The hard truths of climate change — by the numbers

Bruno Rodriguez is only 18, but he has seen enough in his time on Earth to know that he must to do something for the planet. Inspired by the student climate strikes in Europe, he founded Youth for Climate Argentina in his home country. The group drew more than 8,000 demonstrators to the national congress in May, and its leaders worked with senators to pass a resolution on 17 July, declaring a climate emergency.

Nature documents the scale of the challenge in an infographic that explores energy use, carbon dioxide pollution and issues of climate justice. At a time when countries have pledged to curb greenhouse gases sharply, the data show that annual emissions spiked by 2.1% in 2018 — owing in part to increased demand for coal in places such as China and India.

As global temperatures rise, they put billions of people at risk of heatwaves, water shortages and a range of other problems. And these impacts fall hardest on the poorest and most vulnerable people. The map below shows the cumulative risks from major climate impacts with 2 °C of warming; the chart estimates how many people would be affected by a selection of those risks.

The hard truths of climate change--by the numbers

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