Global Warming, Climate Change, and Society’s Impact on the Environment

Introduction

Global warming and climate change are formidable challenges to mankind as they threaten the world’s social and economic structure. Human activities induce a rise in global temperatures and a change in rainfall patterns. A catastrophe might be unavoidable unless mankind realizes the potential menace presented by climate change on future generations. (Ginley & Cahen, 2011, p. 36). Businesses and governments can play a significant role in preventing it by implementing various programs that maintain economic development to ensure environmental sustainability.

Global warming

Global warming refers to a phenomenon whereby the temperatures on the planet rise due to an increase in the emission of greenhouse gases. Some of the greenhouse gases include methane and carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gases are essential in maintaining temperature balance on earth. However, human activities cause a rise in the level of atmospheric greenhouse gases. Scientists are really worries by this trend as it leads to the greenhouse effect, which will affect living systems on planet earth (Maslin, 2007, p. 9).

Global warming is a serious threat to the world economy, since it may result in the immense economic damage. For example, disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes, induced by global warming, cause serious life losses as well as vast property destruction. Insurance companies should be armed to face the rising effects of global warming. The insurance companies are likely to feel the pinch when compensating damages arising from the effects of global warming.

The effects of global warming on the future generations can be extensive. Reports provided by the weather experts indicate that a series of floods and monsoons may be witnessed in future (Webber, 2002, p. 2). This requires a serious change in approach to the problem of global warming. It is essential for governments and businesses to focus on the use of technologies that minimize the discharge of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Unless such measures are taken, global warming will keep posing a challenge and leading to a catastrophe.

Climate change

Apart from global warming, another aspect that threatens the world economy is climate change. Climate change is caused by the seasonal changes that are taking place for a long period of time. The climate influences a lot of natural ecosystems. Many living systems rely on the climate. The climate determines where individuals, animals and plants dwell. The climate also controls food production and availability of water (Root et al, 2003, p. 58).

Global warming, as well as other human related activities, prompts climate change. This affects the rainfall patterns, humidity, farming seasons, and ocean levels. Climate changes cause many weather related catastrophes in the world. This can be depicted by the declining crop yields induced by climate change. As a result, crop production is likely to reduce in the future (Kaya & Yokobori, 1997, p. 17). Developing countries face an enormous burden due to the climate change. Developed nations have the capacity to counter the consequences of this phenomenon. However, developing countries do not have enough capability to take efficient measures that counteract the effects of climate change.

The greater part of the developing countries rely on natural resources as their national income. Apart from the decline in the production of agricultural products, another issue that these countries are facing is the heat related diseases emerging due to the effects of climate change. This is likely to affect the medical systems. The negative impacts of climate change will also affect the infrastructure. Heavy rains, wild storms, and a rise in ocean level disrupt the transport system. Roads, railway lines, and the airports will suffer immensely as a result of this phenomenon (Rosenzweig & Parry, 1994, p. 133).

Environmental sustainability

The effects of global warming and climate change can be effectively controlled by ensuring environmental sustainability. Environmental sustainability refers to interactive processes that keep the environment clean (Dincer & Rosen, 1999, p. 427). Environmental sustainability will ensure that natural resources do not get exhausted at a faster rate than they can be replaced. If the environment gets degraded, then human life will not be sustainable. Therefore, it is essential to preserve the environment. Before accomplishing this, the capacity of the environment to support human life should be taken into consideration.

Individuals, businesses and governments should take actions that minimize the negative impact on the environment. The focus should be made not only on diminishing the use of energy but also on developing alternative sources that are sustainable in the future. Current issues, which make the environment unsustainable, include overfishing, deforestation, pollution of the environment, and unsustainable farming practices (Dincer & Rosen, 1999, p. 433). Although regulatory frameworks exist to ensure environmental sustainability, the transition to sustainable models appears to be poor. A change can be brought about by presenting incentives that encourage environmental sustainability.

Sustainable development ensures that the resources used meet the present and future needs. Currently, majority of the countries rely on high-carbon economic models which place the planet in danger. Future economic programs should focus on low-carbon models that create a tidy environment and new markets.

Society’s Impact on the Environment

Historically, humans and the environment are dependent on one another. Human activities can preserve or destroy the environment but we should not forget that they have already led to many intricacies and environmental degradation. In its turn, this has resulted in the need to manage the environment to provide goods and services which meet human needs and can foster economic success. Human activities lead to a rise in the greenhouse levels, particularly the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Greenhouse gases act as a blanket since they retain the earth’s heat, causing a rise in the earth’s temperatures. Human related activities such as deforestation and burning of fossils are the main reason of increasing levels of the greenhouse gases. This has led to loss of moisture, lowering of water tables and drought. This has devastating effects on agriculture. Another effect is the spring up of wildfires which affects the timber industry. The net effect would be a decrease in revenues accrued per year.

Firms and governments can militate against the effects of global warming and climate change (Giddens, 2009, p. 5). For example, they can shift to use renewable energy sources. This would create new markets for this technology. Governments should invest in clean technology to curb the overreliance on fossil fuels (Giddens, 2009, p. 5). By doing so, they will capture the economic possibilities that lie in wait as the world transits to the use of clean energy. This will not only make them competitive, but also create jobs and provide possibility to make money from the emerging markets.

Conclusion

Future economic and energy policies should have climate as the centerpiece. Economic programs should focus on sustainable approach to development. The environmental and social consequences associated with global warming and climate change will have a massive economic impact on the future generations. It is the reason why the millennium development goals recognize the importance of environmental sustainability on the economic and social wellbeing. Overexploitation of natural resources harms vulnerable societies that rely on natural resources for their livelihoods (Ginley & Cahen, 2011, p. 106). Mankind needs to ensure that the use of materials and resources does not harm the environment and human health.

References

Dincer, I., & Rosen, M. A. (1999). Energy, environment and sustainable development. Applied energy, 64 (4), 427-440.

Giddens, A. (2009). Politics of Climate Change. Cambridge: Poility.

Ginley, D. S., & Cahen, D. (2011). Fundamentals of Materials for Energy and Environmental Sustainability. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kaya, Y., & Yokobori, K. (1997). Environment, Energy, and Economy: Strategies for Sustainability. Shibuya-ku, Tokyo: United Nations University Press.

Maslin, M. (2007). Global Warming: Causes, effects and the future. MBI publishing company.

Root, T. L., Price, J. T., Hall, K. R., Schneider, S. H., Rosenzweig, C., & Pounds, A. (2003). Fingerprints of global warming on wild animals and plants. Nature, 421 (1), 57-60.

Rosenzweig, C., & Parry, M. (1994). Potential impact of climate change on world food supply. Nature publishing group, pp. 367, 133-138.

Webber, M. (2002). The economic impact of global warming. Web.