Do you know that between the year 2000 and 2100, scientists project that the number of deaths caused by heat waves will increase to 150,000 annually? Are you aware that more than 15,000 temperature records for the month of March alone got broken in 2012 in the U.S.? Do you also know that a million species of plants and animals are expected to go extinct in a few years? Climate change costs the U.S. over $100 billion every year. Despite this enormous cost, 37 percent of Americans still believe that climate change is a hoax while 64 percent think it won’t affect their lives.
Climate change refers to an increase in the earth’s surface temperature caused by a rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It is also called global warming. Contrary to what some people might want to believe, climate change is real, and its effects are all around us. Outlined in this article are some of those effects on our earth:
- Rising sea levels: A devastating effect of climate change is the increase in sea levels across the globe. The reason for this is that the earth’s high-temperature level is rapidly melting the ice caps, polar ice sheets, glaciers and sea ice. Thus, the after-effect of this melting leads to an increase of water present in the oceans. And with this rise in sea level, it is projected that over 100 million people living in the coastline regions of the world will lose their homes either to flooding or submersion.
- Increase in diseases: Climate change increases the prevalence of diseases on earth. The warm temperatures caused by the change in climate provide a conducive environment for the growth of various disease-causing organisms like mosquitoes, mice, bedbugs and fleas. With these pests increasing in population, it is expected that there will be a massive outbreak of diseases around the globe. Malaria cases, for instance, are projected to rise to about 80 million by the year 2100.
- Extinction of biodiversity: Another effect of climate change is the substantial loss of biodiversity across the globe. The golden toad was the first species to get extinct because of climate change and unfortunately, it won’t be the last. The effect of the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere dissolving into the ocean means that the ocean is getting acidic which could severely impact on the marine life. Also, as temperature increases, most species would either move to a cooler environment or die e.g. polar bears. Climate change kills off habitats making it almost impossible for plants and animals to thrive.
- Drought: A consequence of climate change is the severe drought conditions that are expected to increase in the coming years. Presently, America is in the middle of a drought so severe that scientists have called it the driest in 800years. Due to the high temperatures, there is an increase in evaporation of water from the surface of the earth. And if this condition is allowed to persist, we would be facing the worst drought situation in the future.
Humans are primarily responsible for the effects of climate change on the earth. If things are left to continue like this, the consequences will be disastrous and life-threatening to every living thing inhabiting the earth. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to ensure that climate change is reduced and reversed.
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