Climate Change and Society
Climate change does not only have an impact on the natural world, but on society and the economy as well. Both developing and developed countries will be impacted and will undergo significant changes in a variety of ways.
As global warming continues, many previously uninhabitable areas become desirable as a more comfortable living climate ensues. This is the basis for why developing nations are vulnerable to climate change. The slightest global temperature increase can cause drastic changes. This increase may be beneficial for colder mountain regions such as Northern Russia which will experience extensive snowmelt, opening up new areas for development. However, for countries like Nigeria, this could mean unbearable heat waves. Equatorial and low-latitude regions will become too hot, causing a decrease in crop yield and economic return, increasing civil unrest. For simple reasons like geography, the Northern Hemisphere, which houses more developed nations like the United States and Canada, are more likely to draw inhabitants that seek refuge from the blazing heat of the lower latitudes, triggering an economic boom to already affluent nations.
Global warming not only affects migration, it has a direct effect on many economic sectors. If strict carbon dioxide regulations are enacted as a response to global warming, purchasing carbon offsets may become increasingly desirable to high-emission industries. Planting Leucaena trees (an unusually fast carbon dioxide metabolizer), is an option for greenhouse-offset businesses. An increase in precipitation, should it arise (especially in the form of downpours that would normally cause flooding), would create a high interest in water-related investments such as hydropower. The melting of Arctic sea ice could trigger a boom in the commercial shipping industry as previously icebound seas become available for transit routes. While routes across the North Pole region will become more viable (resulting in decreased shipping costs from East Asia to the United States), traffic in port cities such as Singapore may decline.
In order to keep up with an ever-developing world, developing countries need a plan of action that will allow them to adapt to climate change while still pursuing development goals. Governments would benefit more from enacting incentives for the private sector to develop innovative greenhouse gas reduction methods then from conducting this research themselves – progress would be both faster and more cost-effective. Investments in bioengineered crops designed to sustain higher temperatures would also prove beneficial, as well as those in energy-efficient buildings and cars. Although the list of potential adaptations is long, the most important step is for these countries to accept global warming and its effects on the local economy in order to take the necessary steps towards a sustainable future for their people.
As countries brainstorm the best climate change plan of action, they often ask, “What’s in it for us?” Whatever the reason, it is increasingly clear that nations worldwide would benefit from accepting the implications of global warming and acting accordingly. In fact, the sooner the better