It is doubtless that global change has become one the challenges, which encompasses a wide range of human life, including social and economical aspects of human life. Research has indicated that climate change will continue affecting the world as long as proper measures are not taken to protect the environment.
In this line of thought, human activities have been widely blamed for escalating effects of climate change around the world (Hillel & Rosenzweig 2010). Only time will tell whether taming climate change is possible or not.
In this regard, this assessment covers the impact of climate change in our lives today even as world leaders burn midnight oil to develop strategies, aimed at taming the scourge. This proposal topic has an array of benefits, especially in understanding the fatal nature of climate change.
It will mainly focus on the effects of climate change and make proposals on how to counteract the effects of climate together some of the preventive measures being considered by international leaders.
Through literature review, this project will compare different views as argued by different authors in order to synthesize the issue with varying view points. This will be crucial in capturing the main objective of the projects, which revolves around the analysis of the effects of climate change in the world today.
How is climate change defined? Although different environmental experts tend to have different definitions, the Australian Government defines climate change as the weather pattern observed for several years. These changes are mainly caused by human activities, which negatively impact the environment.
With reference to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released in the year 2007, climate change is no longer a myth, but a reality, whose impact has continually escalated from 1950s, mainly due to rising levels of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
This implies that human activities have significantly contributed this environmental scourge, which continues to affect most parts of the world. The IPCC report was a representation of the world view on climate change, collected from various scientific journals published around the world (Australian Government 2012).
The Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency affirms that there is enough evidence to support the fact that the climate system of the earth has continuously been warming. Some of the observations made include the rising level of air in the world and high ocean temperatures. Others are the rising sea level, constant melting of snow and ice in most parts of the world.
One important fact to note about climate change is that it involves the rising temperatures of the climate system holistically, including all the oceans, atmosphere and the cryosphere. These findings concluded that the climate system is in a heating mode.
Even as we review other people’s work, it is important to note that climate change is more than mere global warming as perceived by most people. From scientific revelation, the climate will be varied broadly especially if the warming continues uncontrollably (Australian Government 2012). As a result, the world is likely to experience irregular rainfall patterns, occurrence of severe climatic events like heavy currents and droughts among others.
Climate change impacts
The impact of climate change has been felt in every part of the world. According to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Asia, Africa and Latin America are among the regions of the world, which have severely been affected by the scourge. In a 2010 survey carried out by Climate Change Secretariat, Africa is under the pressure of climate change and remains vulnerable to these effects.
Unlike most parts of the world, Africa experiences varying climatic changes. Common occurrences in Africa are severe droughts and floods, which have had negative implications on the continent’s economy (UNFCCC 2010).
The two events are widely known to predispose famine and overall interference with the socio-well being of the society. According to the UNFCCC’s analysis, close to a third of Africa’s population inhabit drought-prone regions, while more than two million remain vulnerable to drought every year (UNFCCC 2010).
In understanding the implication of climate change in Africa, the survey found out that the issue of climate change is intertwined with several factors, which contribute to its escalation across the continent.
Some of these factors include poverty, weak institutions, illiteracy, lack of information and technology, limited infrastructure, poor accessibility to resources, poor management and conflicts. In addition, there is widespread exploitation of land, which remains a major threat to the climate.
Due to pressure on farming land, most farmers exert pressure through over-cultivation and deforestation. In addition, other factors like dunes and storms continue posing more negative threats to the environment and human beings (UNFCCC 2010).
As a result of these events, the continent experiences drought and overall scarcity of water. Due to this emerging trend, Africa is likely to face shortage of rainfall and overall scarcity of water. With Africa having several trans-boundary river basins, the continent is likely to experience conflicts over these basins. Another important aspect captured in the report is agriculture (UNFCCC 2010).
Since most subsistence farmers in Africa depend on rainfall and irrigation, the sector has been affected by insufficient supply in most Sub-Saharan regions. Besides this, UNFCCC notes that climate change has resulted into loss of agricultural land and a drop in subsistence crop production. With a good percentage of the population under the threat of starvation, climate change has undoubtedly led to escalation of insufficient food supply.
It is amazing to note that climate change has also contributed to the spread of some diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and diarrhea in most parts of Africa. As stated by the UNFCCC, there has been a shift in the distribution of disease vectors.
For instance, migration of mosquitoes to regions of higher altitude is likely to expose people in such regions to the risk of contracting malaria (UNFCCC 2010). Additionally, climate change is likely to result into negative impact on African ecosystems and habitats, which are already threatened by these changes. Due to reduced habitat and changing climatic conditions some species are likely to move to more tolerable regions.
In this line of though Robert Watson, Marufu Zinyowera and Richard Moss found out that climate change can have severe effects on human health. In a research carried out in 1998, the three reiterated that human health may be affected as a result of heat-stress mortality, urban air pollution and vector-borne diseases, which could be favored as a result of change in temperature or rainfall in a given ecosystem (Watson, Zinyowera & Moss 1998, p. 7).
Additionally, Watson, Zinyowera and Moss argued that these effects are commonly felt in developing countries, where lives are lost, communities affected and the cost in medical care rises due to high prevalence of some health complications.
With regard to the impact of climate change on biodiversity, Watson, Zinyowera and Moss, agree with UNFCCC’s findings. In their 1998 survey, the three argued that all ecosystems play a fundamental role in the society (Watson, Zinyowera & Moss 1998).
For instance, they are a source of goods and services to any society. In particular, these goods and services include provision of food, processing and storage of carbon and other nutrients, assimilation of wastes and provision of recreation and tourism opportunities among others.
As a result, they argued that climatic changes are known to alter the geographical local of various ecological systems, including the presence of certain species and their ability to remain productive to support the society. According to their findings, ecological systems are essentially dynamic and are commonly affected by climatic variations of whichever magnitude.
Nevertheless, the extreme to which the climate varies determines the changes, which occur in the ecosystem. In addition, the three authors noted the high level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was a major contributing factor towards climate changes taking place in the world today (Watson, Zinyowera & Moss 1998).
Besides influencing the ecosystems, Watson, Zinyowera and Moss noted that climate change may also have secondary effects, say, variations in soil characteristics and interference of regimes. These include diseases, pests and diseases, which are likely to support the existence of some species favorably than others (Watson, Zinyowera & Moss 1998).
This will automatically affect the survival of some species and the overall population of organisms. Similarly, they argued that that climate change has direct impact on food production in most parts of the world. According to the 1998 survey, the type of agricultural systems in place determines the manner in which crop productivity is affected by changes in climatic conditions and patterns.
Like many other scholars, Barrie Pittock spent his life studying the environment and how it is affected by changes in climate. In his 2009, survey, Climate Change: The Science, Impacts and Solutions, Pittock outlined several reasons why there is cause for alarm, regarding climate change in the world today.
According to Pittock, the UNFCCC seeks to reduce the impact of climate change by being on the frontline in the war against global warming (Pittock 2009, p. 107). He further noted that human-induced climate change is a major security threat in the world today. This stance is mainly backed by the well-known effects of climate change described by the UNFCCC and the IPCC.
Moreover, Pittock reiterated that climate change has complex effects in the world today, citing a number of examples. In cases where there is high rainfall resulting from climate change, the world may experience direct or indirect implications.
This could be seen through high or low crop yield, depending on the type of soil or crop. On the other hand, indirect effects may refer to changes in demand and supply, emanating from either low or high yield, depending on other factors. He therefore agreed with several authors and researchers who have enumerated implications of climate change on the environment and human life at large.
For example, Pittock noted that climate change has been a major cause of water shortages in most parts of the world (Pittock 2009, p. 108). He however attributed this to a number of factors, including precipitation decrease in some regions, high rates of evaporation in the world and general loss of glaciers.
Economically, Pittock noted that climate change affects the economic progress of a nation since resources may be diverted to disease control instead of advancing developing projects.
Moreover, it is important to note that most of the countries, which suffer severely as a result of climate change, are poor nations that lack stable economic muscles. As a result, there is a likelihood of richer countries becoming stronger as developing economies weaken further. Lastly, Pittock noted that some of the threats emanating from climate change cause irreversible damages, which end up haunting human beings forever (Pittock 2009, p. 109).
With reference to a number of scholars who have done research on the impact of climate change, it is evident that human activities have a role in the escalation of these effects. In his 2010 survey, Martin Kernan noted that there is a relation between human activities and global warming.
As a result of this global relationship, the world has registered an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In this survey, he noted that the increase in green house gases is rampant in the northern hemisphere than any other part of the world.
As a result of high temperatures, Martin underscore that the changes have impact on the composition of natural ecosystems, regarding species population and their ability to survive (Kernan 2010, p. 15). What is most evident in Martin’s research is his comparison of the current state of the climate, to what was known hundreds of years ago.
Climate change also affects the quality of water in the United States. According to a research carried out by Robert Mendelsohn and James Neumann, water plays an important role in the life of a human being. Some of these functions include but not limited to power generation, food production, recreation and ecological processes (Mendelsohn & Mendelsohn 2004, p. 133).
However, this is only possible if the water is available and of good quality. Thus, changes in spatial distribution and quality can have direct social and economic effects on the society.
This alteration may occur as a result of increased concentration in greenhouse gases. Climate change can be detected by observing variation in temperatures, frequent and intense droughts and altered precipitation patterns among other factors (Mendelsohn & Mendelsohn 2004, p. 133).
The findings on the impact of climate change on the quality of water have also been pursued by Jan Dam, who argued that natural systems are usually sensitive to changes in climate variation. Hydrological quality is mainly affected by the temperature or concentration of water (Dam 2003, p. 95).
When oceans and other water bodies overheat because of high temperatures, this may result into negative impact on aquatic animals, which adapt to certain hydrological temperatures. Similarly, the quality of water is always altered when gases like carbon dioxide are dissolved in water basins. This may affect the mix of species present in a given ecosystem.
Managing climate change
Based on the impact of climate change, it is doubtless that management of the risks has to be effected promptly before they become fatal and irreversible. One of the ways of controlling climate change is through reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
This can be achieved through several ways, which minimize the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (McCarthy 2001, p. 222). According to James McCarthy, this can be realized by adopting alternative sources of energy unlike how most economies rely of oil and petroleum products as the main source of energy. Additionally, good methods of farming are important to maintain the value of the environment for sustainable support.
Use of international legislations is also necessary in ensuring that rich countries do not exploit developing nations as they are major contributors of effluents into the atmosphere (Hillel & Rosenzweig 2010). Above all, the fight against climate change calls for environmental campaign, which requires the efforts of everybody in the world.
From the above review of literature, it is clear that climate change is a major socio and environmental issue affecting the world today. Mainly caused by human activities, climate change poses a chain of challenges and threats to the environment.
For instance, there are several diseases, which affect human beings as a result of climate change (Rosenberg & Edmonds 2005). Of importance is also the alteration of the quality of the natural environment, which affects biodiversity. This has led to the extinction of some species, while others have increased exponentially in numbers.
Moreover, it is imperative to note that some of the occurrences, which are considered to be natural, are caused by climate change. Common ones include floods and draughts (Faure, Gupta & Nentjes 2003, p. 340).
Most of these calamities continue to be recognized as natural disasters yet they can be controlled using simple mitigation measures. In most cases, adoption of renewable sources of energy has always been considered to be the most important way of saving the world from climate change. Although it is a complex issue to handle, joint global efforts are important in making progress.
Australian Government 2012, Impacts of climate change.
Dam, J 2003, Impacts of Climate Change and Climate Variability on Hydrological Regimes, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.
Faure, M, Gupta, J & Nentjes, A 2003, Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol: The Role of Institutions and Instruments to Control Global Change, Edward Elgar Publishing, United Kingdom.
Hillel, D & Rosenzweig, C 2010, Handbook of Climate Change and Agroecosystems: Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation, World Scientific, Singapore.
Kernan, M 2010, Climate Change Impacts on Freshwater Ecosystems, John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey.
Mendelsohn, R & Neumann, J 2004, The Impact Of Climate Change On The United States Economy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.
Pittock, B 2009, Climate Change: The Science, Impacts and Solutions, Csiro Publishing, Sydney.
Rosenberg, N, & Edmonds, J 2005, Climate Change Impacts for the Conterminous USA: An Integrated Assessment, Springer, New York.
UNFCCC 2010, Climate Change: Impacts, Vulnerabilities and Adaptation In Developing Countries.
Watson, R, Zinyowera, M & Moss, R 1998, The Regional Impacts of Climate Change: An Assessment of Vulnerability, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.