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On the Decline: A Look at Earth’s Biodiversity Loss, By Region

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On the Decline: A Look at Earth’s Biodiversity Loss, By Region

The Briefing

  • The Living Planet Index (LPI) tracks the abundance of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians across the globe
  • Between 1970 and 2016, the average decline in vertebrate populations was 68%, but the rate of loss differs from region to region
  • Latin America & Caribbean has seen the largest drop in biodiversity at 94%

Visualizing the Decline of Earth’s Biodiversity, By Region

Earth’s biodiversity has seen an overall decrease across the globe. And while each region has seen a decline, some places have experienced higher drops than others.

Using data from WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020, we’ve ranked each region from the greatest average loss in biodiversity, to the least:

RankRegionAverage decline (between 1970 and 2016)
1Latin America & Caribbean94%
2Africa65%
3Asia Pacific45%
4North America33%
5Europe and Central Asia24%

Latin America and Caribbean has seen the most loss, with a 94% drop in average species populations, while Africa comes in second with a 65% drop.

The 5 Major Threats for Biodiversity Loss

While the rate of loss varies across regions, WWF has identified five major threats that are linked to drops in species populations across all regions:

  • Changes in land-use and sea use
    This threat refers to any changes in a species habitat, caused by mining, development, unsustainable agriculture, etc.
  • Species overexploitation
    There are two types of species overexploitation—direct and indirect. Direct is when a species is intentionally hunted. Indirect happens when a species is unintentionally killed (an example would be by-catch in fisheries).
  • Invasive species and disease
    This threat impacts species populations in several ways. Invasive species may spread diseases or may become predators to native species that are not equipped to defend themselves.
  • Pollution
    Pollutants can have both gradual and instant effects on a species. For example, an oil spill has an instant effect on a species’ environment. But other pollutants, such as microplastics, have a much more gradual impact on species health.
  • Climate Change
    This threat has an indirect impact on species. Changes in temperature as a result of climate change can trigger irregular season changes, which can affect natural phenomena like migration and mating seasons.

»Interested in learning more about Earth’s biodiversity, and some of its biggest threats? Read our full article Visualizing the Biggest Threats to Earth’s Biodiversity

Where does this data come from?

Source: Living Planet Report 2020.
Note: LPI measures the abundance of species populations. It measures the average rate of population change in species. It does not mean that specific percent of populations or individuals have been lost.

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Datastream

Visualizing Earth’s Global Ice Loss Between 1994-2017

In just over two decades, the planet has seen 28 trillion tonnes in global ice loss. 58% of this ice loss occurred in the Northern Hemisphere.

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The Briefing

  • Due to global warming, 28 trillion tonnes of ice have melted in just over two decades
  • Over half (58%) of this global ice loss occurred in the Northern Hemisphere

Visualizing Earth’s Global Ice Loss Between 1994-2017

Nearly 70% of the Earth’s freshwater is locked up in glaciers and ice caps, ground ice, and permafrost. However, this ice is melting at an unprecedented rate.

Based on data from a new scientific survey, this visualization reveals that 28 trillion tonnes of Earth’s ice has been lost between 1994 and 2017.

How Much Ice Is Being Lost Exactly?

Figures at such scales can be difficult to wrap our heads around. For the record, one billion tonnes of water is equal to 400,000 Olympic swimming pools.

It’s then a bit easier to comprehend why, when multiplied tens of thousands of times, this much melted ice—specifically, grounded ice—has resulted in global sea levels rising by 34.6mm on average.

Cryosphere categoryIce typeChange (1994-2017)
Arctic sea iceFloating7.6 trillion tonnes
Antarctic ice shelvesGrounded6.5 trillion tonnes
Mountain glaciersGrounded6.1 trillion tonnes
Greenland ice sheetGrounded3.8 trillion tonnes
Antarctic ice sheetGrounded2.5 trillion tonnes
Southern Ocean sea iceFloating0.9 trillion tonnes

Over half (58%) of the ice loss occurred in the Northern Hemisphere, from Arctic sea ice and also grounded ice previously trapped in the Greenland ice sheet.

In fact, the rate of ice loss has risen from 0.8 trillion tonnes to 1.2 trillion tonnes per year, an increase of 57% since the 1990s.

The Impacts of the Ice Meltdown

Rapidly disappearing sea ice has severe impacts on the environment, both in the short and long term:

  • Wildlife habitat loss
  • Coastal erosion
  • Changing ocean currents
  • Extreme temperatures

While rising temperatures are behind most of this historical global ice loss, it’s worth noting that lower levels of ice lead to a positive feedback loop. Less ice means less of the sun’s heat is reflected away from the Earth, instead being absorbed back and further amplifying the global warming effect.

>>Like this? Then you might like this article on Mapping Territorial Claims in Antarctica

Where does this data come from?

Source: Slater, T. et al. “Review article: Earth’s ice imbalance”, The Cryosphere (2021)
Notes: Data from the scientific survey is based on satellite observations and numerical models. The metric measure of a “tonne” (1,000kg) has been used throughout for accuracy.

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Coinbase Experiences Brisk User Growth Ahead of IPO

Coinbase, America’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, saw a 117% growth in transacting users from Q4 2020 to Q1 2021.

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coinbase user growth

The Briefing

  • Coinbase is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S.
  • The company added 3.3 million transacting users in Q1 2021 – a 117% increase
  • $133 billion in assets were added to the platform, totalling $223 billion in Q1 2021

Coinbase Experiences Brisk User Growth Ahead of IPO

A week before its initial public offering (IPO), Coinbase reported significant user growth for the first quarter of 2021.

In a report released on April 6, the cryptocurrency exchange claimed to have an estimated 56 million verified customers in Q1 2021—that’s an additional 13 million since Q4 2020.

What is Coinbase?

Launched in 2012, Coinbase is the largest consumer-facing cryptocurrency exchange in America.

The company offers a variety of products, such as an advanced trading platform, crypto wallets for retail investors, savings accounts for institutions, and even its own stablecoin that’s backed by the U.S. dollar.

A Surge in Monthly Users and Assets

In Q1 2021, Coinbase saw a 117% increase in transacting users compared to Q4 2020, from 2.8 million to 6.1 million. That’s the highest jump in users in the last three years:

QuarterMonthly Transacting Users% Change
Q1 20182,700,000--
Q2 20181,200,000-55.5%
Q3 2018920,000-23.3%
Q4 2018850,000-7.6%
Q1 2019800,000-5.9%
Q2 20191,300,00062.5%
Q3 20191,200,000-7.7%
Q4 20191,000,000-16.7%
Q1 20201,300,00030.0%
Q2 20201,500,00015.4%
Q3 20202,100,00040.0%
Q4 20202,800,00033.3%
Q1 20216,100,000117.9%

In addition to its growing user base, the company also reported a 147.8% uptick in assets on the platform in the last quarter, from $90 billion to $223 billion.

QuarterAssets Held on Coinbase% Change
Q1 2018$13 billion--
Q2 201812.9 billion-0.8%
Q3 201811 billion-14.7%
Q4 2018$7 billion-36.4%
Q1 2019$8 billion14.3%
Q2 2019$21 billion162.5%
Q3 2019$17 billion-19.0%
Q4 2019$17 billion--
Q1 2020$17 billion--
Q2 2020$26 billion52.9%
Q3 2020$36 billion38.5%
Q4 2020$90 billion150.0%
Q1 2021$223 billion147.8%

Industry experts believe this strong start to the year is a good indicator of the company’s future profit potential.

For instance, the investment bank DA Davidson raised Coinbase’s share price target from $195 to $440 after seeing the company’s Q1 results.

>> Liked this? Take a deeper dive into institutional trading volume on Coinbase.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Company filings via The Block

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