Rio 20 yrs later: Pollution 1, forests 0

2012-06-20 18:52
Rio+20 Secretary General Sha Zukang, during a ceremony for World Environment Day held at Planalto Palace in Brasilia. (Evaristo SA, AFP)

Rio+20 Secretary General Sha Zukang, during a ceremony for World Environment Day held at Planalto Palace in Brasilia. (Evaristo SA, AFP)

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Washington - Since world leaders last gathered in Rio de Janeiro to talk about the state of the Earth, temperatures have climbed and disasters have mounted. As diplomats discuss climate, sustainability and biodiversity, here is Earth by the numbers since 1992:

TEMPERATURES: The average annual global temperature has increased 0.32°C since 1992 based on 10-year running averages, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Every year since 1992 has been warmer than the year of the original Rio conference.

POLLUTION: Global levels of the chief heat-trapping gas, carbon dioxide, climbed 10% from nearly 358 parts per million in April 1992 to 394 ppm this past April, NOAA said.

DISASTERS: Since 1992, natural disasters have affected 4.4 billion people worldwide, killed 1.3 million people, and cost $2 trillion in damages, according to the United Nations. Earthquakes, storms, extreme temperatures and floods were the biggest killers. Haiti had the most disaster deaths with 230 675. And the United States had the most property damage with $560bn.

FORESTS: Since 1990, the world's primary forest areas have decreased about 300 million ha, according to the United Nations. That's an area larger than Argentina.

Read more on:    noaa  |  brazil  |  envionment  |  climate change

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