The greatest humanitarian challenge that our world is facing right now is Climate change. Climate change is anticipated to have wide ranging disastrous effects on the future sustainability of Earth. Climate change has brought about severe alterations to our planets’ geological, biological and ecological systems. The World Health Organization estimates that 160,000 deaths, since 1950, are directly attributable to climate change. The majority of the adverse effects of climate change are experienced by poor and low-income communities around the world, who have much higher levels of vulnerability to environmental determinants of health and wealth. We are thrown in this new global battlefield with no strong ammunitions. Let’s look at how the climate change will affect our lives.
Degradation of Human Health
Most importantly Climate change poses a wide range of health risks to people across the globe. The world will have to bear dramatic increase in prevalence of a variety of infectious diseases. Adverse health outcomes can be expected including malnutrition, diarrhoea, injuries cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and water-borne and insect-transmitted diseases. Vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever and leishmaniasis pose the most imminent threat.
Hunger and Malnutrition
50 million more people will be forced into hunger by 2050 due to climate change and 75% of that number will be in Africa. A big increase in unpredictable weather related to climate change is affecting crops which mean that poor people can no longer grow enough food to feed their families. This is contributing to the current world food crisis which is causing one sixth of the world’s population to go hungry.
Depletion of resources
Earth`s natural resources are currently being consumed at an increasing and totally unsustainable level. With climate change, vital resources like food and water will be impacted and pressure on limited resources will increase resulting in conflicts. Oil, precious metals and many important resources are likely to become more scarce and therefore expensive
Displacement and Migration
Over half of the 4 billion people in Asia (60% of the world’s population) live near the coast, making them directly vulnerable to sea level rise. As poor countries feel the effects of climate change; the reality of relocation is of international concern. Pacific islanders will be among the world’s first people displaced because of climate change. Today there are an estimated 26 million climate refugees, yet by 2050, 200 million people a year will be on the move due to hunger, environmental degradation and loss of land due to climate change.
Water shortages will increase
Changes in rainfall, river flows and storm patterns have created some of the biggest climate change impacts being felt by people all over the world.. Many regions are experiencing longer dry seasons and increased drought. By 2020, between 75 million and 250 million people in Africa are expected to suffer increased water shortages due to climate change.
Increased risk of drought, fire and floods
As temperatures rise globally, droughts will become more frequent and more severe, with potentially devastating consequences for agriculture, water supply and human health. Hot temperatures and dry conditions also increase the likelihood of forest fires.
Climate scientists also say that other effect of climate change is likely to be more intense rainfall and flooding in certain areas.
World Bank warns of ‘4-degree’ threshold of global temperature increase. Heat-trapping gases emitted by power plants, automobiles, deforestation and other sources are warming up our planet. High temperatures are to blame for an increase in heat-related deaths and illness, rising seas, increased storm intensity. Higher temperatures on the earth`s surface at higher latitudes cause an increase in the emission of methane, a greenhouse gas that plays an important role in global warming. Higher temperatures are not just a consequence of climate change but can also worsen cause of it.
Extreme weather changes
Extreme weather will become more frequent and more dangerous. This intensification of weather and climate extremes will be the most visible impact of global warming in our everyday lives. Global warming is making hot days hotter, rainfall and flooding heavier, hurricanes stronger and droughts more severe. Projected changes in extreme events will have predominantly adverse impacts on ecosystems and human society.