DANGER: Effects of Global Warming Include Death
Photo credit: NOAA
TreeHugger has noted, somewhat light-heartedly, that among the myriad effects of global warming are likely reductions in wine and beer production; as global warming alters the planet's regional climates, it affects the crop yields used for brewing up our favorite libations. Though they might leave us a little thirstier and annoyed, these two small, specific examples aren't likely to drastically alter the way the world works, at least as much as the effects of global warming noted in a new report by the Center for American Progress. The report, released yesterday, states in pretty certain terms, that we'd all better watch out: global warming will kill you.
According to data from the World Health Organization, rising temperatures on the planet are killing off the equivalent of a mid-sized city every year; about 150,000 annual deaths can be attributed to global warming, from causes including heat waves, air pollution, infectious disease, food safety and production, flooding and more. You might expect to see heat waves on the list -- even though climate and weather are two different (but related) phenomena -- but the report is a good reminder of the tremendous scope of problems a warming globe can cause; it's not just about an extra couple degrees and wearing fewer sweaters: "With warming temperatures, the breeding cycle of malaria-carrying mosquitoes is shortening, which means more mosquitoes—and malaria—each year." The report notes that malaria is popping up in South Korea and the highlands of Papua New Guinea, where the mosquito-borne disease hasn't been spotted in the past.
Similar negative effects occur with worsening air pollution -- higher levels of ground-level ozone smog and other pollutants that increase with warmer temperatures have been directly linked with increased rates of respiratory and cardiovascular disease -- food production and safety -- warmer temperatures and varying rainfall patterns mess up staple crop yields and aid the migration and breeding of pests that can devastate crops -- flooding -- as rising sea levels make coastal areas and densely-populated river deltas more susceptible to storm surges and flooding that result from severe weather -- and wildfires, which can be ancillary to increased heat waves and are also responsible for poor air quality (not to mention burning people's homes and crops). It's all interconnected, and it's not a very pretty picture.
So, we've been warned; the next question is: What are we going to do about it? ::Center for American Progress via ::CNetMore on global warming effectsDangerous effects of global warming on EarthThe Worst Effect of Global Warming So Far...::The Center for American Progress' Top 100 Effects of Global WarmingTwo Views on the Effects of Global WarmingGlobal Warming Wants to Eat Your Flesh