Thirty Startling Numbers From the New IPCC Climate Report

The 3,675-page report is packed with facts and data that convey the severity of the risks facing us and what to do about them. Here is a small selection

A veterinary nurse tends to a koala recused from an area affected by wildfires in Australia, Jan. 9, 2020.
By Eric Roston and Leslie Kaufman
March 01, 2022 | 09:00 AM

Bloomberg — Released Monday, the latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability—is a doorstop of a publication that few people outside of the climate science and policy world will read. That doesn’t mean its contents aren’t important. While not covering anywhere near the full scope of the sprawling document, this selection of data points gives a sense of the risks that the authors lay out in alarming detail and strategies for reducing them. It all adds up to the stark warning delivered at the end of the report’s introductory summary: Climate change threatens human and planetary health, and the window for us to limit its destruction is “rapidly closing.”


A resident bails out flood water from a home in Padang Jawa, Selangor, Malaysia, Dec. 20, 2021.  Photographer: Samsul Said/Bloomberg

3.3 to 3.6 billion: Number of people globally living in settings that are “highly vulnerable” to climate change

44%: Share of all disaster events since the 1970s that have been related to flooding

4 or 5: Multiple by which direct damages from flooding would increase at 4°C of warming, compared to 1.5°C


2.5: Multiple by which urban land exposed to both floods and droughts is projected to increase between 2000 and 2030

15: Multiple by which floods, droughts and storms killed people in poor coastal countries versus rich coastal countries in the last decade

50%: Share of human population that may be exposed to periods of life-threatening climatic conditions arising from coupled impacts of extreme heat and humidity by 2100 in a low-emissions scenario


250: Upper estimate of additional days every year on which heat and humidity prevent outside labor, in a high-emissions scenario, by 2100, in parts of Asia, Africa and the Americas

34%: Share of disaster-related deaths connected to drought between 1970 and 2019

350 million: Additional people in urban areas projected to be exposed to water scarcity from drought at 1.5°C of warming

32 million: Lower estimate of additional people who could fall into extreme poverty by 2030 due to climate impacts without adaptation



Finnish Forests

44%: Share of species in biodiversity hotspots at high extinction risk due to climate change

3%-18%: Share of terrestrial animal species likely to face a very high risk of extinction at a global warming level of 2°C

420 million: Hectares of forest lost globally from 1990 to 2020, roughly the size of the combined forests of the United States and Indonesia.


41%: Percentage of major insect pest species that are expected to increase their damage to forests as the climate warms

2: Multiple by which wildfire-burned area increased in the western U.S. from 1984 to 2015 due to higher temperatures caused by climate change


Corinth and Saronic Gulf

2050: Date by which simulations project the Arctic Ocean will likely become practically free of summer sea ice for the first time

99%: Estimated percentage of the world’s coral lost with a temperature rise of 2°C


59: Kilometers per decade on average that marine ecosystems have moved poleward since the 1950s due to surface warming

3.5%: Percentage of currently protected ocean area that will provide refuge from accelerating warming and deoxygenation beyond 2050


Stunted corn growth due to drought during a heat wave in Buenos Aires province, Argentina, Jan. 11, 2022.

10%-25%: Projected increase in losses in global yields of rice, maize and wheat per degree of warming


$63 billion: Cost of losses and adaptation to crops with 1.5°C of warming

$128 billion: Cost of losses and adaptation to crops with 3°C of warming

5%: Decline in marine animal biomass for every 1°C of warming


2: Multiple by which marine heat waves are estimated to have increased in frequency between 1982 and 2016

550 million: Number of agricultural workers and small-scale fishers around the world who face significant losses above 1.5°C of warming


3.5%: Share of climate-related research funding globally between 1990 and 2019 that went to Africa


17%: Share of mobilized private finance related to climate change devoted to Africa from 2016 to 2018

3%-5%: Share of $3.7 billion of investment in adaptation projects in 2017 and 2018 that had an urban component

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