Each year that the fossil fuel status quo is allowed to continue is another terrible year for the Earth. 2016 was no exception — emissions actually increased throughout the year.
While there were many significant breakthroughs throughout the year, the planet also suffered many significant setbacks: temperatures climbed, storms grew, droughts and floods intensified, forests were mowed down, corals reefs deteriorated, animal life plummeted, and so on.
Let's hope 2017 marks a significant shift toward a renewable future. In the meantime, here's a look back at some of the things that the planet had to deal with in 2016.
This is the third straight record-breaking year of heat.
This was the 14th straight month of record temperatures.
Beautiful Ice in the Arctic
At a certain point soon, the Arctic could enter an unstoppable feedback loop of melting ice and rising temperatures.
The 60 people on the Isle de Jean Charles, in Louisiana, have families that have lived there for generations. They don’t want to leave.
This small rodent was the first extinction to ever be attributed to climate change.
Forests are being razed, deserts are growing, rivers are being choked with pollution, oceans are being stripped of their ecosystems.
This is not a joke.
A thousand years is a long time from now — but in the grand scheme of things it’s just a blink.
If you live in a city, you probably breathe dangerous air.
In the most heavily polluted cities, the air is a serious threat to health.
That’s saying something. Some of the water sources proposed for the Olympics were so contaminated that illness was all but guaranteed.
Tehran has some of the thickest air pollution in the world. Over a few days this year, it killed scores of people.
This beast of a storm changed climates all around the world and it was turbocharged by climate change.
This even bigger beast of a storm landed in China.
Haiti is the last country that can handle a devastating hurricane.
More than two feet of rain fell, completely overwhelming the city.
It’s cheap, it’s effective, but it’s killing the planet.
This is actually happens.
Guess who tops the list?
Animals can’t adapt to changing environments as easily as humans can.
John Church has made indispensable contributions to the global understanding of climate change.
185 of the fiercest defenders of the planet were murdered in 2015.
If the US can’t build a sustainable society, will developing countries be able to?
Yes, this is a thing.