10 images that explain what will happen with climate change

While carbon emissions at the start of 2020 were down due to COVID-related shutdowns around the world, they recovered fairly quickly. As we near the end of 2021, many economies begin to see carbon emissions rise to close to or even above the pre-pandemic average.

The harmful effects of greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere cannot be reversed overnight. Some things are bound to get worse: The world will get hotter, the glaciers will continue to melt a bit, sea levels will rise, hurricanes will hit us more, and people will have to endure much suffering.

However, there are still signs of hope this year that climate change solutions have been and are being worked on. COP26, the United Nations climate change conference originally scheduled for 2020 before the pandemic pushed it back this past November, has resulted in some surprisingly upbeat deals from world leaders to reduce carbon emissions and jointly expand programs that drive national economies towards renewable energy. It also provides new frameworks for building resilient infrastructure to mitigate climate impacts, providing more resources to developing countries, and investing in radical innovations. was rarely appreciated in previous years.

Climate change in 2022 doesn’t really look bright, but it does have bright spots. Here are 10 images that explain what we can expect — and what we should be prepared for.


Concept art for JPSS-2, which will orbit both poles of the planet.


NASA’s Four New Earth Science Missions

NASA’s Earth Science Program Under Trump Is Defined By Cut spending and cancel missions. The Biden administration is looking to reverse those trends quickly and increase the fleet of satellites the agency uses to track climate changes around the globe.

Next year will see the launch of four new missions into orbit: TROPICS, a six-satellite project that aims to help scientists measure tropical cyclones and understand how a hotter climate is making the how the storm got worse; EMIT, an instrument that will monitor mineral dust interactions with climate from the International Space Station; JPSS-2, a satellite designed to help experts predict extreme weather events such as hurricanes, wildfires, and even volcanic eruptions; and SWOT, will study the world’s oceans and teach us how surface waters encourage and mitigate climate change.


The ivory woodpecker officially became extinct this year.



We are well aware that climate change is making it harder for the world’s plants and animals to thrive. But in the grand scheme of potential disasters that climate change could bring, this is not a high priority for many policymakers. After all, it’s hard to say we should save polar bears when there are humans whose homes are destroyed by floods every year.

In the distant future, 2021 and 2022 can be seen as turning points to understanding how dependent people are to see biodiversity thrive on this planet. We need natural pollinators like bees to grow crops, strong wetlands to keep our freshwater clean and abundant, and a functioning food web that can allow We use forests as a natural reservoir of excess carbon. And Scientists have finally begun to engage directly with policymakers on these issues.

The United Nations Biodiversity Conference April 25 to May 8 next year in Kunming, China, will be crucial in motivating countries to commit to keeping the planet’s 8 million species of flora and fauna from becoming extinct.


Climeworks’ carbon capture facility at Hellisheiði Geothermal Power Station in Iceland.


Carbon capture

Perhaps no issue better illustrates the alarming extent of climate change over the past decade than the changing perception of carbon capture technology. Just a decade ago, most leading experts scoffed at the idea that we should suck up carbon dioxide emissions and store them underground, where they can’t do any harm. It seems completely strange.

In 2021, the world is starting to capture carbon. Elon Musk says he will donate 100 million dollars as an award for demonstrating carbon capture technologies. China’s largest carbon capture and storage plant is completed in January. The world’s first commercial carbon capture facility opened in Iceland in September.

Why change? Simply put, the world has worked hard to actually produce a significantly reduced carbon footprint. Innovative technologies such as carbon capture now a necessary part of the equation. Expect carbon capture to deliver an even bigger shock in 2022.


Rain from Hurricane Ida floods the basement of a Kennedy Fried Chicken fast food restaurant on September 1, 2021 in The Bronx, New York City.

David Dee Delgado / Getty

Flood, flood, flood

It was a disastrous year because of the floods. More than 300 people died in China’s Hainan province in July when a year’s considerable rainfall landed in the area within three days. A similar situation opened in Central Europe, resulting in the deaths of more than 180 people. Hurricane Ida makes landfall in the gulf states of the United States and kill nearly 100. The remnants of the storm also managed to wallop New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, leading to historic flooding throughout the city centres. In November, South Sudan was suffered the worst floods experienced in more than half a century.

As sea levels rise and storm events become more frequent and more destructive, similar events are expected worldwide throughout 2022.


Russian startup L-Charge began expanding mobile charging stations for electric vehicles to new countries this year. This station is in Barcelona, ​​Spain.



The Biden administration is working to roll out massive incentives for electric vehicle (EV) growth through the Build Better Again law. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin withdraws support for bill threatens to sink those initiatives, but regardless of whether the two groups can come to some sort of agreement, electric vehicles will become the bigger deal by 2022. Electric vehicle sales in 2021 in Europe increased by 157 percent; in China, nearly 200 percent; in the US is 166%. Electric scooter sales double in the U.S. Tollgates are on the rise as more people buy electric vehicles — even in poorer countries. Public transport systems are increasingly transitioning to electric power. No matter what the US government does, the electric vehicle market will not slow down in 2022.


Drum Tower in Beijing, China on March 15, 2021, as a sandstorm hits the city.

Thomas Peter / Reuters


If you were in Beijing in March, you might think the world was coming to an end, when the sky turned orange and The city suffered its worst sandstorm in 10 years. This is a consequence of desertification, caused by the loss of trees and plant life that would otherwise provide stability to the soil and keep the dirt in its place.

China is not the only place that has suffered the harsh consequences of desertification. In India. 29.7 percent of the land has been degraded. UAE and other Gulf countries are watch the land literally dry up and experience sandstorms more often. African nations are leading an ambitious project called the Great Wall to keep the continent’s savannas from turning into deserts, but they only achieved 4 percent of their goal. So 2021 may just be a taste of what to expect from desertification in 2022.


Gille Dreyfus poses in front of the vertical farming system built by French start-up, Jungle, located in Paris.

Eric Piermont / AFP via Getty

Vertical farming

While a lot of farmland around the world is eroding into an unsuitable environment for crops to grow, some food producers are starting to move indoors into temperature-controlled warehouses. . Vertical farming is set to have a good year in 2022, with a boom in US startups banking on more investment from local governments and expansion. their footprints. Big companies like Infarm are planning to set up farming facilities in more countries in Europe and North America. New York-based Gotham Greens has expanded by 800 retail stores in 2021 alone — a number that is expected to skyrocket next year. As we wrote earlier this year, the fact that vertical farming can avoid the current supply chain obstacles that plague many other industries means that it is expected to grow a lot throughout the coming year. .


Downtown Austin on February 15, 2021, after the area was turned into trash and brought historic levels of snow and frigid temperatures to the state.

Montinique Monroe / Getty

Winter is inexplicable

It wasn’t immediately clear that the February cold snap that hit Texas and killed 125 people was due to climate change. Then in September, a new research published year Science makes the connection clearer, showing that changes in polar vortexes caused by climate change contributed to severe weather storms that crippled electricity and water around the state for thousands of years. million people. February highlights the fact that climate change won’t just hit us with hotter summers and harsher storms — and if we don’t infrastructure in place that is resistant to different types of conditions, we can expect to see the same kind of suffering almost every year.


Mobile network data from 2013 shows how Bangladeshi people migrated to safer places when Cyclone Mahasen made landfall near Barisal City. Data like this can help us better understand how to plan for future disaster mitigation efforts during severe storms.

Climate and Migration Coalition

Big data

At this point, the data revolution has swept through nearly every major industry. As world governments and the commercial sector pour more money into climate change research, big data will play an important role in helping us understand what’s going on both at the macro scale and across the globe. globally, as well as at the terrestrial micro-scale. . Big tech companies like Google are looking to take advantage of the vast amount of mobile phone data they collect and harness it as part of climate initiatives.

Of course, the big question is whether these companies can can be trusted to use this data responsibly. 2022 will be the year these questions are discussed more openly in public forums.


A firefighter works as the Caldor Fire burns in Grizzly Flats, California on August 22.

Fred Greaves / Reuters

Melting point

Finally, we can expect the world to get hotter — duh. Had drought in the southwestern United States, record-breaking heatwaves in North America (including an absolutely insane 116-degree Fahrenheit high in Portland, Oregon, which is literally melt the highway), and Wildfires raging across California in late summer. Around the world, Chile has experienced another year of super drought lasting decades, and Brazil had its driest summer in a century. The glaciers continue to melt, and Switzerland has come as far as protective blankets on one of its mountains to protect the small remaining ice.

None of this will be fixed anytime soon. Many people are searching Better ways to keep us cool in our homes, and you can expect these innovations to get even more attention next year. 10 images that explain what will happen with climate change


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