Special Report

27 Climate Emergencies That Are Happening Now and Can’t Be Stopped

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1. Carbon dioxide levels above 400 ppm

The concentration of global atmospheric carbon dioxide now exceeds 400 parts per million (ppm). The last time there was such a high levels of CO2 was about 3 million years ago, when temperatures were considerably higher.

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2. Global warming so far: 1.0°C

Since the beginning of the 20th century, surface temperatures have increased by approximately 1.0 C, or 1.8 F. Even such a small increase has had drastic effects.

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3. Record heat

Since the year 2000, nearly every year has been one of the hottest on record. The last five years — 2014 through 2018 — have been the five warmest years in the NOAA’s 139 years of data.

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4. Hotter in the US

In the United States, annual surface temperatures have been, on average, 1.5 F hotter than in the previous century.

Source: Lukas Schulze / Getty Images

5. Hotter days ahead

In much of the contiguous United States, even under a conservative model, annual temperatures are expected to rise by 2-4 F by the middle of this century, with the biggest increases expected in the northern parts of the Midwest.

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