When we consider the term ‘climate change’ we typically think of a global phenomenon. We think of the temperatures rising everywhere, the winter and summer becoming longer and harsher weather in every region of the world. All of these things are happening. However, it’s important to look at how certain regions are being affected by climate change.
Approximately 40% of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of a coastline. Most of the major global infrastructure is near a coastline. This is because of trade routes. Most of our imports arrive by boat, so major cities were built near the coastline to make this process easier. The ocean levels are rising, which is expected to displace nearly 100 million people. The displaced peoples (or climate refugees) and the possible ruin of major infrastructure will lead to political and economic issues. Governments will not be able to provide these people with the resources they need. They also will not be able to rebuild all of the ruined infrastructures.
Climate change causes more extreme weather. In areas near the coast, we often see tropical storms and hurricanes. The increase in air and ocean temperature will make these extreme weather patterns more frequent and more intense. Mega-storms have gone from occurring once every 100 years to once every 16 years.
In dry areas like the Southern Great Plains and the Northwest fire seasons are going to become more intense. Forest fire seasons will not only last for a longer period but could become an issue year-round. Fires that occur will be hotter because of the hotter temperatures. Hot temperatures will also make areas drier, which will allow fires to catch easier. This could have political effects also. Governments may not have the ability to stop and/or prevent these fires. Climate refugees will also become an issue here; the government won’t have the resources to help rebuild homes and provide medical aid to everyone harmed in the fires.
In the Midwest and Northern Great Plains, where we have a lot of acreage devoted to agriculture and ranching, we are going to see an increase in rainfall and flooding. This could ruin crops and hurt our food supply. The effects of that would be devastating. Flooding could also destroy homes and leave many people without shelter.
Denchak, Melissa. “Global Climate Change: What You Need to Know.” NRDC, 23 February 2017, https://www.nrdc.org/stories/global-climate-change-what-you-need-know. Accessed 9 June 2021.
NASA. “Effects: Facts – Climate Change.” NASA, 9 June 2021, https://climate.nasa.gov/effects/. Accessed 10 June 2021.
Second Nature. “Regional Climate Impacts.” Second Nature, 2017, https://secondnature.org/regional-climate-impacts/. Accessed 10 June 2021.UCSUSA. “Climate Impacts.” Union of Concerned Scientists, 2020, https://www.ucsusa.org/climate/impacts. Accessed 9 June 2021.