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Climate change: a global issue

There is unequivocal evidence that Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate. Human activity is the principal cause.

There is unequivocal evidence that Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate; and human activity is the principal cause.

  • The last four years were the hottest on record.
  • Polar ice caps are melting, forests are burning, coral reefs are dying, and extreme weather events are increasing in frequency.
  • The top 100 meters of ocean have heated up by 0.67 degrees Fahrenheit (0.33 degrees Celsius) since 1969.
  • Glaciers and ice sheets are retreating almost everywhere around the world.
  • Almost 40% of the world’s population live within 100 km of a coast. Two-thirds of the world’s cities are located in areas at risk of flood because of sea level rise. If no action is taken, entire districts of New York, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, Osaka and Rio de Janeiro, to name but a few, could find themselves underwater within our lifetimes, forcing the displacement of millions of people.

An infographic outlining the effects of climate change. Causes and effects of Climate Change. Causes: rapid industrialisation, energy use, agricultural practices, deforestation, consumer practices, livestock, Transport, resource extraction and pollution. Effects: rising temperatures, rising sea levels, unpredictable weather patterns, increase in extreme weather events, land degradation, loss of wildlife and biodiversity. What are the social impacts of climate change? Displaces people, poverty, loss of livelihoods, hunger, malnutrition, increased risk of diseases and global food and water shortages.

Credit: Global Giving – The cause and effects of climate change

What does this mean?

  • No corner of the globe is immune from the devastating consequences of climate change.
  • Rising temperatures are fuelling environmental degradation, natural disasters, weather extremes, food and water insecurity, economic disruption, conflict, and terrorism.
  • Global warming is impacting everyone’s food and water security.
  • Global warming is a risk multiplier. It is making existing challenges, such as the droughts in Africa and Latin America even worse, and are feeding directly into political unrest and violence.
  • Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause up to 250 000 additional deaths per year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress alone.

“We are seeing climate impacts across many of the pillars that determine our health, increasing the incidence of communicable and non-communicable diseases and undermining sanitation, food security and water security.”

——– Dr Marina Romanello, Executive Director, Lancet Countdown Committee

“It is clear that business as usual is not good enough. As the infinite cost of climate change reaches irreversible highs, now is the time for bold collective action!”

——- United Nations

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