Environment Facts & Figures

17% of the world’s population consumes 80% of the world’s resources, leaving almost 5 billion people to live on the remaining 20%. As a result, billions of people are living without the very basic necessities of life – food, water, housing and sanitation.

World Centric


Over 8 million people die each year from air pollution – more than from smoking.

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).

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)


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.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC)


Each year the U.S. emits about 5 billion metric tons of energy-related carbon dioxide, while the world emits about 32 billion metric tons.

US Energy Information Administration


Per capita, the United States ranks 3rd in the world in carbon dioxide emissions with 15 tons per person.

Union of Concerned Scientists


Ways to reduce the amount of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere include reforesting approximately 4 million square miles, having renewable energy provide at least 70% of global electricity by 2050 and eliminating the use of coal.

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.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)


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


The average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer is about 11,000 kilowatthours (kWh), an average of about 914 kWh per month.

US Energy Information


Americans spend $350 billion a year on electricity – with 75% of the energy going to waste.

Environmental Defense Fund


66% of the energy in fossil fuels is lost — vented as heat — at most power plants in the U.S.

Environmental Defense Fund


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, Europe’s biggest economy, gets about 40% of power from renewable sources such as solar and wind. It is aiming to abandon nuclear power for renewables to provide 65% of its energy by 2030.

Reuters


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


Approximately 40% of the lakes in America are too polluted for fishing, aquatic life, or swimming.

Seametrics


The rate of Antarctic ice loss is times what it was 20 years ago.

60% of items bought in a year are thrown away within a year.

85% of registered voters support requiring electric utilities to use 100% clean, renewable energy by 2050.

Water

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

National Resources Defense Council


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


There are 1.4 billion cattle in the world. Cattle emit methane (another “greenhouse gas”) into the atmosphere. 1 methane module is equivalent to 23 carbon dioxide molecules. Livestock contributes about 40% of the methane added to the atmosphere each year.

National Geographic


About 25% of global warming is from methane.

Environmental Defense Fund


Oil and gas companies in the U.S. emit at least 9 million metric tons of methane pollution a year. 50% of all the industry’s methane emissions come from leaks.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


It takes massive amounts of water to convert fossil fuels to electricity. Coal- and gas-fired power plants use water for cooling. During hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” – a process for extracting oil and natural gas – large quantities of water are mixed with chemicals and sand and injected underground to help draw out the minerals. Renewables such as wind and solar, however, use negligible amounts of water in turning raw energy into usable electricity.

To power a home for a month, it takes:

687 gallons of water using coal

198 gallons of water using gas

26 gallons using solar

0 gallons using wind

Environmental Defense Fund


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 Toyota 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


75% of all homes in the United States have air conditioners. Air conditioners use about 6% of all the electricity produced in the United States, at an annual cost of about $29 billion to homeowners. As a result, roughly 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide are released into the air each year.

US Department of Energy


1.6 billion air conditioners are estimated to be in use currently and 5.6 billion air conditioners are projected to be in use by 2050.

International Energy Agency


Waste

As a nation, Americans generate more waste than any other nation in the world, officially with 4.4 pounds (2.0 kg) of municipal solid waste (MSW) per person per day, which amounts to 251 million tons a year.

Environmental Protection Agency


Approximately 139 million tons of trash are sent to landfills each year, where is slowly decomposes and produces green house gases. Plastic that is not recycled often ends up in the ocean and is especially harmful to wildlife.

Environmental Protection Agency


1 reusable water bottle = 167 plastic water bottles

1 reusable bag = 170 plastic bags

reusable cup = 500 coffee cups

1 metal straw = 540 plastic straws

1 cloth towel = 7,300 paper towels


Plastic

About 174 million tons of plastic packaging are produced globally each year but just 20% is recycled .

It takes about 450 years for a plastic bottle to decompose.