Global warming has affected the living of people and society to a great extent. It is more dangerous than a demon, we should know about and get together to solve it. Students are generally given this topic in the schools to write some lines or paragraphs or essay in the classroom or during any essay writing competition. So students, don’t worry, we are here for you to help you all in participating and getting success in such competitions. You are at right place, go ahead.
Essay on Effects of Global Warming
Effects of Global Warming Essay 1 (100 words)
Global warming has affected the living of people globally. It has become the reason of many environmental and social level changes directly and indirectly all through the world. The emission of greenhouse gases increases the heat on the earth which has created living problem. According to the scientific consensus, it has been noted that the climate changes are continuous because of the global warming. Bad human activities are the primary driver of the increasing effects of the global warming. Many impacts of climate changes which are clearly observed are glacier retreat, fluctuations in the timing of the seasonal events, earlier flowering of plants, changes in agricultural productivity, increasing heat, etc.
Effects of Global Warming Essay 2 (150 words)
Global warming is like a demon of the ancient time which has taken birth in the modern time after being stronger. It is increasing its negative effects all across the world by slowly increasing the heat and temperature of the globe. Heat as a heat waves persist for many days by getting combined with the high relative humidity of the environment. This heat may work as a killer if the night time temperature does not drop. Increasing temperature has been started feeling by all of us and it is affecting us by decreasing the length of winter season and increasing the length of summer season.
Global warming is regularly calling the natural disasters to occur more often many times a year. Increasing heat and temperature regularly is threatening the human health and safety because it is creating the fear of drought, flood, natural forest and peat fires, melting glacier, decrease rainfall, increasing pollution, rise of epidemic diseases, rise of sea-level, more often occurrence of hurricanes, storm, typhoons when ocean cycles continue, increasing frequency of tropical cyclones and many more.
Effects of Global Warming Essay 3 (200 words)
The effects of global warming are increasing day by day as the causes of global warming are increasing. The main and clearly visible impacts of the global warming is increasing temperatures of the globe, ice caps melting, glaciers melting, removal of ice sheets covering from West Antarctica and Greenland, sea level rise, movement of forest animals to the cooler areas, increased precipitation (means rain and snowfall), hot and dry weather, decreasing length of winter season, increasing length of summer season, changing weather patterns, weakening health status, increasing pandemic diseases, drowning of polar bears, and many more. It is estimated that if the process of global warming would increase in future without any stoppage, all the glaciers (in Glacier National Park) may vanished by 2070 according to the current rate of retreat.
According to the current data, it has been estimated that sea level may increase from 7 and 23 inches (means 18 to 59 centimetres) by the end of this century because of the continuous melting glaciers. Hurricanes or storm is another big problems coming out as a result of the global warming. It is going stronger day by day like a real demon. Plants started giving flowers earlier the time before their pollinating insects become active. Floods, droughts, declining rainfall, etc are other social issues putting life existence at greater risk.
Effects of Global Warming Essay 4 (250 words)
The effect of global warming has become very clear now which is affecting the natural environmental balance and social life of the people. Global warming has impacted the life to a great extent and disturbed the environmental cycles. It is going worse day by day. It has affected the sea level and caused to rise in the sea level which in turn has become the terror to the finish of the whole world. Global warming raising the overall temperature which causes glaciers and ice caps to melt and thus the water level is expanding continuously. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of Third Assessment Report, sea level has been estimated to rise around 88 centimetres till the end of this century.
Global warming is increasing the risk of ocean acidification. The percentage of carbon dioxide gas (one of the main greenhouse gases) is increasing in the environment and getting mixed with the sea water causing ocean acidification. It is a very hazardous to the ocean life especially for the coral. Global warming is affecting weathers by making climate so hot or cold and becoming the reasons of hurricanes and earthquakes frequently. Global warming has become main social problem and global environment. Earth is considered as the only planet where life is possible because of the presence of the water and oxygen however increasing amount of carbon dioxide gas here increasing the chance of making it like other planets in the universe without life.
Effects of Global Warming Essay 5 (300 words)
It is said that global warming is a gradual process however it seems that it is increasing very fast as its effects are becoming so visible. People are feeling its effect in their day to day living. It is very visible that winter season has become decreased and summer season has become increased. The whole environment has become so hot and itchy. Global warming makes us feel that it is far-reaching, long-lasting and as a devastating consequences for this planet. It is gradually heating the earth’s surface, ocean’s surface and atmosphere. It has become the topic of debate on international level in the scientific as well as common community.
Bad human activities have been involved to a great level in promoting the effects of global warming. Burning of fossil fuels, oils, etc are pumping the rise of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas, methane gas and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere causing heat and temperature. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that there is big link between the human activities and global warming. And also stated that it needs international level participation by the government of the countries to solve it globally and reduce its effects.
The melting the ice (polar ice caps and mountain glaciers) has been started very fast. Lakes, rivers and oceans surface are warming rapidly, animals are migrating because of increasing heat, and plants are changing means the leaf-flush in the spring season to fall in autumn season is longer. It has been recorded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that the global temperature has been increased all around the world by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (means 1 degree Celsius). Weather and climate conditions are changing extremely where hurricanes, storms, cyclone, typhoon, droughts, blizzards, rainstorms, etc are the results of it.
Effects of Global Warming Essay 6 (400 words)
Global warming is a hazardous phenomenon going ahead continuously all over the world. It has been irritated by the many human activities. The condition of the environment and society is getting worse and worse. It is an international disaster affecting the humanity in all facets of the modern human life. One of the main effects of global warming is the continuous heating up of the atmosphere. According to the statements of scientists, there is a direct relation between increase in CO2 gas in the atmosphere and increasing temperature of the earth. According to the IPCC report of 2007, it has been noted that the warmest years has been started since 1992.
The increasing heat and global temperature causes melting of the ice caps of poles and glaciers. Melting ice all across the world increases the sea levels by 1.88 mm per year from the year 1961 however it has increased by 3.1 mm per year from the year 1993. In the coming years it would increase to a great extent and call various natural disasters to come more often. Melting glaciers are continuous changing the chemical compositions and temperature of the water. Increasing water temperature has disturbed the sea life and forcing the sea animals to migrate or die. It seems that in the current years the Coral life will be wiped out. Some of the sea mammals (polar bear and penguins) are migrating or dying out because of the changing icy habitat.
Regular melting of the ice caps is increasing the greenhouse gases levels such as carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases which are trapping heat from the sun and warming the whole environment. Melting ice bodies are greatly contributing to the albedo effect which is directly affecting the geographical life. The important function of the ice bodies is to reflect back the extra sunlight and causing cooling effect of the earth, however if they are melting who one perform this function. It has forced the weather patterns to change and called various natural disasters like storm, drought, flood, cyclone, typhoon, thunderstorms, hurricanes, volcano, tsunami, rainstorm, etc.
Earth warming on regular basis has increased the chance of increasing pests and other disease causing insects like mosquito, culex, dengue mosquito, etc. All the effects of the global warming have deadly affected the human lives both physically and mentally. So, it requires some urgent basis solutions to be solved in few current years.
Global Warming Essay
Causes of Global Warming Essay
Causes and Effects of Global Warming Essay
Prevention of Global Warming Essay
Consequences of Global Warming Essay
Global Warming and Climate Change Essay
Green House Effect and Global Warming Essay
Global Warming and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Essay
Global Warming Solutions Essay
See also: Global warming and Effects of global warming
Climate change has brought about possibly permanent alterations to Earth's geological, biological and ecological systems. These changes have led to the emergence of a not so large-scale environmental hazards to human health, such as extreme weather,ozone depletion, increased danger of wildland fires,loss of biodiversity, stresses to food-producing systems and the global spread of infectious diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 160,000 deaths, since 1950, are directly attributable to climate change.
To date, a neglected aspect of the climate change debate, much less research has been conducted on the impacts of climate change on health, food supply, economic growth, migration, security, societal change, and public goods, such as drinking water, than on the geophysical changes related to global warming. Human impacts can be both negative and positive. Climatic changes in Siberia, for instance, are expected to improve food production and local economic activity, at least in the short to medium term. Numerous studies suggest, however, that the current and future impacts of climate change on human society are and will continue to be overwhelmingly negative.
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, wealth and other factors, and much lower levels of capacity available for coping with environmental change. A report on the global human impact of climate change published by the Global Humanitarian Forum in 2009, estimated more than 300,000 deaths and about $125 billion in economic losses each year, and indicating that most climate change induced mortality is due to worsening floods and droughts in developing countries.
Most of the key vulnerabilities to climate change are related to climate phenomena that exceed thresholds for adaptation; such as extreme weather events or abrupt climate change, as well as limited access to resources (financial, technical, human, institutional) to cope. In 2007, the IPCC published a report of key vulnerabilities of industry, settlements, and society to climate change. This assessment included a level of confidence for each key vulnerability:
- Very high confidence: Interactions between climate change and urbanization: this is most notable in developing countries, where urbanization is often focused in vulnerable coastal areas.
- High confidence:
- Interactions between climate change and global economic growth: Stresses due to climate change are not only linked to the impacts of climate change, but also to the impacts of climate change policies. For example, these policies might affect development paths by requiring high cost fuel choices.
- Fixed physical infrastructures that are important in meeting human needs: These include infrastructures that are susceptible to damage from extreme weather events or sea level rise, and infrastructures that are already close to being inadequate.
- Medium confidence: Interactions with governmental and social cultural structures that already face other pressures, e.g., limited economic resources.
Main article: Effects of climate change on human health
Climate change poses a wide range of risks to population health – risks that will increase in future decades, often to critical levels, if global climate change continues on its current trajectory. The three main categories of health risks include: (i) direct-acting effects (e.g. due to heat waves, amplified air pollution, and physical weather disasters), (ii) impacts mediated via climate-related changes in ecological systems and relationships (e.g. crop yields, mosquito ecology, marine productivity), and (iii) the more diffuse (indirect) consequences relating to impoverishment, displacement, resource conflicts (e.g. water), and post-disaster mental health problems.
Climate change thus threatens to slow, halt or reverse international progress towards reducing child under-nutrition, deaths from diarrheal diseases and the spread of other infectious diseases. Climate change acts predominantly by exacerbating the existing, often enormous, health problems, especially in the poorer parts of the world. Current variations in weather conditions already have many adverse impacts on the health of poor people in developing nations, and these too are likely to be 'multiplied' by the added stresses of climate change.
A changing climate thus affects the prerequisites of population health: clean air and water, sufficient food, natural constraints on infectious disease agents, and the adequacy and security of shelter. A warmer and more variable climate leads to higher levels of some air pollutants. It increases the rates and ranges of transmission of infectious diseases through unclean water and contaminated food, and by affecting vector organisms (such as mosquitoes) and intermediate or reservoir host species that harbour the infectious agent (such as cattle,bats and rodents). Changes in temperature, rainfall and seasonality compromise agricultural production in many regions, including some of the least developed countries, thus jeopardising child health and growth and the overall health and functional capacity of adults. As warming proceeds, the severity (and perhaps frequency) of weather-related disasters will increase – and appears to have done so in a number of regions of the world over the past several decades. Therefore, in summary, global warming, together with resultant changes in food and water supplies, can indirectly cause increases in a range of adverse health outcomes, including malnutrition, diarrhea, injuries, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and water-borne and insect-transmitted diseases.
Health equity and climate change have a major impact on human health and quality of life, and are interlinked in a number of ways. The report of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health points out that disadvantaged communities are likely to shoulder a disproportionate share of the burden of climate change because of their increased exposure and vulnerability to health threats. Over 90 percent of malaria and diarrhea deaths are borne by children aged 5 years or younger, mostly in developing countries. Other severely affected population groups include women, the elderly and people living in small island developing states and other coastal regions, mega-cities or mountainous areas.
Further information: Effects of global warming on human health § Mental health
A 2011 article in the American Psychologist identified three classes of psychological impacts from global climate change:
- Direct - "Acute or traumatic effects of extreme weather events and a changed environment"
- Indirect - "Threats to emotional well-being based on observation of impacts and concern or uncertainty about future risks"
- Psychosocial – "Chronic social and community effects of heat, drought, migrations, and climate-related conﬂicts, and postdisaster adjustment" A psychological impact is shown through peoples behaviours and how they act towards the actual situation. The topic of climate change is very complex and difficult for people to understand, which effects how they act upon it. It is shown by Ranney and Clark(2016) that by informing people to make them understand the topic of climate science clearly, it promotes the change in behaviour towards mitigation of climate change.
Extreme weather events
Further information: Extreme weather
This trend towards more variability and fluctuation is perhaps more important, in terms of its impact on human health, than that of a gradual and long-term trend towards higher average temperature. Infectious disease often accompanies extreme weather events, such as floods, earthquakes and drought. These local epidemics occur due to loss of infrastructure, such as hospitals and sanitation services, but also because of changes in local ecology and environment.
Further information: Effects of global warming on infectious diseases
Climate change may lead to dramatic increases in prevalence of a variety of infectious diseases. Beginning in the mid-'70s, there has been an “emergence, resurgence and redistribution of infectious diseases”. Reasons for this are likely multicausal, dependent on a variety of social, environmental and climatic factors, however, many argue that the “volatility of infectious disease may be one of the earliest biological expressions of climate instability”. Though many infectious diseases are affected by changes in climate, vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever and leishmaniasis, present the strongest causal relationship. Observation and research detect a shift of pests and pathogens in the distribution away from the equator and towards Earth's poles.
Increased precipitation like rain could increase the number of mosquitos indirectly by expanding larval habitat and food supply. Malaria kills approximately 300,000 children (under age 5) annually, poses an imminent threat through temperature increase . Models suggest, conservatively, that risk of malaria will increase 5-15% by 2100 due to climate change. In Africa alone, according to the MARA Project (Mapping Malaria Risk in Africa), there is a projected increase of 16–28% in person-month exposures to malaria by 2100.
Sociodemographic factors include, but are not limited to: patterns of human migration and travel, effectiveness of public health and medical infrastructure in controlling and treating disease, the extent of anti-malarialdrug resistance and the underlying health status of the population at hand. Environmental factors include: changes in land-use (e.g. deforestation), expansion of agricultural and water development projects (which tend to increase mosquito breeding habitat), and the overall trend towards urbanization (i.e. increased concentration of human hosts). Patz and Olson argue that these changes in landscape can alter local weather more than long term climate change. For example, the deforestation and cultivation of natural swamps in the African highlands has created conditions favourable for the survival of mosquito larvae, and has, in part, led to the increasing incidence of malaria. The effects of these non-climatic factors complicate things and make a direct causal relationship between climate change and malaria difficult to confirm. It is highly unlikely that climate exerts an isolated effect.
Climate change may dramatically impact habitat loss, for example, arid conditions may cause the deforestation of rainforests, as has occurred in the past.
A sustained wet-bulb temperature exceeding 35° is a threshold at which the resilience of human systems is no longer able to adequately cool the skin. A study by NOAA from 2013 concluded that heat stress will reduce labor capacity considerably under current emissions scenarios. There is evidence to show that high temperatures can increase mortality rates among fetuses and children Although the main focus is often on the health impacts and risks of higher temperatures, it should be remembered that they also reduce learning and worker productivity, which can impact a country's economy and development.
See also: Water crisis
The freshwater resources that humans rely on are highly sensitive to variations in weather and climate. In 2007, the IPCC reported with high confidence that climate change has a net negative impact on water resources and freshwater ecosystems in all regions. The IPCC also found with very high confidence that arid and semi-arid areas are particularly exposed to freshwater impacts.
As the climate warms, it changes the nature of global rainfall, evaporation, snow, stream flow and other factors that affect water supply and quality. Specific impacts include:
- Warmer water temperatures affect water quality and accelerate water pollution.
- Sea level rise is projected to increase salt-water intrusion into groundwater in some regions. This reduces the amount of freshwater available for drinking and farming.
- In some areas, shrinking glaciers and snow deposits threaten the water supply. Areas that depend on melted water runoff will likely see that runoff depleted, with less flow in the late summer and spring peaks occurring earlier. This can affect the ability to irrigate crops. (This situation is particularly acute for irrigation in South America, for irrigation and drinking supplies in Central Asia, and for hydropower in Norway, the Alps, and the Pacific Northwest of North America.)
- Increased extreme weather means more water falls on hardened ground unable to absorb it, leading to flash floods instead of a replenishment of soil moisture or groundwater levels.
- Increased evaporation will reduce the effectiveness of reservoirs.
- At the same time, human demand for water will grow for the purposes of cooling and hydration.
Displacement and migration
See also: Environmental migrant
Climate change causes displacement of people in several ways, the most obvious—and dramatic—being through the increased number and severity of weather-related disasters which destroy homes and habitats causing people to seek shelter or livelihoods elsewhere. Effects of climate change such as desertification and rising sea levels gradually erode livelihood and force communities to abandon traditional homelands for more accommodating environments. This is currently happening in areas of Africa’s Sahel, the semi-arid belt that spans the continent just below its northern deserts. Deteriorating environments triggered by climate change can also lead to increased conflict over resources which in turn can displace people.
The IPCC has estimated that 150 million environmental migrants will exist by the year 2050, due mainly to the effects of coastal flooding, shoreline erosion and agricultural disruption. However, the IPCC also cautions that it is extremely difficult to measure the extent of environmental migration due to the complexity of the issue and a lack of data.
According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, more than 42 million people were displaced in Asia and the Pacific during 2010 and 2011, more than twice the population of Sri Lanka. This figure includes those displaced by storms, floods, and heat and cold waves. Still others were displaced drought and sea-level rise. Most of those compelled to leave their homes eventually returned when conditions improved, but an undetermined number became migrants, usually within their country, but also across national borders.
Asia and the Pacific is the global area most prone to natural disasters, both in terms of the absolute number of disasters and of populations affected. It is highly exposed to climate impacts, and is home to highly vulnerable population groups, who are disproportionately poor and marginalized. A recent Asian Development Bank report highlights “environmental hot spots” that are particular risk of flooding, cyclones, typhoons, and water stress.
Some Pacific Ocean island nations, such as Tuvalu, Kiribati, and the Maldives, are considering the eventual possibility of evacuation, as flood defense may become economically unrealistic. Tuvalu already has an ad hoc agreement with New Zealand to allow phased relocation. However, for some islanders relocation is not an option. They are not willing to leave their homes, land and families. Some simply don’t know the threat that climate change has on their island and this is mainly down to the lack of awareness that climate change even exists. In Vutia on Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island, half the respondents to a survey had not heard of climate change (Lata and Nuun 2012). Even where there is awareness many believe that it is a problem caused by developed countries and should therefore be solved by developed countries.
Governments have considered various approaches to reduce migration compelled by environmental conditions in at-risk communities, including programs of social protection, livelihoods development, basic urban infrastructure development, and disaster risk management. Some experts even support migration as an appropriate way for people to cope with environmental changes. However, this is controversial because migrants – particularly low-skilled ones – are among the most vulnerable people in society and are often denied basic protections and access to services.
Climate change is only one factor that may contribute to a household's decision to migrate; other factors may include poverty, population growth or employment options. For this reason, it is difficult to classify environmental migrants as actual "refugees" as legally defined by the UNHCR. Neither the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change nor its Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement on climate change, includes any provisions concerning specific assistance or protection for those who will be directly affected by climate change.
In small islands and megadeltas, inundation as a result of sea level rise is expected to threaten vital infrastructure and human settlements. This could lead to issues of statelessness for populations in countries such as the Maldives and Tuvalu and homelessness in countries with low-lying areas such as Bangladesh.
The World Bank predicts that a “severe hit” will spur conflict and migration across the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa.
Main article: Climate security
Climate change has the potential to exacerbate existing tensions or create new ones — serving as a threat multiplier. It can be a catalyst for violent conflict and a threat to international security. A meta-analysis of over 50 quantitative studies that examine the link between climate and conflict found that "for each 1 standard deviation (1σ) change in climate toward warmer temperatures or more extreme rainfall, median estimates indicate that the frequency of interpersonal violence rises 4% and the frequency of intergroup conflict rises 14%". The IPCC has suggested that the disruption of environmental migration may serve to exacerbate conflicts, though they are less confident of the role of increased resource scarcity. Of course, climate change does not always lead to violence, and conflicts are often caused by multiple interconnected factors.
A variety of experts have warned that climate change may lead to increased conflict. The Military Advisory Board, a panel of retired U.S. generals and admirals, predicted that global warming will serve as a "threat multiplier" in already volatile regions. The Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Center for a New American Security, two Washington think tanks, have reported that flooding "has the potential to challenge regional and even national identities," leading to "armed conflict over resources." They indicate that the greatest threat would come from "large-scale migrations of people — both inside nations and across existing national borders." However, other researchers have been more skeptical: One study found no statistically meaningful relationship between climate and conflict using data from Europe between the years 1000 and 2000.
The link between climate change and security is a concern for authorities across the world, including United Nations Security Council and the G77 group of developing nations. Climate change's impact as a security threat is expected to hit developing nations particularly hard. In Britain, Foreign SecretaryMargaret Beckett has argued that "An unstable climate will exacerbate some of the core drivers of conflict, such as migratory pressures and competition for resources." The links between the human impact of climate change and the threat of violence and armed conflict are particularly important because multiple destabilizing conditions are affected simultaneously.
Experts have suggested links to climate change in several major conflicts:
Additionally, researchers studying ancient climate patterns (paleoclimatology) have shown that long-term fluctuations of war frequency and population changes have followed cycles of temperature change since the preindustrial era. A 2016 study finds that "drought can contribute to sustaining conflict, especially for agriculturally dependent groups and politically excluded groups in very poor countries. These results suggest a reciprocal nature–society interaction in which violent conflict and environmental shock constitute a vicious circle, each phenomenon increasing the group’s vulnerability to the other."
See also: Climate change and gender
The consequences of climate change and poverty are not distributed uniformly within communities. Individual and social factors such as gender, age, education, ethnicity, geography and language lead to differential vulnerability and capacity to adapt to the effects of climate change. Climate change effects such as hunger, poverty and diseases like diarrhea and malaria, disproportionately impact children; about 90 percent of malaria and diarrhea deaths are among young children. Children are also 14–44 percent more likely to die from environmental factors, again leaving them the most vulnerable.Those in urban areas will be affected by lower air quality and overcrowding, and will struggle the most to better their situation.
Social effects of extreme weather
See also: List of costliest Atlantic hurricanes and Physical impacts of climate change
As the World Meteorological Organization explains, "recent increase in societal impact from tropical cyclones has largely been caused by rising concentrations of population and infrastructure in coastal regions." Pielke et al. (2008) normalized mainland U.S. hurricane damage from 1900 to 2005 to 2005 values and found no remaining trend of increasing absolute damage. The 1970s and 1980s were notable because of the extremely low amounts of damage compared to other decades. The decade 1996–2005 has the second most damage among the past 11 decades, with only the decade 1926–1935 surpassing its costs. The most damaging single storm is the 1926 Miami hurricane, with $157 billion of normalized damage.
The American Insurance Journal predicted that "catastrophe losses should be expected to double roughly every 10 years because of increases in construction costs, increases in the number of structures and changes in their characteristics." The Association of British Insurers has stated that limiting carbon emissions would avoid 80% of the projected additional annual cost of tropical cyclones by the 2080s. The cost is also increasing partly because of building in exposed areas such as coasts and floodplains. The ABI claims that reduction of the vulnerability to some inevitable effects of climate change, for example through more resilient buildings and improved flood defences, could also result in considerable cost-savings in the longterm.
Further information: Current sea level rise
A major challenge for human settlements is sea-level rise, indicated by ongoing observation and research of rapid declines in ice-mass balance from both Greenland and Antarctica. Estimates for 2100 are at least twice as large as previously estimated by IPCC AR4, with an upper limit of about two meters. Depending on regional changes, increased precipitation patterns can cause more flooding or extended drought stresses water resources.
Coasts and low-lying areas
For historical reasons to do with trade, many of the world's largest and most prosperous cities are on the coast. In developing countries, the poorest often live on floodplains, because it is the only available space, or fertile agricultural land. These settlements often lack infrastructure such as dykes and early warning systems. Poorer communities also tend to lack the insurance, savings, or access to credit needed to recover from disasters.
In a journal paper, Nicholls and Tol (2006) considered the effects of sea level rise:
The most vulnerable future worlds to sea-level rise appear to be the A2 and B2 [IPCC] scenarios, which primarily reflects differences in the socio-economic situation (coastal population, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and GDP/capita), rather than the magnitude of sea-level rise. Small islands and deltaic settings stand out as being more vulnerable as shown in many earlier analyses. Collectively, these results suggest that human societies will have more choice in how they respond to sea-level rise than is often assumed. However, this conclusion needs to be tempered by recognition that we still do not understand these choices and significant impacts remain possible.
The IPCC reported that socioeconomic impacts of climate change in coastal and low-lying areas would be overwhelmingly adverse. The following impacts were projected with very high confidence:
- Coastal and low-lying areas would be exposed to increasing risks including coastal erosion due to climate change and sea level rise.
- By the 2080s, millions of people would experience floods every year due to sea level rise. The numbers affected were projected to be largest in the densely populated and low-lying mega-deltas of Asia and Africa; and smaller islands were judged to be especially vulnerable.
A study in the April 2007 issue of Environment and Urbanization reports that 634 million people live in coastal areas within 30 feet (9.1 m) of sea level. The study also reported that about two thirds of the world's cities with over five million people are located in these low-lying coastal areas.
Oil, coal and natural gas
Oil and natural gas infrastructure is vulnerable to the effects of climate change and the increased risk of disasters such as storm, cyclones, flooding and long-term increases in sea level. Minimising these risks by building in less disaster prone areas, can be expensive and impossible in countries with coastal locations or island states. All thermal power stations depend on water to cool them. Not only is there increased demand for fresh water, but climate change can increase the likelihood of drought and fresh water shortages. Another impact for thermal power plants, is that increasing the temperatures in which they operate reduces their efficiency and hence their output. The source of oil often comes from areas prone to high natural disaster risks; such as tropical storms, hurricanes, cyclones, and floods. An example is Hurricane Katrina's impact on oil extraction in the Gulf of Mexico, as it destroyed 126 oil and gas platforms and damaged 183 more.
However, previously pristine arctic areas will now be available for resource extraction
Climate change, along with extreme weather and natural disasters can affect nuclear power plants in a similar way to those using oil, coal, and natural gas. However, the impact of water shortages on nuclear power plants cooled by rivers will be greater than on other thermal power plants. This is because old reactor designs with water-cooled cores must run at lower internal temperatures and thus, paradoxically, must dump more heat to the environment to produce a given amount of electricity. This situation has forced some nuclear reactors to be shut down and will do so again unless the cooling systems of these plants are enhanced to provide more capacity. Nuclear power supply was diminished by low river ﬂow rates and droughts, which meant rivers had reached the maximum temperatures for cooling. Such shutdowns happened in France during the 2003 and 2006 heat waves. During the heat waves, 17 reactors had to limit output or shut down. 77% of French electricity is produced by nuclear power; and in 2009 a similar situation created a 8GW shortage, and forced the French government to import electricity. Other Cases have been reported from Germany, where extreme temperatures have reduced nuclear power production 9 times due to high temperatures between 1979 and 2007. In particular:
Similar events have happened elsewhere in Europe during those same hot summers. Many scientists agree that if global warming continues, this disruption is likely to increase.
Changes in the amount of river flow will correlate with the amount of energy produced by a dam. Lower river flows because of drought, climate change, or upstream dams and diversions, will reduce the amount of live storage in a reservoir; therefore reducing the amount of water that can be used for hydroelectricity. The result of diminished river flow can be a power shortage in areas that depend heavily on hydroelectric power. The risk of flow shortage may increase as a result of climate change. Studies from the Colorado River in the United States suggests that modest climate changes (such as a 2 degree change in Celsius that could result in a 10% decline in precipitation), might reduce river run-off by up to 40%. Brazil in particular, is vulnerable due to its having reliance on hydroelectricity as increasing temperatures, lower water ﬂow, and alterations in the rainfall regime, could reduce total energy production by 7% annually by the end of the century.
The scientific evidence for links between global warming and the increasing cost of natural disasters due to weather events is weak, but, nevertheless, prominent mainstream environmental spokesmen such as Barack Obama and Al Gore have emphasized the possible connection. For the most part increased costs due to events such as Hurricane Sandy are due to increased exposure to loss resulting from building insured facilities in vulnerable locations. This information has been denounced by Paul Krugman and ThinkProgress as climate change denial.
An industry directly affected by the risks of climate change is the insurance industry. According to a 2005 report from the Association of British Insurers, limiting carbon emissions could avoid 80% of the projected additional annual cost of tropical cyclones by the 2080s. A June 2004 report by the Association of British Insurers declared "Climate change is not a remote issue for future generations to deal with; it is, in various forms here already, impacting on insurers' businesses now." The report noted that weather-related risks for households and property were already increasing by 2–4% per year due to the changing weather conditions, and claims for storm and flood damages in the UK had doubled to over £6 billion over the period from 1998–2003 compared to the previous five years. The results are rising insurance premiums, and the risk that in some areas flood insurance will become unaffordable for those in the lower income brackets.
Financial institutions, including the world's two largest insurance companies: Munich Re and Swiss Re, warned in a 2002 study that "the increasing frequency of severe climatic events, coupled with social trends could cost almost 150 billion US$ each year in the next decade". These costs would burden customers, taxpayers, and the insurance industry, with increased costs related to insurance and disaster relief.
In the United States, insurance losses have also greatly increased. It has been shown that a 1% climb in annual precipitation can increase catastrophe loss by as much as 2.8%. Gross increases are mostly attributed to increased population and property values in vulnerable coastal areas; though there was also an increase in frequency of weather-related events like heavy rainfalls since the 1950s.
Roads, airport runways, railway lines and pipelines, (including oil pipelines, sewers, water mains etc.) may require increased maintenance and renewal as they become subject to greater temperature variation. Regions already adversely affected include areas of permafrost, which are subject to high levels of subsidence, resulting in buckling roads, sunken foundations, and severely cracked runways.
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