Environment Facts & Figures

The U.S. has 5% of the earth’s population but uses about 35% of its resources.

Scientific American


By 2100, the costs of global warming due to hurricane damage, real estate losses, energy sector costs and water costs are estimated to be $1,873 trillion.

Natural Resources Defense Council


The net costs of climate change are projected to be significant and to increase over time. If the average global temperature rises 4°Celsius (7% Fahrenheit) above 1980-1999 levels, losses could be 1 to 5% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program)


Estimates of the net economic costs of damages from climate change aggregated across the globe are estimated to be $12 per ton of carbon dioxide (CO2). It is very likely that these figures underestimate the damage costs because they cannot include many non-quantifiable impacts.

Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program)


Each year, the United States emits over 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air. This is about a 9% increase from 1990 due to an overall growth in emissions from electricity generation and an increase in miles traveled by motor vehicles.

US Environmental Protection Agency


The United States leads the world in carbon dioxide emissions, with 16 tons per capita. Russia emits 12, China 7 and rest of the world 5 tons. The developing world releases .3 tons per person.

The World Bank


Impacts of climate change will vary regionally. It is virtually certain that estimates of costs mask significant differences in impacts across sectors, regions, countries and populations. In some locations and among some groups of people with high exposure, high sensitivity and/or low adaptive capacity, net costs will be significantly larger than the global average.

Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program)


25% of children under age 5 die each year because of preventable environmental hazards. Indoor and outdoor air pollution is one of the most extreme hazard. Water borne diseases include diarrhea, intestinal infections, malaria and dengue.

World Health Organization


1 average American uses as much electricity as:

  • 1.5 people in France
  • 2.2 people in Japan
  • 2.6 people in Germany
  • 5 people in South Africa
  • 34 people from India
  • 61 people from Nigeria

National Geographic


In the U.S, 64 million tons of carbon dioxide are released each year to make meat for dog and cat food — about 33% of the impact of all American meat consumption.

Time


About 1 billion people depend on ocean reefs for their protein. Approximately 50% of the world’s reefs have been lost in the last 30 years.

National Geographic


Germany gets about 30% of power from renewable sources such as solar and wind. On some days Denmark gets 100% of its energy from the wind. Sweden has pledged to become the first country in the world to be fossil fuel free.

National Geographic


The Pentagon views climate change as a national security issue because of the anticipated tensions over changing and limited resources.

National Geographic


NASA has over 20 satellites monitoring the earth’s weather and temperature every day.

National Geographic


The term “global warming” is a misnomer. For example, as Greenland’s glaciers melt, the water is disrupting the Gulf Stream and Europe is cooling.

National Geographic


200 million gallons of gasoline are used each year in the U.S. to cut lawns.

National Resources Defense Council, Environment and Human Health Inc. and the Environmental Protection Agency


Water

3 trillion gallons of water are used in the U.S. each year to water lawns.

National Resources Defense Council, Environment and Human Health Inc. and the Environmental Protection Agency


Between 1991 and 2000 over 665,000 people died in 2,557 natural disasters of which 90% were water related.

United Nations


80% of sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated directly into water bodies.

United Nations


Industry dumps an estimated 300-400 million tons of polluted waste in waters every year.

United Nations


Kiribati

Kiribati is a small island nation in the south Pacific ocean (pop. 112,000, and 6 feet in elevation above sea level)

In 1999 2 small islands of the island nation of disappeared underwater.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that sea levels will rise by about 20 inches by 2100 due to global warming and thus it is likely that within a century the nation’s arable land will become subject to increased soil salination and will be largely submerged.

In anticipation of this disaster, the nation has purchased land from Fiji– another island group about the size of New Jersey, 2,149 miles away — and adopted a “migration with dignity” policy for its population.

National Geographic


Beef

There are 3 major rain forests left in the world: Indonesia, Amazon and the Congo basin. These absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions — until they are burned — when they release it back into the atmosphere. Much of Indonesia’s forest is being destroyed to grow palm oil — a common, cheap ingredient in many processed foods. However the biggest reason for tropical deforestation is for cattle ranches to raise beef.

National Geographic


Approximately 33% of all US land is used to grow cattle feed. 1% is used to grow fruit, vegetables and nuts.

National Geographic


Cattle emit methane (another “greenhouse gas”) into the atmosphere. 1 methane module is equivalent to 23 carbon dioxide molecules. Nearly 100% methane in the atmosphere is from livestock.

National Geographic


10-12% of all US emissions is from cattle.

National Geographic


The “carbon footprint” of a 1/2 pound hamburger is equivalent to:

  • 200 hours of a 60 watt light bulb
  • 24 hours of air conditioning
  • Driving 42 miles in a Prius

National Geographic


Chickens need about 20% of the land and produce 10% of the greenhouse gas emissions as cows.

National Geographic


300 kilograms of carbon dioxide are emitted to produce 1 kilogram of beef.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


60 million barbecues consume enough energy to power 20,000 homes for a year. 300 barbecues consume enough energy to power 1 home for a year.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


Travel

77% of Americans drive alone and 5% use public transportation.

U.S. Census Bureau


Grams of carbon dioxide emission used per passenger:

285 for a jet flight.

245 for a boat cruise

220 in a small car

72 on a motorcycle

68 on a bus

14 on a train

The European Environment Agency


Air Conditioning

The average new single family home in the U.S. is 2,467 square feet and 93% of these have air conditioning. In 1975, the average new single family home was 1,535 square feet and 49% had air conditioning.

U.S. Census Bureau


6% of all electricity produced in the US is used for air conditioning. This releases 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.

The US Department of Energy and the Berkeley National Laboratory


900 million air conditioners are estimated to be in use currently.

1.6 billion air conditioners are projected to be in use by 2030

2.5 billion air conditioners are projected to be in use by 2050.

The US Department of Energy and the Berkeley National Laboratory