Environmental, Economical and Social Impacts of Climate Change

Iman Al Sheikh
Email: alsheikh.ewn@gmail.com

In recent years climate change has became the greatest threat on human life. Scientists believe that Earth’s temperature is gradually increasing with an average rate of 0.85 ℃ and it will continue to increases to reach 0.87℃ by 2020 (IPCC, 2014).

Natural and anthropogenic activities influence Earth’s climate. However, human activities e.g. burning fossil fuels, breeding cattle, and other practices are the main influence on climate change, emitting green house gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere that leads to warming effects (Government of Canada, 2015; EPA, 2016).

Impacts of Climate change:

There are various impacts of climate change including environmental, economical, and social impacts.

A. Environmental Impacts
1. Species Extinction

Weather pattern have a strong influence on animal’s habitat. As the temperature increases animals are forced to migrate into other areas to survive. However, some of them may not be able to adapt to new environments, thus their populations would decline. Scientists predicted that if the warming trend continues to rise, one-fourth of Earth’s species would be extinct by 2050 (TNC, 2016). In Fact, there are many species are already affected by the climate change e.g. polar bear population is declining due to melting of ice sheets in the Artic. Coral reef is another species that headed to extinction, as elevated temperatures tend to kill algae that are significant for corals survival (TNC, 2016).

2. Sea levels rise

The Polar Regions are melting in an accelerated rate due to their vulnerability to warmer atmosphere. One of the most serious consequences of melting ice sheets is sea level rise. Experts estimated that the range of sea levels rise would be one to four feet higher by 2100, which would have devastating impacts on costal habitat (Denchak, 2016; WWF, 2016).

3. Extreme weather events

Climate change has altered the weather patterns, which resulted in longer and intense heat waves, storms, drought, and devastating floods (Brasbury & DeConcini, 2012). Extreme weather events tend to threaten public health and safety e.g. drought conditions threaten clean drinking water availability (NRDC, 2016).

B. Economical Impacts of climate change

Researchers believe that climate change is damaging the global economy and causing slow growth in the coming years (Worland, 2015).

1. Agriculture

Agriculture is an important sector mostly in the developing countries, which provide food and crops, and economical growth. Extreme weather events such as drought, flooding and extreme heat waves have adverse effects on irrigation systems, soil and water degradation, crop yields, and breeding cattle (Southgate, 2015; EPA, 2016). This would have serious impacts on those whose economies depend on agriculture and natural resources (Southgate, 2015).

2. Property and Infrastructure

Severe weather events such as flooding, sea level rise, and storms are factors that cause serious properties and infrastructures damage, which is expensive and require extensive repair (UCS, 2011).

C. Social impacts of climate change

Climate change also could influence societies through social, cultural, and natural resources (EPA, 2016). Poverty and inequality are deeply influenced by climate change as underprivileged people lack the necessary resources to cope with climate change effects e.g. flooding, storms, and drought, which would force them to move to other areas and alter their lifestyle (Byrd & deMates, 2014). Another serious impact of climate change is water shortage. Currently, approximately 1.6 billion people live under fresh water scarcity and it is expected that the number would increases to reach 2.8 billion people by 2025 (WBG, n.d.). Furthermore, changes in temperature and precipitation pattern influence the geographical range of diseases spread by vectors e.g. malaria, diarrhea, and in some cases death (EPA, 2016).

References and photo sources

Photo References

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