Climate Change and Our Economy


| 4 Comments

Global Warming is arguably the most controversial science topic of our time. People can't agree whether or not it is man-made change or simply the Earth going through its natural cycle. What's not debatable is whether or not the Earth is warming; it is.

flooded_ny.jpg

The World Bank recently warned the world that if the Earth's temperature rise is not slowed or stopped our economy might be at risk. That's right, not the polar ice caps or sea level tropical paradises, our economy. The report from the World Bank warns us that a 4 degree Celsius change could have catastrophic effects on our economy. "A global temperature increase like one estimated by the World Bank would lead to "the inundation of coastal cities; increasing risks for food production, potentially leading to higher malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer, wet regions wetter; unprecedented heat waves in many regions," water scarcity, and more natural disasters"(Koebler, 11/18/12). Now the 4 degree Celsius increase in temperature is the worst case scenario; however, they believe it could happen as early as 2060.

So what does this mean for us? I think it means we need to sit down and seriously discuss the reality that we are in. At this point, climate change being man-made or natural does not matter. What matters is that we can find a way to slow and/or stop it. Our current economy still has a long way to go before we fully recover and Europe is a complete disaster. If the World Bank is correct in predicting food shortages and water scarcity, the world could be in for a real shock. While the developed world would struggle to cope with these problems, developing nations such as China and India, where poverty is already rampant, could be hit even harder. The effect on Africa would be devastating. "It would push up food prices, make 35 percent of farmland in sub-Saharan Africa unsuitable for agriculture, and would extend the ranges of certain diseases" (Koebler, 11/18/12)

No longer is climate change just an issue of environmental protection, it is now a danger to our economic and financial security. If this report becomes a reality, are we prepared to cope with the problems that will come with it? I don't think we are at this time, but luckily it is not too late. Discussions need to begin at the government level and eventually the global world on ways to combat the increasing temperature. Future generations will suffer if we continue to ignore the science before us.


Source:

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/11/18/world-bank-warns-climate-change-could-devastate-global-economy

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/science/topics/globalwarming/index.html


4 Comments

Wow I didn’t even think about global warming having economic effects but it makes sense that it could. Increased temperatures leading to more difficult food production, higher malnutrition, climate change, and natural disasters all seem like sensible results of global warming now that I think of it though.

I agree that we need to learn how we can slow down global warming. It’s imperative that we figure this out now because as you stated our economy has a long way to go before we fully recover. I believe that more science needs to be done in order to get the message out that global warming is a serious threat to our economy. Even though the idea is out there that global warming is a threat, for whatever reason people don’t take it serious enough. I believe that if the message got out there that global warming could “hurt people’s pocket” people would take global warming seriously. If more science was done to correlate products of global warming (like increased temperature) to a weaker economy that would be the best way to convince people to try and slow global warming down. Just like we discussed in class how when a lack of science is done, people get hurt, well in this case people wouldn’t physically get hurt from a lack of science but they would be negatively affected. If not enough science is done so that people can continue to brush the problem of global warming under the rug, people will be negatively affected because of the economic effects that global warming might have.

Sam, this is quite interesting. It's crazy how global climate change has such a broad impact. I had not thought of how it might affect our economy. I don't agree with you that it is unimportant if it is humans that are causing it or if it is the earth's natural cycle because in order to slow it down or stop it from happening we need to know what is causing it.
It think a big problem with global warming is that a lot of people (like myself) do not know much about it or it's implications as demonstrated by this video which also explains a bit about global warming and supports the hypothesis that it is mainly a result of humans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InUJR40Ggtw

Here is a short article from the NY Times that points out some economic impacts that global warming has: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/the-economic-impact-of-climate-change/
It's interesting to think that it's a two way street. For instance, transportation is one of the factors that is causing global warming but the effects of global warming such as major hurricanes can also have a large impact on the transportation.
While I do agree that the government should be proactive about this issue I think the people are the ones that need to start discussing it more. Once that happens the issue will become a larger concern in the government and in the world because the people will start pushing it.

I think that this is an interesting take on the crisis of global warming. Many often look at the effects it will have on nature and generations to come, however usually the economic effects are not looked at. The blog post above is correct. No matter what your stance is on global warming, this issue needs to take more of a precedent in the scientific community. I think that we have the power in our hands to either increase this problem of temperatures rising, or to do something nd see them either stay constant or fall. It would be interesting to see a follow up blog that shows strategies as a society and individually that we can use to combat this issue.

On top of the financial issue there still is the humanitarian issue, and then the environmental issue. People are running around worrying that polar bears won't have a home anymore. People need to realize that if we don't act soon, there will be plenty of human beings without places to live. Many parts of Southeast Asia, India, and Sub-Saharan Africa will be hit hard. Both India and S.E. Asia have many sea level areas that will soon be flooded. Africa could face a completely different problem... Drought. "But recent studies, including this one, argue for a strengthening of the Walker circulation. This study uses observational data to show that the Walker circulation has extended westward, which makes precipitation more likely over the Indian Ocean and droughts the norm in eastern Africa." We really need to get on the ball sooner rather than later, otherwise we will have a massive humanitarian crisis on our hands. The world is already overpopulated. Imagine what it will be like when there is even less land.

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