Climatic changes arising from human activities will have profound impacts on the worlds economy in the future. Recent advances in the area of climate science have increased our understanding on how human activities like industrial use of fossil fuels affect the climate.
The effects of climatic change including rise in sea levels, frequent cyclones, frequent droughts, and flooding in will affect the economies of most countries. The destruction of forests coupled with gas emissions from industries adversely affects the climate and this will have .
Effects in Coastal lands
Areas more prone to climatic changes include low-lying coastal settlements that are more prone to rise in sea level. Use of fossil fuels by industries and automobiles increases the percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a green house gas that causes a rise in the global temperature (Stern45).
There are other greenhouse gases but carbon dioxide accounts for the largest percent of the same. Melting mountain glaciers because of the rise in temperature will lead to a significant rise in sea level. The rise in sea level, even in a fraction of a meter, will wreak havoc to many coastal inhabitants. Much of the coastal land has high-density urban centers located along the coastlines.
Effects on International trade
Harbor cities like Rotterdam are located near the sea for easy access to international trade. A rise in sea level will significantly affect these harbors and consequently affect the international trade. Countries rely heavily on export by sea to generate foreign income; in addition, seas serve as routes through which countries get imports from other countries. Therefore, destruction of harbors as a result of rise in sea level will have long term impacts at national scale and consequently at international scale.
Effects on Arid and Semi-arid areas
Semi arid and arid areas that experience less than average rains are other locations affected by the climatic changes. Climatic changes have increased the frequency of droughts thus affecting food production in these areas. Millions of the worlds populations depend on agriculture as the major economic mainstay. Settlements occur mostly near the rivers or melting glaciers where they rely on irrigation to carry out their agricultural activities.
Unfortunately, the rivers and glaciers are fast disappearing due to climate change. This means that the agricultural produce is likely to go down and lead to food crises in many countries. Climatic changes will also affect humid areas like the South East Asia and influence patterns of monsoon rains.
In the recent past, there have been reports of frequent flooding caused by erratic monsoon rains in Asia. Climate change has also caused destructive cyclones that destroy property worth millions of dollars and numerous loss of human and animal life. These adverse effects of climate change will lead to mass migration from the affected areas.
There have been efforts to reduce the green house emissions by cutting down the use of fossil fuels. However, these efforts have not received much support from industrialized countries because these countries rely heavily on fossil fuels (Flannery 221). The Kyoto protocol is an example of efforts made to contain drastic climate change; unfortunately, the protocol did not get much support from industrialized nations.
Most governments in developing nations have come up with tree planting initiatives to increase forest cover as part of the carbon credit program. Forests act as carbon sinks and therefore reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Regrettably, the carbon credit initiative has not any significant received support either.
Measures to mitigate the effects of climate change involve proper forest management and improvement on agricultural practices to reduce the threat of global warming. Growing biofuel crops is another potential way of cutting down carbon emission by replacing fossil fuels. However, growing of biofuels will increase food prices, as most biofuel crops are also food crops.
To reduce the amount of carbon emitted, the implementation of new technologies is necessary. In the mean time, governments should adopt renewable energies like wind power and solar energy to minimize the current heavy reliance on fossil fuels. Moreover, energy efficiency standards to reduce the dependence on oil products are a good proposition.
Recent research shows that reduction in deforestation will contribute greatly to reduction in carbon emissions. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, tropical deforestation contributes about 20% of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Reduction of deforestation in tropical countries will significantly reduce the carbon emissions and avoid global warming and its effects.
Mitigation Measures against Climate Change
It is apparent that the impact of global warming on the economies of countries will be profound. Food crisis arising due to productive land becoming dry will be a common phenomenon especially in developing countries. In addition, effects of global warming on coastal settlements will lead to mass migration to inland areas.
Environmental catastrophes such cyclones and hurricanes will be more frequent causing damage to property. These environmental effects will have on the economic development of countries. Mitigation measures to cut down carbon emissions and increase the level of forest cover will reduce the adverse effects of climate change and consequently cushion world economies from the seemingly eminent decline.
Flannery, Tim. The Weather Makers: Our Changing Climate and what it means for Life On Earth. New York: Penguin Books, 2005.