4 Climate Change Facts Everyone Should Know

When it comes to climate change, determining the facts versus what is fiction can seem almost impossible, especially when politicians, the media, public figures, corporations and even some scientists can't seem to agree. Still, according to the EPA and NASA, there are a few climate change facts that simply cannot be disputed, MSNBC reported. In Fact, NASA says scientists have been busy collecting an enormous body of data over many years to reveal certain facts about climate change.

"Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about or planet and its climate on a global scale."
Fact 1: Five countries create more than 50 percent of global CO2 emissions.

What does this really mean in terms of climate change? In short, it means that if every country on earth lived the way we do in the United States, it would take at least five planets with equivalent resources to provide enough to go around. According to the National Wildlife Federation, the world produced almost 34 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, cement production and gas flaring in 2010.

"The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century. Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many instruments flown by NASA."

Fact 2: 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded.

With current predictions estimating that the earth will be at least 3 degrees Celsius warmer by 2020, it seems we should pay attention to what is happening right now in terms of hotter temps worldwide. In 2014, hot spots underscoring the seriousness of climate change could be found in the western United States, eastern Russia, western Alaska, parts of South America's interior, most of Europe and into north Africa. It was the hottest year ever since record-keeping began in 1880, with the previous hottest years also taking place recently, in 2005 and 2010. And according to the EPA, with climate change that results in just two degrees of warming, we can expect up to 15 percent reductions in crop yields, up to a 10 percent increase in rainfall that will increase flooding, up to a 10 percent decrease in stream flow and up to a 400 percent increase in areas destroyed by wildfires in the western U.S.

"Changing the average global temperature by even a degree or two can lead to serious consequences around the globe."
  1. Global sea levels are expected to rise up to 23 inches by the end of this century.
Although it might not sound catastrophic at first, the reality is that rising sea levels would displace up to half of the world's population who live within 37 miles of the ocean, along with three-quarters of the Earth's largest cities, the United Nations reported. Also, climate change is reportedly making sea levels rise up to four times faster along the eastern coast of the United States, according to MSNBC.
"President Barack Obama recently issued an executive order directing federal agencies – as well as state and local governments drawing on federal funds – to adopt stricter building standards to reflect that scientific projections that future flooding will be more frequent and intense due to climate change."
  1. The Arctic is projected to have its first ice-free summer by 2040.
In just a few short decades, the entire Arctic region is expected to have its first summer with no ice to be found… anywhere, according to researchers in a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters. Scientists used computer models to simulate climate change, analyzing how quickly global warming is likely to deplete sea ice.

"If greenhouse gasses continue to get pumped into the atmosphere at the current rate, the majority of the Arctic basin will be ice-free in September 2040."

[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]