The US Environmental Protection Agency defines climate change as any significant shift in the climatic measures such as temperature, wind, or precipitation that lasts for extended periods of time. Different factors such as natural occurrences and human activities can cause climate change. Examples of natural factors include alterations in sun intensity and shifts in ocean circulation, while natural factors include the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and waste disposal. In recent times, the issues surrounding global warming have been quite controversial. Some skeptics and critics in both science and politics did not believe that global warming was happening on a grand scale. Mainly as a result of adequate scientific proof, many people concluded that global warming is a natural process that is meant to occur on earth over a long period. In today's world, the existence of global warming on a large scale does not involve much debate. However, disputes and controversies regarding the effects of global warming and the necessary interventions to reduce it still exist at large. Some researchers have come up with evidence to show that climate change is beneficial, while the larger majority of people believe that climate change has severe adverse effects on the planet. This paper, therefore, examines the debates surrounding the climatic changes and proves that climatic change is more harmful than good.
Positive Impacts of Climatic Change
Campbell-Lendrum, Corvalan, and Neira (2017) argue that global warming affects crop production. The improvement in crop production and improved growing conditions are among the most important effects of global warming ever experienced in recent times. Earth is recovering from abnormally cold climates caused by the Ice age. The result is that there are warmer temperatures, improved soil moisture, and adequate atmospheric carbon dioxide, all of which have contributes to improved agricultural production worldwide (Campbell-Lendrum, Corvalan, & Neira, 2017). In the past decade, African countries have recorded high crop yields, including rice and corn. Furthermore, warmer climates are stimulating abundant and frequent rainfalls, which, combined with adequate carbon dioxide, boost crop production in Africa. The authors further assert that gradual rises in temperature, as well as carbon dioxide, have the potential of resulting in more favorable conditions which may, in turn, increase the crop yields in some parts of the world. Food insecurity is among the most significant factors that cause challenges for human survival. Therefore, if climate change can cause a favorable production in food, it may help solve the problem of food production.
Research also shows that the rise in temperature may prove to be advantageous because it may reduce the deaths that occur during winter. In serious circumstances, over 50 thousand people die during winter times in Britain compared to the summertime (Schoen et al., 2017). For example, in European countries, the difference between the total number of deaths in winter and the other seasons is 10% to 35%. Only a small proportion of these winter deaths are caused by other diseases. Cold temperatures seem to exacerbate already existing conditions, and sometimes the season brings with it a myriad of diseases that are fatal for human survival (Schoen et al., 2017). Although the current about 2,000 deaths that occur during the summer may rise fivefold, these deaths will be canceled out by the decline in winter mortality, thus hundreds of lives may be saved by climate change.
Proponents of climate change further argue that rises in temperature will result in the Arctic melt. Currently, the arctic glaciers are frozen making it hard for water transport to occur within the region. Ships have to go round the frozen glaciers to connect between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans (Fuzzi et al., 2015). However, with the arctic melt, there will be an ice-free passage in the Northwest, which will provide a shipping shortcut between the two oceans. This shortcut will be instrumental in saving time and money and will enhance trade routes and easier movement of people and goods between the countries. Research also shows that melted ponds provide more heat and light for the underlying water, which may have significant benefits for marine life (Fuzzi et al., 2015). Creatures such as bacteria and algae rapidly reproduce which can, in turn, be a rich source of food for marine organisms.
Negative Impacts of Climate Change
Research shows that climate change will likely cause significant food insecurity in the near future by resulting in increased food prices and reducing the production of food. It is likely that food will become even more expensive as a result of increased energy prices in an effort to fight climate change (Bailey et al., 2015). Climate change leads to drought and this means that there will be a shortage of water supply to essential agricultural lands.
With insufficient water, it will be challenging for farmers to irrigate their crops and thus there will be a massive shortage of food worldwide. With food shortage also comes inflation in food prices which may be challenging to populations that do not earn enough income to afford high food costs. For example, in 2010, there were significant heat waves during the summer, which led to losses in crop yields in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Russia, thus resulting in dramatic increases in the prices of staple foods.
The increase in the prices of food forced plunged a significant amount of people into poverty, thus providing a brief example of how climatic changes may result in food insecurities (Bongaarts & O'Neill, 2018). Climate change may also cause competition for land because some areas are more likely to become climatically suitable for crop production. This competition for land may also result in world conflicts because great powers will try to colonize smaller nations to acquire their productive lands. These powers will also compete with each other and the most common form of competition between rivals is the outbreak of war (Bailey et al., 2015). For example, WW1 was caused by competition by great colonies to amass vast amounts of land. Climate change may result in WW3.
Heatwaves are also likely to become more frequent in the near future and may present a significant challenge for agriculture and food production. Heatwaves may cause a lot of stress to both plants and animals causing them to die (Bongaarts & O'Neill, 2018). Plants and animals are the most significant sources of food for the world and therefore, a decrease in their amount also means a lot of pressure on food security. When crops and animals die, it means that there will be no production of offspring or seeds and therefore, there will be no continuation of plant or animal life in the future (Bailey et al., 2015). This is worrisome because without plants or animals for agricultural consumption, humanity is likely to experience severe difficulties.
Typically, the human body needs evaporative cooling to protect it from overheating. Climate change causes significant increases in temperature which further leads to excessive humidity and ambient heat. In the presence of these two factors, it is difficult for evaporative cooling to occur within the human body, thus exceeding its thermoregulatory capacity. The human body responds to excessive heat through heatstroke, hyperthermia, and other fatal effects that can pose risks to the lives of people (Campbell-Lendrum et al., 2017). Excessively high temperatures also directly contribute to deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases especially among the elderly. For example, during the summer heatwave of 2003, over 70 thousand excess deaths were reported in Europe and its environs. High temperatures also foster the dispersion of pollen and other aeroallergens which can trigger allergic reactions such as sinusitis and asthma (Schoen et al., 2017). A continuous rise in temperatures is predicted to further escalate the occurrence of these conditions.
Climatic changes are also likely to result in a rise in mosquito-borne diseases which pose the greatest threats to human life. These diseases include malaria, yellow fever, rift-valley fever, dengue fever, and elephantiasis (Bailey et al., 2015). Studies show that these diseases are highly prevalent in areas that have previously experienced high rates of droughts and floods. Flooding of the ground leads to the most stagnant waters which encourage the breeding of mosquitoes. Warm temperatures also encourage these organisms to breed, feed, and grow faster. As the climate continues to warm up over the coastal and ocean regions, they allow mosquitoes to survive and breed in areas that they were unable to survive in before. With increased temperatures, there is a high likelihood that malaria will creep back into developed countries where it had already been eradicated.
Warmer temperatures also encourage the development and growth of ticks. The black-legged tick is a significant carrier of Lyme disease. Due to climate changes, the controls in the natural environment that used to control the population of these ticks are disappearing and the warmer and wetter climates are encouraging the breeding and growth of these insects at an alarming rate (Bailey et al., 2015). An increase in the amount of these ticks also means an increase in Lyme disease which is detrimental to the health of humans.
Although the physical impacts of climate change on health are well documented and known, scientists have recently begun to study its impact on the mental health of people. Research by Campbell-Lendrum et al. (2017) showed that the global changes in climate are bound to have massive adverse impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of populations. These impacts will be felt more by vulnerable populations and people who already have pre-existing mental conditions. Climate changes expose people to trauma which in turn impacts mental health in severe ways (Campbell-Lendrum et al., 2017). Extremely high temperatures make people agitated, listless, and cranky. Heatwaves are also associated with high rates of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and even death. As it is, recent studies have found that extreme heat is the largest contributor of weather-related deaths exceeding lightning, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and tornados combined. According to the CDC, there were 7, 900 deaths related to extremely high temperatures between 1999 and 2009.
Additionally, extremely high temperatures are associated with increased violence and aggression. A single standard deviation of rainfall and temperature increase is linked to a 14% intergroup violence and 5% interpersonal violence. Studies prove these findings by asserting that countries experiencing high temperatures and low rainfall have been found to have higher violence rates than countries with cooler temperatures (Jang & Hart, 2015). For example, countries like Somalia and Iraq have hardly seen any signs of peace within the past few decades. These levels of aggression and violence are partly attributed to high temperatures in the regions.
Studies have also observed that extreme heat causes significant impairments in complex cognitive tasks such as pattern recognition, spatial span and testing (Jang & Hart, 2015). High temperatures also cause insomnia which gets even worse during periods of increased humidity. Another study also showed an association between hot weather and increased rates of suicide. Mentally disabled people and those with substance abuse disorders are especially considered vulnerable to violence and suicide during hot weather.
Cite this page
Free Essay: Impacts of Climate Change to the World. (2023, Apr 23). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/impacts-of-climate-change-to-the-world
If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:
- Financial Forecasting Essay Example
- Literary Essay Sample: Victor Hugo of Les Miserable
- Free Essay on Qualitative Methodology and Design
- Free Essay Related to US Law and Gender Inequality
- Free Essay Sample on Same-sex Adoption
- Business Essay Example: The Reasons for the New Company Orientation
- Free Essay. The Use of Technology in Nursing Education