Science has proven that our planet is being negatively impacted by climate change and the trend is expected to continue. Some of the newer research, however, warns of dire consequences. Below are six alarming ways climate change could impact our future:
Reemergence and Spread of Disease (Africa strongly impacted)
It is estimated that climate change contributes to 150,000 deaths and 5 million illnesses each year due to increased frequency of heatwaves, diminishing supplies of drinking water, higher risks of water-borne diseases, and a rise in flooding. The numbers are expected to rise (double in the near future) as our planet continues to heat up. We could also see the possible reemergence of currently uncommon diseases, such as dengue fever.
Property Loss & Mortality (North America strongly impacted)
Over the past three decades, the number of weather-related loss events in North America grew by a factor of five. In the United States alone, 7 of the 10 warmest years on record in the contiguous 48 states have occurred since 1990 causing billions in property damages and significant loss of human life. The continued upward trend in weather-related disaster losses is being driven in part by climate change.
Decreased Food Production & Food Quality (South America strongly impacted)
The world’s population is predicted to rise to 9 billion by 2050 up from 7.3 billion today. To keep pace, food production will need to increase by more than 60 percent. Unfortunately, global food shortages are expected to become three times more likely due to climate change as droughts become more prevalent and crop yields decrease. Studies suggest up to 200 million more food-insecure people by 2050 or an additional 24 million malnourished children.
Rise of Sea Levels (South Asia strongly impacted)
Globally, 147 million to 216 million people can expect to see their homes submerged or put at risk for regular flooding by 2100. Some remote island nations and low-lying areas would start disappearing, including Kiribati, the Maldives, and the Marshall Islands, which all sit just above sea level. Miami, Houston, and New York, familiar low-lying areas, are also in serious trouble. If Greenland melts completely, Miami would disappear, as would most of Manhattan.
Inhabitable Areas (Middle East strongly impacted)
New studies reveal that future heat waves may make currently populated parts of our planet inhabitable to humans. One particular area of concern is the Persian Gulf. Five Middle East cites — Doha in Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Dhahran in Saudi Arabia, and Bandar Abbas in Iran — would reach the dangerous "wet-bulb" threshold by 2100, when temperatures would be too high for human survival.
Increased Wildfires (Europe strongly impacted)
Climate change is expected to contribute to a dramatic increase in forest fire damage across the world, particularly in Europe. Climate change is expected to bring increased temperatures and longer droughts—conditions that will make forests more susceptible to fires. As a result, by 2090, the area burned by forest fires in the European Union could increase by 200 percent because of climate change.
Today’s choices significantly affect the risk that climate change will pose for the rest of the century and future generations to come. Make a change today. Help us ReTree!
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