Rio 20 years later: Pollution up, forests down
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 0.58 degrees Fahrenheit (0.32 degrees Celsius) since 1992 based on 10-year running averages, according to the U.S. 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 percent 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.
FORESTS: Since 1990, the world's primary forest areas have decreased about 740 million acres (300 million hectares), according to the United Nations. That's an area larger than Argentina.