In the past few decades, the world has been grappling with environmental concerns that have threatened to significantly affect life on earth. Global climate change has greatly affected all the sectors of the economy by inhibiting the usual manner in which people undertake tasks. Global climate change refers to the adverse changes in weather patterns leading to drought, flooding, or increase in atmospheric temperatures (Ruddiman 13). Climate change is often characterized by changes in atmospheric temperatures, atmospheric pressure, humidity levels, and atmospheric gas compositions. Climatic changes are brought about by a host of factors, including: industrial activity, deforestation, and natural factors. Industrial activities release harmful gases into the atmosphere such as Nitrogen dioxide, carbon (IV) oxide, and sulphur. Of all these gases, sulphur and carbon (IV) oxide are the most harmful. Sulphur causes acid rain while carbon (IV) oxide leads to global warming. Global climate change has contributed to food scarcity, drought and flood related problems, and health complications such as heat stroke and skin cancers.
Analysis of Research
Global climate change has various effects on the environment. The effects of climate change are due to the related effects and their impact on the various sectors of the economy or societal life. Notably, the agricultural sector has been worst hit by perennial flooding or long drought spells. Meteorologists are forecasting worse climatic conditions in the unforeseen future. At the centre of this catastrophe, global warming contributes to the major environmental concerns facing the world today. The other environmental issue contributing to global climate change is the depletion of the ozone layer. Depletion of the ozone layer allows the harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun to penetrate into the surface of the earth (Thomas 23).
The most notable effects of global climate change are economic. National economies are hurt by climatic changes. Countries that depend on agriculture to sustain their economies are most affected. For instance, countries lying in the Sub-Saharan Africa depend on agriculture to run their economies. Climatic changes affect rains or bring about prolonged droughts (Bill 13). Lack of rains affects crop growth. On the other hand, too much rain lead to flooding and cause death or destruction to property. Too much rain in the lowlands and areas bordering the seas and oceans are most affected by the rains. Increased temperatures trigger the melting of the glaciers. Melted ice causes flooding at the lowlands and increases water levels in the seas, affecting harbors and ocean-line structures.
Climate change effects affect the conduct of certain businesses. The insurance and transport businesses are the most affected. Destruction of property due to too much rain affects the insurance business. Insurance firms have taken precautions to ensure that they do not incur losses. In some areas where tornados are common, the insurance business has raised the premiums highly such that the public is no longer able to afford the premiums. Heavy rains destroy sections of the roads or railway lines. In addition, they may sweep off bridges. Destruction of roads affects the movement of vehicles from one are to another. Persons engaged in the transport business incur losses due to the stalled movement of vehicles. Besides, individual traders are unable to move from one are to another to conduct business or to facilitate the movement of trade goods. Bad weather arising from too much rain affects the air transport for both passengers and movement of goods.
The inability of member countries to facilitate trade slows economic development. As a result, the countries lose incomes or revenues. Usually, it is the microeconomic aspects of the economy that are worst hit. However, in developing countries, the microeconomic aspects contribute a large proportion to the economy. Therefore, affecting these small sectors of the economy adversely inhibits overall growth of the economy. In addition, the climate change has led to the loss of jobs for workers engaged in the agricultural and trade sectors of the economy. The government losses revenue streams from two sectors. The first avenue is through the direct taxation of businesses. The other revenue stream lost is through the taxation of income tax of individual workers engaged in the affected businesses. The combined loss of revenues denies the government the capital to develop key infrastructure in the economy or provide essential social services.
For long, the debate around global climate change has revolved around the resultant economic implications (Ruddiman 23). Players are concerned with the loss of revenues associated with rains or droughts. Perhaps, the reason why the economic implications were prominent is because of the ease with which they can be ascertained. It is easy for one to one to determine the amounts of money lost than to measure the effects in abstract terms. Nations can clearly determine the shortfalls in revenue collection or the decline in the quality of social services offered. In the modern times, players in the global circles have introduced another dimension with which to view the effects of global climate changes. According to these players, the effects of global climate change also affect the social sphere of life. The impact of climatic change on the social sphere refers to the extent to which human life is affected, not in economic dimensions. The social sphere includes the culture, family integration, and social conflicts.
Food is a basic human need. Meal times are important in keeping families together. Families meet to share a meal. In some culture, meal times are ideal times for addressing family issues. Climate change leads to a reduction in food supplies due to harsh climatic conditions. A reduction in food supplies implies that families are no longer able to meet over meal times and discuss their personal matters. Climate change thus affects family integration as members of the family are no longer able to meet (Frederic 70). A disintegrated family setup affects social cohesion. It is important for a family to live harmoniously. A family, as the basic social unit, reflects the general outlook in the society. A look the condition of the family gives a true reflection of the situation in society. In the event that members of the family are unable to settle their differences, the issues spill over and degenerate into communal conflicts. Conflicts are dangerous to social cohesion as they will eventually lead to the disintegration of society.
Food is an important cultural element world over. In the absence of language, color, or creed, people identify themselves with the foods they eat. Different cultures have developed their own cuisine. From Indian and Mexican to American cuisines, there exist several cuisines one can sample. Changes in climatic conditions affect food production in various regions of the world. Decrease in rains in some regions lead to lower food production. The food produced is insufficient to feed the families that depend on the food. In other areas, the much rains affect the growth and maturity of certain crops. For example, rice drowns in paddies, leading to poor harvests. Damp weather affects the drying of maize or contributes to maize diseases. Lack of enough food degrades the pride in people who have earned their fame from producing certain types of food. Besides, the lack of food affects the culture of the people. There are food festivals worldwide and they attract great multitudes. In the event that the festivals can no longer be facilitated, the culture slowly dies.
Climate changes have been touted to contribute to social conflicts (Frederic 56). Firstly, when family shelters are destroyed to gather in concentration camps to await the bad weather to pass. Concentrating a group of people in a given area leads to social problems as often people are unable to agree on various subjects. Disagreements often arise and depending on how they are handled, they may degenerate to social strife. Secondly, global climatic changes affect food production. Society is left to scramble for the little food that is available. Due to the power differences between different people in society, the weak are often vanquished and left suffer. Social pressures drive some people to commit atrocities in a bid to make ends meet.
In some cases where the effects of the environmental destruction are permanent, people may be forced to completely abandon their homes and immigrate to other areas. It is not easy for people to adjust to new surroundings. People have fit-in challenges whenever they move to new neighborhoods. The difficulties in adjusting to a new environment may affect some people for a lifetime. In addition, the people in the new areas may be unreceptive to the new members. Usually, the problems stem from the thought that the incoming group will cause a great strain to the available social resources. For this reason, the new group is often treated as misfits or outcasts, a factor that greatly affects social integration. In aggravated incidences, the new community members may be attacked or directly evicted by the host communities (Frederic 42). Some people lose lives or property as a result of the hostility of the new community. Global climate change displaces people from their original habitats and makes them outcasts in new areas, creating a huge social problem.
Global climatic change has been a problem to the world for several decades now. Each time world governments convene, they always put climatic changes on the agenda. Governments and the concerned stakeholders are always looking to ways to address the problems associated with climatic changes. At the onset, the players are looking for ways to prevent the changes from happening. The world nations have resolved to cut on carbon emissions as one of the ways of combating climate change, as global warming is the major challenge in the present world. Besides tackling climatic changes, the players are looking for ways to address the social issues arising from climatic changes. Immigrations, social strife, loss of culture, and family disintegration are some of the greatest social challenges which the modern world must deal with, as a consequence of global climatic change.
Frederic, Wagner. Climate Change in Western North America: Evidence and Environmental Effects. The University of Utah Press, 2009. Print.
Bill, McKibben. The Global Warming Reader. New York. OR Books, 2011. Print.
Ruddiman, William. Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2005. Print.
Thomas, Karl, Melillo, Jerry, & Thomas, Peterson (eds). Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2009. PDF.