Broker Check
Climate Change Is Rapidly Altering Life On Earth

Climate Change Is Rapidly Altering Life On Earth

December 22, 2023

In 2023, the world witnessed some unprecedented effects of climate change, such as increasing temperatures, melting of Arctic ice, and catastrophic wildfires in Canada. However, amidst all the negative environmental impacts, there were some signs of hope as well. The world saw a steady shift from fossil fuels towards renewable energy, though not at the pace that some would prefer. Some species were declared extinct, while others appeared for the first time in decades. The 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act was celebrated, which highlighted that some of the species that were once on the brink of extinction are now thriving. In this article, we will discuss six environmental milestones from the past year, both good and bad.

-

The Climb of Temperatures

- - - - - - - - -  It's important to note that with just two weeks left, 2023 is on track to become the warmest year ever recorded - - - - - - - - - 

 Average temperatures have increased by approximately 2.5°F since the Industrial Revolution. This year, we experienced the hottest July, August, September, and October on record, with July being the hottest month ever recorded. On July 4, we experienced the warmest single day ever documented, possibly one of the warmest days in the past 125,000 years. The increase in global carbon emissions from fossil fuels is the primary driver behind such temperature increases, and they have also reached a new high in 2023, having increased by 1.1 percent since 2022. The extreme heat has been fueled by a strong El Niño event, which emerged this past spring in the Northern Hemisphere and developed rapidly during summer. According to the World Meteorological Organization, this weather pattern will likely lead to even higher temperatures in 2024.

-

The Spread of Fire Damage

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 In the year 2023, extreme weather events were frequent, but the wildfires that ravaged parts of Canada and polluted the skies over much of the United States stood out the most.

A staggering 45.7 million acres burned across the country, which was nearly three times the previous record, and an area approximately twice the size of Portugal. 

A recent study by the Copernicus Climate Change Service has found that the wildfires in Canada have resulted in the release of 410 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is equivalent to the amount of emissions produced by Mexico in 2021 and almost as much as the total emissions produced by human activity in Canada in 2022. The study warns that orange skies could be the norm in the future, and it's essential to prepare for such events.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Arctic & Antarctic  Experienced Unusually High Temperatures That Caused

T H E  M E L T I N G  O F  I C E

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The northernmost region of planet Earth is warming at a rate four times faster than the rest of the world. According to the Arctic Report Card published by NOAA in December 2023 was the warmest year ever recorded in the Arctic. In Greenland, temperatures at Summit Station, located high on the ice sheet, briefly rose above freezing on June 26, a phenomenon that has only occurred five times in the past 34 years.

At the other end of the planet, sea ice has reached a record low. Despite the warming ocean beneath it, Antarctic Sea ice had been stable for several years, melting almost completely every summer. Researchers have offered several explanations for this, but have always predicted that the time would come when Antarctic Sea ice would begin to retreat. That time has now arrived. The maximum extent of Antarctic Sea ice for the year was the lowest ever recorded, measuring 6.55 million square miles, almost 400,000 square miles less than the previous low. This is a cause for concern for Antarctic wildlife, such as penguins and seals, as sea ice is a crucial habitat for them.

-

-

The Use Of Renewable Energy Sources Is Increasing

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The COP28 conference on climate change ended in December with a promise to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030. Achieving this goal would require increased investment in the industry, which seems plausible considering that the use of renewable energy has already reached new heights in 2023.

In July, the International Energy Agency reported that global renewable energy capacity would grow by 440 gigawatts in 2023, which is 107 gigawatts higher than the growth seen in 2022. The majority of this growth is expected to come from solar cell capacity.

A recent report by energy think tank Ember revealed that wind and solar energy contributed 14.3% of the world's electricity in the first half of 2023, compared to 12.8% in 2022. During this period, solar generation reached monthly records in fifty countries. However, the generation of energy from hydropower declined slightly, primarily due to droughts in China.

-

-

Electric Vehicles Are Becoming Increasingly Popular

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The use of clean energy in personal transportation is gaining momentum. Although the sales of electric vehicles (EVs) were not as high as expected by automakers and the federal government, the number of EVs on roads has increased significantly in the U.S. and other countries. As per a study, global sales of common types of electric vehicles have risen by 20% this year. This includes a 43% increase in sales in the United States and Canada, and a 25% increase in China.

According to the Bloomberg NEF Zero Emission Vehicles Handbook, the number of battery-electric vehicles on the road is expected to increase by 26% by 2030 compared to 2022. The report also estimates that all zero-emission vehicles could account for up to 75% of global passenger vehicle sales in 2040. 

China is the primary driver of this increase, with over 25% of new passenger vehicle sales being electric vehicles.

-

-

Some Species Disappeared Forever

While Others Were Later Found After Being Lost Before

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A study conducted in May 2023 revealed that out of 71,000 animal species, 48% are experiencing declines, 49% are stable, and only 3% are seeing an increase in their populations. The same study also concluded that one-third of animal species that are not considered at-risk are still declining in numbers, putting their long-term survival in jeopardy.


The U.S. government recently removed 21 species from the endangered list due to extinction, including the Little Mariana fruit bat, the Bachman's warbler, and several species of birds, mussels, and fish. However, the survival of some species like bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and American alligators shows that conservation measures can make a difference.

Moreover, some species considered extinct were rediscovered in 2023, including a "golden mole that swims through sand" last seen in 1937, and a type of echidna named after Sir David Attenborough, having "the spines of a hedgehog, the snout of an anteater and the feet of a mole". They resurfaced in Indonesia after more than 60 years.

Source: 

Mulvaney, Kieran. “Signs of Alarm-and Reasons to Hope-for the Environment in 2023.” Environment, National Geographic, 15 Dec. 2023, www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/signs-of-alarm-hope-for-the-environment-year-review.

-

-