In 2012, there were 905 natural catastrophes worldwide—and 93 percent of these events were weather-related disasters. This figure was about 100 above the 10-year annual average of 800 natural catastrophes. In terms of overall and insured losses ($170 billion and $70 billion, respectively), 2012 did not follow the records set in 2011 and could be defined as a moderate year on a global scale. But the United States was seriously affected by weather extremes: it accounted for 69 percent of overall losses and 92 percent of insured losses due to natural catastrophes worldwide.
According to the latest on-site measurements by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, global atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations reached 391.3 parts per million (ppm) in 2011, up from 388.56 ppm in 2010 and from 280 ppm from pre-industrial times.
During 2011, a total of 820 natural catastrophes were documented, a decrease of 15 percent from the 970 events registered in 2010. But the 2011 figure is in line with the average of 790 events during 2001–10 and is considerably above the average of 630 events during 1981–2010.
The term payments for ecosystem services (PES) describes financial arrangements and schemes designed to protect the benefits that the natural environment provides for human beings. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a report of work conducted by some 1,360 scientists from around the world, estimated in 2005 that about 60 percent of all ecosystem services are being degraded or used unsustainably.
Species classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as "threatened" increased by 2.1 percent in 2009, as 365 species were added to the organization's Red List of Threatened Species.
The areas of the world that are officially protected—national parks and the like—grew by some 26 percent between 1997 and 2007, roughly one third as fast as during the preceding 10 years, when the rate topped 75 percent.
About one-fifth of the world’s coral reefs have already been lost or severely damaged, while another 35 percent could be lost within 10–40 years, according to the latest review by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.