Climate change is a pressing concern for governments around the world. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, greenhouse gas emissions need to peak by 2025 if the total rise in heating is to be kept below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
When you think of the negative effects of climate change, a number of images might spring to mind. You might think of icebergs melting, sea levels rising, and ecosystems collapsing.
What’s rarely dwelt upon is the effect that climate change can have on the health of the world’s citizens. And some of these are already being felt by people at the sharp end of this trend.
Who is Responsible?
One of the problems with climate change is that its causes and effects are so difficult to untangle. It’s very difficult to prove with certainty that this or that emission lead to this or that change in temperature.
There’s a growing body of law developing in countries around the world, which seeks to assign responsibility for environmental harms to the organisations and people that perpetrate them. But in order to navigate this new and often complicated legal world, it’s vital that we recruit the right climate-change-centred law firms.
Food and Water
The state of the climate naturally has an impact on the availability of, and demand for, food and water. Unpredictable weather, and changes in patterns of rainfall, can lead to floods and droughts. We should also note that, during extreme heat waves like the one endured by the UK in summer 2022, demand for water shoots up – to a degree that the system can’t always cope with.
In most cases, the effects of these draughts are spread across entire supply chains, and so it becomes difficult for the end consumer to determine that any given weather event is responsible for an increase in prices, or for a shortage.
Climate change might also accelerate the spread of disease from animals to human beings. We might also see diseases which have historically been confined to warmer climates make their way into more temperate ones. You might think of mosquitos surviving for longer, and transmitting more diseases.
Climate change is heavily associated with airborne allergens. Longer summers mean more pollen, and many of the things that contribute to climate change (like car exhausts) can also contribute to localised air pollution. So, climate change would have a negative effect on our lungs.
All of the consequences of climate change will be felt in society at large. Millions of people become refugees each year as a result of environmental disaster, and this has ripple effects that are felt in the places that they’re displaced towards.
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