Severe Health Consequences from Climate Change

by Caroline Chmiel

Haynes et al (2014) discuss the impending health risks to humanity if climate change persists at a rapid rate. They argue that if fossil fuel burning remains unconstrained, global average warming in the long term may be 12° C and by 2100 this heat could cause a 40% reduction in global labor capacity. During especially hot months, the temperatures would create hostile environments for laborers in many areas of the country. As population increases, this decrease in productivity would be especially detrimental to maintaining economic levels. Additionally, temperatures of extreme heat may cross the “afterlife” threshold. This occurs when the effect the temperature would have on humanity is so large that there is a “discontinuity in the long-term progression of humanity”. New and extreme health risks are crucial aspects of crossing the “afterlife” threshold. Continue reading

Could Climate Change Cause Famines?

by Caroline Chmiel

More than ever, the rapid growth of the world population is causing a heightened demand for food. Making this struggle infinitely worse is climate change. Per decade, food demand rises by 14%. Climate change reduces wheat yields by 2% compared to the amount without climate change, and corn yields by 1%. The demand for food causes worry and stress, so the idea that climate change worsens an already critical situation makes the fight to feed billions even harder. This is the bleak picture painted by Eduardo Porter writing in the New York Times. Food price spikes because of increased demand strongly correlate with urban unrest. From temperature changes due to global warming, production of crops can change. Less than expected production often causes producers to ban exports and importers to try to hoard the crop. Overall, commodity markets experience chaos and strain further than just feeding people. The culmination of climate change, increased population and demand for food leads to a serious question about the possibility of famine. More likely, though, is a volatile world full of wars over substances. The most highly affected population will be the poor, unable to afford increased food prices. Continue reading

Could Climate Change Cause Famines?

by Caroline Chmiel

More than ever, the rapid growth of the world population is causing a heightened demand for food. Making this struggle infinitely worse is climate change. Per decade, food demand rises by 14%. Climate change reduces wheat yields by 2% compared to the amount without climate change, and corn yields by 1%. The demand for food causes worry and stress, so the idea that climate change worsens an already critical situation makes the fight to feed billions even harder. This is the bleak picture painted by Eduardo Porter writing in the New York Times. Food price spikes because of increased demand strongly correlate with urban unrest. From temperature changes due to global warming, production of crops can change. Less than expected production often causes producers to ban exports and importers to try to hoard the crop. Overall, commodity markets experience chaos and strain further than just feeding people. The culmination of climate change, increased population and demand for food leads to a serious question about the possibility of famine. More likely, though, is a volatile world full of wars over substances. The most highly affected population will be the poor, unable to afford increased food prices. Continue reading

More Benefits of Reversing Deforestation than Meet the Eye

by Caroline Chmiel

A seemingly simplistic method to battling rising temperatures may be one of the most effective. Saving tropical forests, largely through natural growth, has proven an immensely important and promising strategy to limit climate change impacts. Saving the forests that are left and allowing new ones to grow, or regrow, will impact our planet in many positive ways. Forests play a huge role in the carbon cycle of Earth because trees pull main greenhouse gases, CO2, out of the air and lock carbon away in wood and in soil beneath them. When forests are destroyed, typically through burning, CO2 is pumped back into the air, substantially contributing to raising temperatures and climate change. Burning of coal, oil and natural gas moves carbon out of the ground and into the active carbon cycle causing the globe to warm more rapidly now than in any similar period. Research displays a hopeful method for the control of CO2 cycle: if forests around the globe are reclaimed and burning comes to a halt, forests will evermore naturally help pull dangerous emissions from the air, preventing quick, out of control, temperature growth. Continue reading