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15 Climate Change Facts That You'll Know Are True If You're Not An Idiot

Let's not all get swallowed by floods and eviscerated by drought, ya know?

Posted on April 22, 2017, at 3:29 p.m. ET

1. Let's clear this up: the overwhelming majority of climate scientists — aka the experts — believe that climate change is REAL, happening, and is caused largely by humans.

2. Earth is getting hotter. And the average temperature has increased by 1.5°F over the last century.

That temperature is anticipated to increase another 0.5 to 8.6°F over the next hundred years. The size of the increase largely depends on what we do to cut greenhouse gasses.

3. This is a problem not only because blast furnace summers would suck, but because these changes in temperature — which might seem small — can lead to dangerous changes in climate and weather.

KTLA / Via

Among those changes include glaciers melting, sea levels rising, and many areas of the planet already seeing severe heat waves, floods, and drought.

4. An estimated 82 million people will endure increases in wildfires due to climate change.

Places like northern California, Western Oregon, and the Great Plains will feel this the most. And these wildfires will increase asthma and deadly respiratory diseases, among other things.

5. Scientists estimate that by 2050 over a million species will face extinction if we continue at the projected rate of global warming.


That means 1 in 10 animals will vanish.

6. A 2015 study found that these increases in temperature will lead to plants having fewer days to grow and potentially less crops for us to consume.

7. It's predicted that sea levels will rise between a foot and and 8.2 feet by 2100. To put that in perspective, if the levels rise by just three feet, 4.2 million American homes would be at a flood risk.

This is according to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — again, the experts — just so we're all clear.

8. Wild polar bears are facing extinction unless we decrease our levels of greenhouse gases.

Jackf / Getty Images

Some polar bear populations would go extinct sooner than others. Federal scientists concluded that disappearing sea ice means the "Beaufort Sea population of polar bears will disappear by the end of the century."

9. In 1850, Glacier National Park in Montana was home to over 150 glaciers. Today it has just 25, and is expected to lose all of its glaciers to global warming by 2030.

Harvey Meston / Getty Images

10. As of 2015, over 40% of the world's coral reefs have been killed off due to global warming, which could lead many plants and animals toward extinction.

Rainer Von Brandis / Getty Images

The above photo is of coral bleaching, which occurs when coral reefs detect strong changes in the environment (like temperature), and often leads to destruction of the reef itself.

11. In terms of CO2 emissions (aka global-warming pollution), the US is pretty terrible. While me make up just 4% of the world’s population, we produce 16% percent of all global CO2 emissions.

Comedy Central

China is the only country to top us, producing 28% of all CO2 emissions.

12. The two biggest sources of these gases in the US are coal-burning power plants and transportation.


13. And if we want to reduce the warming temperatures in the ocean, the only way to do that is to radically decrease our emission of greenhouse gases.


The gases we've already released into the environment will take centuries to vanish.

14. Luckily, there are actual ways you can help save our planet and cut down on global warming, including small changes like buying LED lightbulbs, making sure your tires are fully inflated, turning off the lights when you leave, and recycling.

If you're looking to make bigger changes — call your local government representatives to let them know you don't want to die in a fiery hellscape, drive a hybrid or electric vehicle, and commit to eating less meat.

15. Making changes aren't easy, but together we can all make a big difference and, ya know, save the planet.

Fox / Via

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.