Can climate change be curbed?

Screenshot of map from Responding to Climate Change, rtcc.org.

This week, leaders from around the world are convening in Lima, Peru to work out a deal to address climate change. Up for discussion is a feasible plan to limit countries’ greenhouse emissions, and whatever the delegation comes up with is expected to be adopted next year.

Many observers say the Lima talks may the best chance at getting a real climate change agreement any time soon, and so they say the stakes are high. So, in light of this week’s kickoff, here are three stats from the World Health Organization about global climate change.

  • In the last century, the Earth has warmed about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (or 0.75 degrees Celsius), and the trend is continuing. As the globe warms, oceans are rising and weather patterns are changing.
  • High air temperatures contribute directly to fatal cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. During a European heat wave in 2003, for example, there were 70,000 excess deaths across the continent.
  • Rising temperatures make food production more difficult in the developing world. By 2020, some African countries are expected to see a decline the production of food staples of up to 50 percent.

This interactive map from Responding to Climate Change shows what various countries around the world think about climate change. Click on a country to get more information. (You can zoom in and out to see more countries and can click and drag on the map to move around.)

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