Ten of many markers to follow…Go To Resource GEO6, Global Environment Outlook, United Nations Environment Programme.
(1) Chronic reef bleaching began when CO2 reached 350 ppm in the 1980s. Bleaching occurs on average every six years but ten years are required to recover. Governments and citizens need to prepare for the collapse of reef dependent jobs by 2030.
(2). Eight million tons of plastic waste enter the ocean each year. Plastic is now found at all ocean depths. Concentrations – there are six ocean gyres – could reach as much as 250 million tons in the next 5 years.
(3) 5052 species of mammals, birds and amphibians are threatened or near-threatened with extinction. Seventy percent of the threats relate to land use changes, subsequent habitat loss, invasive species and pollution.
The balance comes from warming, extreme weather and over exploitation (includes poaching, illegal trade, hunting and overfishing… connect the dot to displacement of indigenous people. Between 1975 and 2015 unstainable fishing increased from 10% to 33%… Fishing and post harvest employs 116 million people, 47% women. Maxwell 2016, IUCN 2018, reported in GEO 6 / p.148
(4) There are fourteen categories of types of land. Between 2001 and 2012 eight of these categories land cover declined by more than 15% (mangroves losing > 25%). Ten of these fourteen experienced declines in vegetation; four, increased, including tundra by >7%
(5) Deforestation accounts for 6.5 million hectares (16 million acres) per year, down from >10 million ha in the 1990s. The area covered by cities has grown by 250% since 1975, while 3 billion urban dweller lack proper sanitation.
(6) Since 1984 harvested area has increased by 23% while food and fodder production rose 80% … connect the dot to fertilizer, pesticides and seeds. Three-quarters of agricultural land is used for feed production for livestock, while livestock provides < 20% of dietary energy and 1/3rd of protein needs of humans.
(7) 1.4 million people die from pathogen polluted drinking water. Disease burden worldwide could be reduced by 10% with improved drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.
(8) 70% of global water withdrawals relate to agriculture, primarily irrigation. 25% of agricultural land is irrigated but it supplies 50% of food. 60% of water does not reach the crops. 10% of irrigated land is contaminated by salination. By 2050 at least 50% more food is needed.
(9) Carbon dioxide emissions have grown by > 40% between 1990 (the original UNFCCC base year & decarbonization target) and 2014. Electricity and fuel production is the largest emitter of CO2, SO2 and CH4, with electricity accounting for more than 70%. Electricity demand is expected to grow by more than 65% by 2040.
(10) Indoor and urban air pollution account for 6 to 7 million premature deaths yearly. Between 2.6 and 3.8 million of those deaths relate to burning coal, waste, wood and kerosene for cooking, heating and lighting.