Climate change is changing the planet drastically. We’re seeing extreme weather events becoming more frequent and more powerful. Droughts and floods are turning farmlands into ‘dead zones’. Global warming has an expensive price tag and world economies are feeling the heat. There are 100’s of animals either endangered or pushed to the brink of extinction and even humans are suffering negative health effects.
First of all, What is Climate Change?
Climate change, in short, is temperatures patterns and climate patterns either regional, global, or both, changing. The climate has been going through warming and cooling phases for hundreds of thousands of years but as of more recently, humans have been involved. Research has shown that CO2 emissions have a strong correlation with the global rise of surface temperatures. When you hear someone talking about climate change, they’re most likely talking about the human interference in the change.
Climate Change is Causing Extreme Weather Events
As the surface temperatures of the oceans and land rise, extreme weather events like hurricanes, floods, droughts, heat waves, and even wildfires are becoming more common and more powerful. Climate change is directly causing thousands of people to lose their homes, land, and in some cases, even lives.
Take hurricanes for example. As the surface temperature of the oceans rise, this allows these storms to grow larger and more powerful before making landfall. If you would like to read more on how climate change is making hurricanes stronger we have a comprehensive article here.
Climate Change is Causing Droughts
As the climate changes, some regions in the United States are experiencing severe droughts. This is happening all around the world but in this article, we’re going to use the United States as an example. Recent droughts in the United States have been the most expansive in decades. In 2011, Texas experienced its driest 12 months ever. At the peak of the 2012 drought, an astounding 81 percent of the contiguous United States was under at least abnormally dry conditions. Droughts like these are expected to get worse as the planet continues to warm.
This is taking a large toll on the agriculture industry. Droughts affect livestock and crops, including corn, soybeans, and wheat. Crops like these are cornerstone commodities. In 2012 the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared a natural disaster over 71% of the United States at the peak of the drought.
Droughts like these cause a shortage in the food supply. If the United States were to have another drought like this you could expect to see prices of corn, soybeans, and wheat triple.
Droughts can also affect energy, transportation, and even lead to wildfires.
Climate change is affecting economies around the world.
Whether it be through natural disasters, mass immigration, animal conservation, or even taxes introduced to combat climate change. I mentioned earlier that hurricanes are getting more frequent and more powerful. In 2017 hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas leaving a path of destruction in its wake. This natural disaster had an estimated cost of $125 billion. If we continue to see the surface temperature increase, we can also expect to see the price of these storms increase as well.
Right now in Europe, there is a paper being proposed. It was signed by France, Belgium, Denmark, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. The paper proposes to spend 25% of the EU budget on climate change. This is just one of many proposed global bills to point funds toward climate change. There is a clear demand from people at the moment, they want money spent on climate change.
There is just one problem. You’ll have a hard time finding a government willing to cut spending in other sectors to move funds toward climate change. This money needs to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is increased taxes. We’re already seeing this in Canada with the “carbon tax.” Money does not grow on tree’s and printing more is only going to decrease the value of a dollar. If you want to read more about how climate change is affecting the economy, we have an article here.
Climate Change Pushing Animals to the Brink of Extinction
“Animals and plants can adapt to global warming”
That’s a myth that you might have heard someone say when climate change is brought up. There is a mass extinction event going on right now… because animals and plants cannot adapt. Here is a list of animals endangered, threatened or on the brink of extinction because of climate change:
- African wild dog (3000-5,500 remaining)
- Amur Leopard (60 remaining)
- Amur Tiger (450 remaining)
- Asian Elephant (50,000) remaining
- Bengal Tiger (2500 remaining)
- Black-footed Ferret (300 remaining)
- Black Rhino (5,000 remaining)
- Blue Whale (10,000 remaining)
- Chimpanzee (200,000-300,000 remaining)
- Eastern Lowland Gorilla (less than 17,000 remaining)
- Fin Whale (50,000-90,000 remaining)
- Galapagos Penguin (2,000 remaining)
- Giant Panda (1,864 remaining)
- Hectors Dolphin (7,000 remaining)
The figures are much higher than previously thought, making up 47 percent of land mammals and 23 percent of the birds on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of species threatened with extinction.
Humans Suffering the Negative Health Effects of Climate Change
Health risks related to climate change are on the rise worldwide. Many infectious diseases are highly sensitive to climate conditions. Study’s have shown that there is a direct link between the temperature in a specific region and diarrhea disease.
Climate change also lengthens the transmission season and expands the geographical range of tropical diseases. Take malaria for example. The transmission season and region are expected to expand significantly.
Extreme heat waves are expected to become more frequent and more powerful. In 2003 there was a heat wave in Europe. This heat wave led to the hottest summer on record in Europe since at least 1540. France was hit especially hard. The heat wave led to health crises in several countries and combined with drought to create a crop shortfall in parts of Southern Europe. The peer-reviewed analysis places the European death toll at more than 70,000.
If the planet continues to warm we can expect to see heat waves more powerful than the 2003 heat wave.
Conclusion of the Negative Impacts of Climate Change
Global warming is changing the world. There are a lot more negative side effects that were not included in this article, but these are just some of the most severe negative impacts. If there’s something you think I missed please leave a comment and join in on the conversation. Climate change is a global issue and if we don’t prepare we are going to suffer the consequences.