Fox Business] In the more than two decades since world leaders first got together to try to solve global warming, life on Earth has changed, not just the climate. It's gotten hotter, more polluted with heat-trapping gases, more crowded and just downright wilder.
The numbers are stark. Carbon dioxide
emissions: up 60 percent. Global temperature: up six-tenths of a degree.
Population: up 1.7 billion people. Sea level: up 3 inches. U.S. extreme
weather: up 30 percent. Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica: down
4.9 trillion tons of ice.
"Simply put, we are
rapidly remaking the planet and beginning to suffer the consequences,"
says Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences and international
affairs at Princeton University.
Diplomats from more
than 190 nations opened talks Monday at a United Nations global warming
conference in Lima, Peru, to pave the way for an international treaty
they hope to forge next year.
To see how much the
globe has changed since the first such international conference — the
Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 — The Associated Press scoured
databases from around the world. The analysis, which looked at data
since 1983, concentrated on 10-year intervals ending in 1992 and 2013.
This is because scientists say single years can be misleading and longer
trends are more telling.
Our changing world by the numbers:
1992, there have been more than 6,600 major climate, weather and water
disasters worldwide, causing more than $1.6 trillion in damage and
killing more than 600,000 people, according to the Centre for Research
on the Epidemiology of Disasters in Belgium, which tracks the world's
While climate-related, not all can be
blamed on man-made warming or climate change. Still, extreme weather has
noticeably increased over the years, says Debby Sapir, who runs the
center and its database. From 1983 to 1992 the world averaged 147
climate, water and weather disasters each year. Over the past 10 years,
that number has jumped to an average 306 a year.
the United States, an index of climate extremes — hot and cold, wet
and dry — kept by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
has jumped 30 percent from 1992 to 2013, not counting hurricanes, based
on 10-year averages.
NOAA also keeps track of U.S.
weather disasters that cost more than $1 billion, when adjusted for
inflation. Since 1992, there have been 136 such billion-dollar events. Read More