, carbon removal technologies completely remove and store one metric ton of CO2 for every metric ton of CO2 emitted.

Carbon removal technologies have a distinct advantage over the avoided emissions. For this reason, they could be the future of CO2 emissions reduction. They are divided into short-term and long-term methods based on the CO (Read more...)

Comparing the Carbon Footprint of Transportation Options


This post is by Govind Bhutada from Visual Capitalist


Carbon footprint of transportation

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The Briefing

  • Flying domestically and driving alone are the most carbon-intensive travel methods
  • Taking a train instead of a short flight could reduce your emissions by 84%

The Carbon Footprint of Transportation

As concern about climate change has grown, individuals are becoming increasingly conscious of their impact on the environment.

Transportation emissions often make up the largest portion of our individual carbon footprints. For that reason, evaluating transport options is a natural place to start, whether it is for a daily commute or a leisure trip abroad.

So, what’s the most eco-friendly way to go from one place to another?

The above infographic charts the carbon footprint of transportation per passenger-kilometer for different vehicles based on data from the UK Government’s methodology paper for greenhouse gas reporting.

Editor’s note: Because the original labels in the study are very UK-specific, we have changed the copy of some of the labels to better suit an international audience.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: How Carbon Footprints Compare

The carbon footprint of transportation is measured in grams of carbon dioxide (CO (Read more...)

Irrecoverable Carbon: The Importance of Preventing Deforestation



The following content is sponsored by the Carbon Streaming Corporation

 

Irrecoverable Carbon

The Briefing

  • Researchers have identified natural places that the world cannot afford to lose due to their irreplaceable carbon reserves, known as “irrecoverable carbon”
  • Nearly 50% of global irrecoverable carbon is found in forests

Irrecoverable Carbon: Preventing Deforestation

The Earth is home to some natural ecosystems that function as carbon vaults, storing massive amounts of carbon. Researchers developed the concept of “irrecoverable carbon” to identify areas on the basis of three criteria relevant for conservation:

  1. Manageability: How they can be influenced by direct and local human actions
  2. Vulnerability: The magnitude of carbon lost upon disturbance
  3. Recoverability: The recoverability of carbon stocks following loss

Applying the three criteria across all ecosystems reveals that some places contain carbon that humans can manage, and if lost, could not be recovered by 2050, when the world needs to reach net-zero.

The above graphic sponsored by Carbon Streaming Corporation charts global irrecoverable carbon by land area, highlighting important ecosystems that function as carbon sinks.

Breaking Down the Earth’s Irrecoverable Carbon

According to researchers Noon, M.L., Goldstein, A. et al., natural ecosystems contain around 139.1 ± 443.6 gigatonnes (Gt) of irrecoverable carbon globally. (Because the amount of stored carbon cannot be negative, the researchers restrained the uncertainty to 0–582.7 Gt.)

Here’s a breakdown of global irrecoverable carbon by ecosystem type:

EcosystemTotal Irrecoverable Carbon (Gt)% of Global Total
Tropical and subtropical forest41.129.5%
Boreal and temperate peat23.416.9%
Tropical (Read more...)

Interactive: Natural Disasters Around the World Since 1900


This post is by Raul Amoros from Visual Capitalist


Interactive: Natural Disasters Around the World Since 1900

While natural disasters are inevitable and commonplace within the context of human history, that doesn’t lessen our collective shock when they occur.

Here are just a few of the natural disasters that made headlines last year:

  • Haiti was rocked by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that killed more than 2,000 people Tens of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed.
  • Super typhoon, Rai, killed 375 people in the Philippines. The storm brought winds as high as 120 mph (193 kph)
  • Landslides in China’s Henan province kill more than 300 people
  • Historic flooding results in more than 200 fatalities in Germany and Belgium
  • Hurricane Ida battered the Gulf Coast, killing 91 people across nine U.S. states

And these are just some of the many events that rounded out a long list of disasters in 2021.

The interactive dashboard above was created by Our World in Data, using data came from EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database. The database aims to rationalize decision making for disaster preparedness and to provide an objective base for vulnerability assessment.

Total Deaths by Natural Disaster in the Last Decade (2010-2019)

In the past decade, approximately 60,000 people per year died from natural disasters. This represents 0.1% of total deaths worldwide.

The chart below breaks down the total deaths by type of natural disaster in the last decade.

Type of Natural DisasterTotal Deaths (2010-2019)
Earthquakes267,480
Extreme Temperatures74,244
Floods50,673
Storms27,632
Droughts20,120
Landslides10,109
Volcanic (Read more...)