13 Nov 2019 at 11:30:50 - 0 comment(s)

The goal of this page is to give a succinct overview of the environment situation. Provide sources to argument the given facts. Give prediction including sources. Finally suggest possible solutions. This article will be updated every time I come across some information I believe noteworthy.


In no particular order:

  • We are in the middle of the 6th mass extinction event on Earth [1]
  • In 40 years, 400 million birds disappeared in Europe [2]
  • There is a decline of 60% of wild animals [3]
  • 80% of flying insects disappeared in Germany, depicted as an ecological Armageddon [4]
  • The extinction of insects is 10 times greater than mammals [5]
  • Extinction of species is 100 to 1000 times faster than normal rate in geological time [6]
  • 1 million species are threatened to go extinct in the short term (UN report) [7]
  • Pollution is killing 3 times more people than AIDS, TB And Malaria combined estimated to 9 million people dying early due to pollution [8]
  • Wild fires caused by climate change are now a global event which is a positive retro active loop since trees burn and release more co2 causing global warming leading to drier climate and more wild fires [9]
  • 2700 billion animals are killed each year for food [10]
  • The industrial fishing boats travel 460 million km each year consuming 19 billion kwh [11]
  • Humans represent 0.01% of living beings but destroyed 83% of wild mammals on earth since the beginning of civilisation 12000 years ago [12]
  • In 40 years, the population of fishes in fresh water declined by 88% in the world [13]
  • 3700 dams are planned or under construction in the world and dams greatly contribute to the decline above [14]
  • There is a 99.9999% chance global warming is caused by human or if we put it another way there is less than 1 chance in 100,000 that global average temperature over the past 60 years would have been as high without human-caused greenhouse gas emissions [15] / [16] / [17] / [18]
  • 74% of the world population will live under potentially mortal heat wave of more than 20 days by the end of the century [19]
  • There will be between 200 and 700 million climate refugees in the next decades, up to 1 billion by 2050 [20]
  • Today, 17 countries are under extreme water stress level and 27 under high stress level, 3 of them are in Europe [21]
  • We are under a direct existential threat, high likelihood of human civilization coming to an end by 2050. Our planet is a non linear system meaning that once we pass a threshold, there are positive retro active loops and it is then extremely difficult to go back or even impossible [22]
  • The permafrost is melting 50 times faster than what was predicted. The melting of the permafrost frees methan, a gas which has 25 times stronger greenhouse effect than co2. On top of that, the permafrost contains pathogen agents which can cause illnesses which we don't know how to treat. [23]
  • IPCC estimates the sea level will rise by up to 1m by the end of the century but 125,000 years ago, planet was 1 degree warmer than today (2 degrees above pre-industrial temperature) and the sea level was between 6 and 10m higher than today and we are currently heading towards 3 to 5 degrees above pre-industrial temperature. [24] / [25]
  • The "plastic ocean" is 3 times the size of France, its mass is growing exponentially [26]
  • The waste production is expected to increase by 70% in the next 30 years [27]
  • 130,000 square kilometers of forest are cut down or burned every year [28]
  • 3 old growth forest will disappear in the next 10 years: in paraguay, laos and equatorial guinea [29]
  • The co2 emissions are increasing each year [30]
  • Only 46% of trees left compared to before beginning of minkind 12000 years ago [31]
  • Global warming will cause a drastic increase of tropical illnesses [32]
  • Earth has lost a third of arable land in past 40 years. 1/3 of total land mass will be barren land, this will affect 2 to 3 billion people [33]
  • The melting of glaciers will result first in too much fresh water (this is already happening) and then too little which will affect 2.5 billion people that directly depend on it [34]
  • 800,000 tons of mercury will be freed from the permafrost and glaciers, those will end up in drinkable water [35]
  • In 11 years, half of the bats have disappeared [36]
  • This year (2019), 3 million ha of Siberian forest burnt, this represents the totality of belgium co2 emissions in a year [37]
  • There are 83 million people more to feed every year [38]
  • 98% of the pesticides which are being used are spreading somewhere else than on their target [39]
  • The plastic production has doubled since 2000 [40]
  • Meat consumption continues to rise [41]
  • Greenhouse gas concentrations again break records in 2018 with CO2 reaching 407.8 parts per million (ppm), an increase of 2.3 compared to 2017. Last time concentration was this high on Earth was three to five million years ago. Back then, the temperature was 2-3C warmer, sea level was 10-20m higher than now [42]
  • Total carbon emissions from all human activities reach 43.1 billion tons in 2019 [43] / [44]. In comparison, co2 out-gassed to the atmosphere and oceans today from volcanoes is estimated at 280 to 360 million tonnes so more than 100 times less than humanity's annual carbon emissions [45]
  • It is estimated that ski season length will be cut in half by 2050 in the U.S and that only 6 per cent of Ontario ski areas and 30 per cent in the US Northeast will still be able to remain economically viable [46]

Few comments

An infinite growth in a limited world is impossible, that's called an instability which leads to a crash.

A short one about the demography. In the last 2 centuries, Europe polluted the most. In the last 100 years it was the U.S. World population should peak at 11 billion around 2100 [47]. Being focused on demography is a mistake. The mankind propensity to occupy space is such that being less will change nothing. Let's not forget that 10% of humanity is responsible for 50% of CO2 emissions [48]

What you can do

As an individual, you can stop eating meat (or eat much less of it like once a week). Consume less, try to buy only what you need. Isolate your house. Try to use less water, less electricity. Travel less. Try to vote for people conscious of the issues and that want to do something about it because whatever effort you will make is great but won't be enough. What we need is a decarbonized economy.

Towards a decarbonized economy

To know how to reduce CO2 emissions, you need to know where they come from. Below is CO2 emissions by economic sector in Europe:

  • Electricity = 26%
  • Transports = 21%
  • Industry = 18%
  • Agriculture = 12%
  • Housing = 9%
  • Tertiary = 4%

And within those, the main source of CO2 emissions:

  • Coal = 20% of 26%
  • Cars = 10% of 21%
  • Production of basic materials such as cement, steel, basic chemicals = 15% of 18%
  • Cattle herd = 6% of 12%

9 propositions

  1. Electricity: close all coal power in the next 30 years in Europe. This should be done through regulation and pricing policy. Compensate by nuclear and renewable.
  2. Transports: reduce maximum consumption of cars to 2L/100km by 2030 so that by 2050 there is no car on the road consuming more. This should be done through regulation and taxation.
  3. Replace individual cars by better public transport/alternative solution: bus, car sharing, bike, walk, train. This should be done through regulation, public investments and taxation.
  4. Replace short distance flights by trains (within EU), do not open new airport/terminals. This should be done through regulation and public investments.
  5. Industry: divide production of primary materials (cement, plastics, etc...) by 3 to 4. This should be done through regulation, pricing policy, public investments.
  6. Housing: every house/building should be passive/very well isolated. This should be done through regulation and taxation.
  7. Public tertiary: renovate all the public building to reduce their carbon footprint (isolation/passive)
  8. Wood industry: develop sustainable forest economy, products in wood, energy. This should be done through regulation, pricing policy.
  9. Food: divide by at least 2 the size of cattle herd. This should be done through regulation, pricing policy.

We are running out of resources

The world is running out of sand: sand is the most-consumed natural resource on the planet besides water. People use some 50 billion tonnes of “aggregate” – the industry term for sand and gravel. In some part of the world, people steal and kill for it. [49]

Conventional crude oil production peaked in 2006, this means that since then production has been declining and has been compensated by unconventional methods. Overall peak oil forecasts range from the early 2020s to the 2040s. In the 1920's, oil was paying off at 100-to-1. It took one barrel of oil to extract, process, refine, ship and deliver 100 barrels of oil. Today it is 20-to-1 for conventional crude oil. In Canada, where the oil comes from tar sands, it's closer to 5-to-1. [50] / [51]

Earth's phosphorus is being depleted at an alarming rate. Nearly 90% of phosphorus is used in the global food supply chain, most of it in crop fertilizers. Peak phosphorus production is estimated to be reached in approximately 2030 [52] / [53]

India has just five years to solve its water crisis, experts fear [54]

Iran is running out of water [55]

Misc articles

The Collapse of Civilisation May Have Already Begun
US Military Could Collapse Within 20 Years Due to Climate Change


[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_extinction

[2] - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ele.12387

[3] - https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2018/11/animal-decline-living-planet-report-conservation-news/

[4] - https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/18/warning-of-ecological-armageddon-after-dramatic-plunge-in-insect-numbers

[5] - https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/10/plummeting-insect-numbers-threaten-collapse-of-nature

[6] - http://wwf.panda.org/our_work/biodiversity/biodiversity/

[7] - https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/environment/2019/05/one-million-species-risk-extinction-un-report-warns

[8] - https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/10/19/558821792/report-pollution-kills-3-times-more-than-aids-tb-and-malaria-combined?t=1573808572765

[9] - https://www.dw.com/en/how-climate-change-is-increasing-forest-fires-around-the-world/a-19465490

[10] - https://sentientmedia.org/how-many-animals-are-killed-for-food-every-day/

[11] - https://www.nationalfisherman.com/viewpoints/national-international/ais-tracks-fishing-boats-not-fishing-effort/

[12] - https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/21/human-race-just-001-of-all-life-but-has-destroyed-over-80-of-wild-mammals-study

[13] - https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190808115117.htm

[14] - https://news.mongabay.com/2019/03/the-hidden-costs-of-hydro-we-need-to-reconsider-worlds-dam-plans/

[15] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_consensus_on_climate_change

[16] - https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/02/26/global-warming-99-9999-percent-chance-humans-cause/2994043002/

[17] - https://www.iflscience.com/environment/99999-certainty-humans-are-driving-global-warming-new-study/

[18] - https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/

[19] - https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/06/heatwaves-climate-change-global-warming/

[20] - https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/03/19/climate-change-could-force-over-140-million-to-migrate-within-countries-by-2050-world-bank-report

[21] - https://www.wri.org/blog/2019/08/17-countries-home-one-quarter-world-population-face-extremely-high-water-stress

[22] - https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-global-warming-end-human-civilisation-research-a8943531.html

[23] - https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22549-arctic-permafrost-is-melting-faster-than-predicted/

[24] - https://www.forbes.com/sites/uhenergy/2018/06/15/is-the-ipcc-wrong-about-sea-level-rise/#b531c823ba01

[25] - http://theconversation.com/scientists-looked-at-sea-levels-125-000-years-in-the-past-the-results-are-terrifying-126017

[26] - https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22939-w

[27] - https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/immersive-story/2018/09/20/what-a-waste-an-updated-look-into-the-future-of-solid-waste-management

[28] - https://www.theworldcounts.com/counters/degradation_and_destruction_of_ecosystems/facts_on_deforestation

[29] - https://www.fastcompany.com/90340831/we-lost-a-belgium-sized-area-of-old-growth-forests-last-year

[30] - https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/25/worrying-rise-in-global-co2-forecast-for-2019

[31] - https://news.mongabay.com/2015/09/how-many-trees-are-cut-down-every-year/

[32] - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3066711/

[33] - https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/02/arable-land-soil-food-security-shortage

[34] - https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/04/a-third-of-himalayan-ice-cap-doomed-finds-shocking-report

[35] - https://phys.org/news/2019-09-climate-toll-oceans-ice_1_2.html

[36] - http://www.countrysideinfo.co.uk/habitats.htm

[37] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Siberia_wildfires

[38] - https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/world-population-prospects-2017.html

[39] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_pesticides

[40] - https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2019-03-05/single-use-plastic-ban-wwf-report/9918870

[41] - https://ourworldindata.org/meat-production

[42] - https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50504131

[43] - https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/co2-emissions-will-break-another-record-in-2019/

[44] - https://www.wri.org/blog/2019/12/co2-emissions-climb-all-time-high-again-2019-6-takeaways-latest-climate-data

[45] - https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-10/tca-sqg092419.php

[46] - https://uwaterloo.ca/news/news/ski-tourism-may-disappear-if-climate-commitments-not-met

[47] - https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/world-population-prospects-2019.html

[48] - https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/worlds-richest-10-produce-half-carbon-emissions-while-poorest-35-billion-account

[49] - https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20191108-why-the-world-is-running-out-of-sand

[50] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil

[51] - https://www.pri.org/stories/2012-11-02/energy-costs-oil-production

[52] - https://web.mit.edu/12.000/www/m2016/finalwebsite/solutions/phosphorus.html

[53] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_phosphorus

[54] - https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/27/india/india-water-crisis-intl-hnk/index.html

[55] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_crisis_in_Iran


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