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Facts and figures

"We must limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees. We are far from there, and even that is enough to cause dire consequences. If we continue along the current path, we are close to a 6 degree increase."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations (February 2013)

  • Since the beginning of the industrial era, the  pH of the ocean has decreased by 0.1 due to CO2 uptake. This change corresponds to a 26 percent increase in acidity (IPCC, 2014).
  • A world in which average temperatures reach 4°C above pre-industrial levels would likely see unprecedented heat waves, severe drought, major flooding and up to 1 meter of sea level rise (IPCC, 2013).
  • Of overall climate finance, $22 billion is spent on climate adaptation, compared to $337 billion spent on climate mitigation (Climate Policy Initiative, 2013)
  • Nearly half the world's population, 2.8 billion people, survive on less than $2 a day.
  • About 20 percent of the world's population, 1.2 billion people, live on less than $1 a day.
  • One billion people  do not have safe water. (http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/briefingpapers/food/vitalstats.shtml)
  • In Africa alone, climate change will expose between 75-250 million more people to increased water stress by 2020.
  • Since the 1960s, the Sahel region of Africa has experienced a 25 per cent decline in rainfall.
  • About 805 million people are estimated to be chronically undernourished (Source: State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2014 )
  • The current world population of 7.2 billion is projected to increase by 1 billion over the next 12 years and reach 9.6 billion by 2050 (http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL)
  • By 2050 food production needs to increase by 70 per cent, but the total arable area in developing countries may increase by no more than 12 per cent, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.
  • About 95 per cent of African agriculture depends on rainfall.
  • Agriculture accounts for 14 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, and forestry for 18 per cent.
  • There are around 500 million smallholder farms in the world. Smallholders provide up to 80 per cent of food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Indigenous peoples make up about one third of the world's 900 million extremely poor rural people
  • Estimates suggest that if women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20–30 percent, lifting 100-150 million out of hunger. *
  •  For those developing countries for which data are available, only between 10 and 20 percent of all land holders are women.*
  • The range of estimations on the cost of mitigation and adaptation is between US$110 and US$275 billion per year in poor countries. Most estimates are based on warming higher than 2ºC. Many scientists believe that the current level of political ambition is putting the world on track for a 4 degree centigrade warming.
  •  It is calculated that the number of people affected by climate-related humanitarian crisis will rise by 54 per cent to 375 million by 2015.


* Source: FAO (2011). The State of Food and Agriculture: Women in Agriculture, Closing the Gender Gap for Development, Rome)