Climate change is a reality we cannot ignore anymore. We see the effects of climate change in our everyday life. Let’s go over some of the headlines in the past few weeks.
Climate change is a slow process and its lasting effects are usually observed over a long period of time. Around the world, the trends of weather have changed, followed by a number of effects. Some of these effects are small while others can potentially turn our lives upside down.
Major consequences of Climate Change
1. Millions of people may be displaced due to natural disasters by the year 2050.
Typhoons, monsoon floods, landslides, storms, earthquakes and hurricanes have displaced over 27 million people in the last decade.Floods and storms accounts for the largest percentage of displacements.
The international organization for migration estimates that by 2050, 200 million people will be forced to leave their homes owing to climate change.
2. Rising temperatures are increasing the chances of western wildfires in the southwest.
The fire season is expected to get longer and longer by the year. By the year 2100, about eight times as much land could be destroyed by the wildfires.
Warmer and drier conditions make it easy for fires to spread and more difficult to put out. This relationship works back to back with an increase in one leading to an increase in the other.
3. A significant increase in the number of people experiencing water shortage is expected by 2100.
With water covering 70% of the earth, it is easy to think about water scarcity but the reality is quite different.
About 1.1 billion people lack access to water and a total of 2.1 billion people face water shortage at least one month in a year. By 2025, two thirds of the world population may suffer water shortages.
4. Coastal cities on constant threat due to the rising sea levels.
Most exposed coastal cities include Miami, Calcutta, Shanghai, Osaka and Alexandria. These cities are not only at risk of coastal flooding but also relentless rain, typhoons and unexpected storms.
5. All the reefs could be in danger and might get extinct by the year 2050. Oceans are experiencing large-scale warming.
At the warming of about 2 ͦC, all coral reefs can potentially be lost.This can be disastrous for the tourism industry as well as local people as around half a billion people rely on fish as their main source of protein.
Also Read: Impacts of climate change on ecosystems
6. Low-lying islands could go down as they are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels.
According to IPCC, 10 of the countries which require higher protection cost relative to their GDP consist of 8 islands.
Rising of sea levels causes flooding, storms and erosion which may lead to even more devastation to these islands and coastal regions.
7. Climate change results in droughts which I turn makes the land even more drier.
In areas of higher droughts, raw water quality reduces and water pollutants rise. In areas around the world, 30 more days could be added to the dry season by the year 2100 as compared to 1960 to 1989 average.
Effect on agricultural productivity
Global yield of crops is declining as a result of climate change. Reduced rainfall and higher temperatures have a negative effect on wheat and maize crops.
The extreme weather has also resulted in less harvesting of food which caused the prices to rise.
All of this leads to the expectation that around 20 million more children will suffer from hunger and starvation by the year 2050.
Events like floods, cyclones, relentless rainfalls, droughts and forest fires are a danger to the food security of millions of people. Low yield of crops will threaten billions of homes which rely on agriculture as their source of income.
Where that leads: the social effects
When sources of income are threatened or destroyed, the society faces problems. To list a few, unemployment, poverty and low production.
One more issue that arises due to unemployment is crime. According to experts, there is a positive relationship between unemployment and the number of crimes in a region.
When a person can not find a source of income, they are unable to afford food and other necessities. Theft and robbery looks like the only way out.
Not only this, but less availability of food and water also diminishes the human health.
Also read: Economic Implications of Climate Change