Looking ahead 20 to 50 years, which are the societies likely to be most hit by climate change, and which the least? What are the most important impacts likely to be?
The evolving global problem of climate change looms large with inevitable social, economic and ecological challenges for the world. The process of global warming and its consequences vary from region to region, but the nature of these variations is uncertain. The changes will not occur in a fast way, nor will they only exert a negative effect: for example, in some parts of the world it may see improvement in the economy, by the fact that a warmer climate can stimulate better agricultural outcomes in countries that nowadays are too cold to have a big economy in agriculture. A new climate will be beneficial to some societies and disadvantageous to others. However, the disadvantages, especially the increased incidence of disastrous natural phenomena, far outweigh the advantages. These disasters include the increasing sea level, changes in precipitation patterns resulting in floods and droughts, greater intensity of natural effects such as hurricanes, species extinctions and other factors to be discussed ahead. We can already see the patterns of destruction emerging, but we do not yet know the ultimate outcome. We do know that those most responsible for the global warming effect are the developed nations of North America, Western Europe and China. But the so-called developing countries will feel the most negative effects of global warming, because these nations have fewer resources to cope financially, scientifically and technologically to deal with the problems caused by global warming. Given the gradual nature of the changes, and using the knowledge we’ve already gained about the impacts of climate change thus far, this paper is an opportunity to pause and consider the societies most prone to suffer from this global problem in the future, and the greatest impacts they will bear.
The poorest societies will be the ones most affected in a disadvantageous way by climate change. Those societies are primarily located in Africa, Asia, Latin America and in small islands states. The reason why these societies are the ones that will be the most affected is that they are not ready to deal with global warming yet. They do not have the same wealth of developed countries to find solutions to the climate change: their prerogative up until now has been the development of systems and solutions for their nation’s most pressing problems. A simple example might be the poor farmers in India who depends on the vitality of their crops. Since they are poor, they may not have many opportunities to improve their farming skills and infrastructure in preparation for periods of intense drought. In contrast, floods in Central Europe hardly lead to people becoming homeless. That is partially involved due to the wealth of those countries, with support systems in place for emergency situations and money for the reconstruction and adaptation to climate change. Though these scenes are completely different, it is clear that those impacts will have stronger impacts on the society and human lives, in developing countries without the preventative and restorative resources at the ready. Another important fact is that most of the developing countries are situated in tropical and sub-tropical areas and endure extreme climates already; places where the climate is marked by high temperatures all year round and the amount of rainfall can be quite variable.1 Those societies are highly dependent on the agricultural life, and already facing problems with the poor quality of soils, the spread of pests and parasites, and particular difficulty with water availability because of the climate. Put simply, the changed climate is already an issue at those places, but with any rise of temperature in those areas, those societies will increasingly face disproportional damage in their economy and livelihoods...
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