Friday, April 12, 2024
Environmental Management

Nine (9) Impacts and Remedy to Global Warming

Reducing energy demand through conservation and innovation appears to be a particularly promising means of reducing GHG emissions. For example, between the mid-1980s and 2015, energy efficiency standards and labeling for appliances and a broad range of products in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and other nations reduced the energy consumption of these products by 10% to 25%.98.

In 2015, such measures saved consumers and businesses in the U.S. about $40 billion.99. A National Academies study concluded that while using LEED-Silver or equivalent standards in the construction of new buildings increased the costs of initial construction by up to 8%, energy costs would be reduced by between 5% and 30% over the life of the building.

A report from the UN Foundation estimated that an investment of $3.2 trillion worldwide in energy conservation would avoid new supply investments of $3 trillion and would pay for itself within three to five years.

Since most energy use occurs in cities with rising populations, policies that encourage residential density, localized employment opportunities, diversified urban land use, and public transportation are particularly important. Behavioral changes can also have a tangible impact.

Nine (9) Impacts of Globa lWarming

1. Biodiversity

The global biodiversity resource is under threat from a range of anthropogenic drivers, including pollution, land-use change and climate change (CBD 2003; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005).

Recent work has suggested that climate change may be as great a long-term threat to species survival as land-use change, although this work is not without its uncertainty.

Irrespective, there is very high confidence that climate change is already impacting on biodiversity at a global scale as determined by the IPCC criteria (i.e. an estimation that more than 95% of observed changes are principally caused by climate change).

Information on the impact of climate change on biodiversity has two main sources: first, detected impacts (commonly from long-term monitoring of species or ecosystems), and second, modeled projections of future impacts.

Although we have in general constrained our discussion to information from Europe, we also include information from some studies outside of Europe or at the global scale in order to illustrate some generic ecological processes.

This information is not intended as a comprehensive review of climate change impacts on European biodiversity, but instead is meant to illustrate some of its major features.

2. Rising sea level

As the world warms, sea levels rise, both because increasing temperatures cause ice fields to melt and because the oceans themselves are warming (and therefore expanding).

Since around 1870, rates of global sea level rise (GSLR) have accelerated and are now about 3.5 mm (0.15 inches) per year.

By 2100, sea levels are projected to rise by up to 2 meters (6.6 feet), depending on GHG emissions and the effects of warming air and ocean water on ice.

Two thirds of the world‘s largest cities are located in low-lying coastal areas, and increasing sea levels could submerge the land on which an estimated 470 million to 760 million people are living.

A number of island nations including 11 of the Solomon Islands are already submerged or at risk of total destruction.

By 2050, between 665,000 and 1.7 million people in the Pacific are expected to be forced to migrate due to rising sea levels, including the entire populations of islands such as Fiji, the Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu.

In larger countries, such as Bangladesh and the Netherlands, a very large proportion of the population will probably be forced to relocate (46% and over 70%, respectively).

By 2100, in the U.S. alone, barring a concerted mitigation effort, $238 billion to $507 billion worth of coastal property will likely be below sea level.

Some U.S. cities, including Miami, Florida and Norfolk, Virginia, are in particular danger of inundation and increased flooding.

3. Change in weather pattern

Although it is difficult to link any single event directly to climate change, rising temperatures means that the atmosphere can hold more water vapor, allowing both for greater rates of rainfall and runoff when the air is saturated and for drier (more under-saturated) conditions otherwise.

In other words, though overall rates of evaporation are not changing greatly, extremes in precipitation are becoming less frequent but more intense, and as a result rainfall patterns are shifting across the world. Since 2013, extreme drought has affected the Western U.S.

In California, 2015 was the driest year on record, supplanting 2013; and 2014 had been the third-driest. Somalia, Kenya, and other East African countries have experienced below-average rainfall since the late 1990s, contributing to a 30% reduction in crop yields and famines in 2010, 2011, and 2016.

There has also been an increase in the prevalence of hurricanes and other destructive weather events.

For example, in 2013 the Philippines was hit by one of the worst typhoons in recorded history (Typhoon Haiyan), which led to over 6,000 deaths, displaced nearly 4 million people, and caused billions of dollars in damages.

4. Political and security risk

Climate change has been linked to increased political instability worldwide. When food prices rose sharply in 2007-2008, dozens of so- called ―food riots‖ caused casualties in Argentina, Cameroon, Haiti, and India.

Both the Somalian civil war and the Syrian civil war have been linked to drought and famine exacerbated by climate change.

The U.S. military has suggested that climate change is a salient national security concern, which could redraw maps and spheres of engagement while compounding conflicts and resource constraints in some of the world‘s already vulnerable countries, leading to further instability and even war.

5. Health risk

Higher temperatures increase the possibility of heat-related injury and death. As many as 70,000 people died in the 2003 European heat wave, and more than 50,000 died in a 2010 heat wave in Russia

Thousands more have perished in increasing and increasingly severe heat waves in India (2015), Europe (2006), and around the world. Water and vector borne diseases are also projected to increase as insects and other carriers move into higher latitudes.

For example, between 2000 and 2013, instances of Lyme disease in the U.S. doubled. A warmer atmosphere also increases the concentrations of smog (a lung irritant), while continuing to burn fossil fuels particularly coal can lead to millions of premature deaths.

The burning of coal has been linked to tens of thousands of premature deaths in the U.S. annually, and the World Health Organization found that, in 2012, 7 million people worldwide died due to air pollution.

Read Also : Introduction to Climate Change and Process of Global Warming

Studies conducted to quantify economically the health impacts of climate change have suggested that the costs are substantial.

Nine (9) Impacts and Remedy to Global Warming

According to research conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the extraction, transportation, processing, and combustion of coal in the U.S. cause 24,000 excess lives lost annually due to lung and heart disease (evaluated at $187.5 billion per year) and 11,000 excess lives lost annually due to high health burdens in coal- mining regions (evaluated at $74.6billion per year).

Another study conducted by the EPA found that the health impacts of fossil fuel electricity in the U.S. totaled between $362 billion and $887 billion per year (representing 2.5% to 6.0% of GDP) due to premature mortality, workdays lost, and other direct healthcare costs.

6. Impact of wildlife

Climate change also significantly affects many natural habitats and puts many species at higher risk of extinction in the coming century.

Observing that current extinction rates are 100 times the normal rate, some scientists predict that the Earth is headed for the sixth mass extinction event in its history.

By 2100, 30% to 50% of the world‘s land and marine animal species may be extinct. Climate change is also having significant effects on the oceans.

Over the last 100 years, it has raised near-surface ocean temperatures by about 0.74° C (1.3° F) and made the sea significantly more acidic, likely affecting marine animals reproduction and survival.

In some places, live coral coverage is only half of what it was in the 1960s, and scientists predict that the world‘s coral reefs could be entirely extinct by 2050. As many as 1 billion people rely on the fish that live in coral reefs as their primary protein source.

7. Improvement in Energy Efficiency

Reducing energy demand through conservation and innovation appears to be a particularly promising means of reducing GHG emissions.

For example, between the mid-1980s and 2015, energy efficiency standards and labeling for appliances and a broad range of products in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and other nations reduced the energy consumption of these products by 10% to 25%.

In 2015, such measures saved consumers and businesses in the U.S. about $40 billion. A National Academies study concluded that while using LEED-Silver or equivalent standards in the construction of new buildings increased the costs of initial construction by up to 8%, energy costs would be reduced by between 5% and 30% over the life of the building.

A report from the UN Foundation estimated that an investment of $3.2 trillion worldwide in energy conservation would avoid new supply investments of $3 trillion and would pay for itself within three to five years.

Since most energy use occurs in cities with rising populations, policies that encourage residential density, localized employment opportunities, diversified urban land use, and public transportation are particularly important.102 Behavioral changes can also have a tangible impact.

For instance, McKinsey estimates that changes such as driving smaller cars could reduce fuel demand by about 10% in 2030.The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that around 40% of the reductions required by 2050could potentially come from increased energy efficiency.

8. Changes in Agricultural Practice

Changes in land use also have the potential to be an important factor in reducing carbon emissions.

For example, from 2000 to 2005, the burning of tropical forests accounted for 7% to 14% of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

Because forests act as sinks that remove carbon from the atmosphere and place it in the ground, the destruction of those forests accelerates the pace of climate change.

Biochar charcoal added to soil to enhance crop yields and nutrition is one potential means of reducing GHG emissions while simultaneously improving soil health.

Rather than burning agricultural and forestry waste, a source of enormous GHG emissions, waste biomass could be converted to biochar, which stores carbon in soil for thousands of years.

Other changes in agricultural practices aim to reduce methane emissions from livestock, which account for 14.5% of global CO2eq emissions. One possible solution is the use of feed additives, which could reduce these emissions by 25% to 30%.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that changes in practices within existing [livestock agriculture] production systems could cut agricultural emission by about 30%.

9. Geo-engineering

Some scientists claim that geo-engineering, or intentionally interfering in the world‘s climate systems, is a possible solution to mitigating climate change.

They suggest exploring possibilities like injecting sulfates into the atmosphere, where their high reflectivity would stop up to1% of the sun‘s radiation from reaching the Earth‘s surface.

One plan in the U.K. involves pumping water nearly a kilometer up into the atmosphere, by way of a suspended hose attached to stadium size hydrogen balloon in the stratosphere, 20 km above the Earth.

The plan, called Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Change (SPICE), is meant to test the feasibility of one day spraying sulfate particles in place of water.

SPICE and other geo-engineering ideas were inspired by studying the atmosphere-cooling effects of volcanic eruptions, such as the Mount Pinatubo, Philippines eruption of 1991, which spewed 20 million tons of sulfate particles into the atmosphere, cooling Earth by 0.5 degree Celsius for 18 months.

Preliminary estimates suggest that geo-engineering could be relatively cheap, although it would have to be maintained continuously in order to control the Earth‘s temperature.

However, this suggestion is hugely controversial. There are concerns that we have very little understanding of what the widespread distribution of sulfates might do and fear that they will damage the ozone layer, lead to drought, and possibly disrupt the Asian and African summer monsoons, reducing precipitation to the food supply to billions.

In summary, through the accelerated diffusion of so called ―fourth generation‖ nuclear power: recent developments hold the promise of significantly reducing the capital costs associated with building nuclear power reactors while also making them safer and reducing their waste production. In addition, transportation is responsible for 26% of U.S.

CO2 emissions, making it the second largest source behind electricity (30%).116 Efforts to reduce emissions from the sector include substantial investments in both biofuels and electric vehicles.

Climate change has impacted negatively on humans, plants and wildlife. However the impact can be reduced and monitored by reducing energy demand through conservation reducing as now practiced in some industrialized nations.

Changes in land use also have the potential to be an important factor in reducing carbon emissions. For example, from 2000 to 2005, the burning of tropical forests accounted for 7% to 14% of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

Because forests act as sinks that remove carbon from the atmosphere and place it in the ground, the destruction of those forests accelerates the pace of climate change.

Some scientists claim that geo-engineering, or intentionally interfering in the world‘s climate systems, is also a possible solution to mitigating climate change.

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Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with over 12 years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education... Visit My Websites On: 1. Agric4Profits.com - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. WealthinWastes.com - For Effective Environmental Management through Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices! Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4Profits TV and WealthInWastes TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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