Updated Climate Change 101 Series Released

Kicking off the new year, we released an update of its Climate Change 101 series. Climate Change 101: Understanding and Responding to Global Climate Change is made up of brief reports on climate science and impacts; adaptation measures; technological and business solutions; and international, U.S Federal, State, and local action. Last released in January of 2009, the updated reports highlight the significance of the global negotiations, climate-related national security risks, local efforts to address climate change, the most recent predictions on global temperature changes, and more.

Notable updates include:

  • Based on data from the U.S. National Climatic Data Center, the 27 warmest years since 1880 all occurred in the 30 years from 1980 to 2009.
  • In absolute terms, China surpassed the United States in 2006 as the largest annual emitter and is currently responsible for 21 percent of global GHG emissions. China’s per capita emissions are expected to be a third more than the world average in 2020 but will still be about 40 percent of those of the United States.
  • From 2001 to 2009, investments in U.S.-based clean energy technology companies grew from less than 1 percent to 12 percent of total venture capital investments with the size of annual clean technology venture investments growing more than six-fold.
  • According to the reinsurance company Swiss Re, economic losses from climate-related disasters are already substantial and rising: insured losses have jumped from an annual $5 billion to $27 billion during the past 40 years, and without further investments in adaptation to minimize the impacts of climate change, climate risks could cost some countries up to 19 percent of annual GDP by 2030.

The Climate Change 101 series can be found here.

Sam Wurzelmann is the Innovative Solutions Fellow