Special Report

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

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22. Less snow cover

Snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased by about 0.2 million square miles — slightly larger than the size of California — since the 1970s.

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23. Forest fires more common

Since the turn of the century, there have been 10 years in which at least 7 million acres burned. This only happened in one year between 1956 and 1999.

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24. More acidic ocean

The ocean has absorbed carbon dioxide and become 30% more acidic in the past 200 years, the fastest increase in acidification in 50 million years.

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25. Dying coral reefs

Coral reefs are dying at alarming rates due to a number of reasons, including ocean water pollution, acidification, warming, overfishing, and other human activity.

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26. Coral extinction

Coral reef death will likely get much worse. Scientists estimate that an average surface temperature increase of 1.5 C will lead to a 70% to 90% loss of coral reefs in the coming years.

Source: Mario_Hoppmann / Getty Images

27. Widespread extinction

Global warming has already affected the habitats of numerous species, and as temperatures continue to rise, conditions will become even worse. An additional 0.5 C increase in global average temperature could put as much as 30% of all species on Earth at risk of extinction.

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