Rising Temperatures and Climate Change
Earth’s temperature has been steadily rising since 1880, with the rate of warming accelerating since 1981. The 10 warmest years have occurred since 2010, and 2022 was the sixth-warmest year, with temperatures significantly above the 20th-century average. Hot days are increasing while cold days are decreasing, and heat waves are becoming more common.
Without significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures may rise by five to ten degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. Rising temperatures, declining air quality, extreme weather, and vector-borne illnesses all contribute to the adverse health impacts of climate change. This article is about global warming‘s Impacts, Challenges and Resilience and Prevention
Impacts on Human Health
U.S. weather-related deaths are mainly caused by extreme heat. Vulnerable populations, such as older adults, infants, people with chronic health conditions, and outdoor workers, are particularly at risk. When the body cannot effectively cool itself, heat stress can lead to heat-related illnesses and fatalities.
Heat also affects air quality, with increased production of ground-level ozone and pollutants that can harm the respiratory system. Heat waves, exacerbated by high humidity, pose significant health risks, especially for vulnerable groups. Rising temperatures also contribute to the aggravation of allergies and the earlier onset of allergy seasons.
Consequences for Agriculture
High temperatures negatively impact agriculture, including plant growth and livestock health. Heat waves worsen droughts and wildfires, resulting in significant losses in the agriculture sector. These extreme weather conditions can disrupt food production and decrease crop yields. The agricultural industry faces challenges adapting to rising temperatures and increasing water scarcity, which can further impact food security and economic stability.
Challenges in the Energy System
Rising temperatures affect the energy system in various ways. Higher temperatures can impact energy production, transmission, and demand. Heat can strain electricity grids, reduce power transmission efficiency, and increase energy use for cooling. The energy sector needs to address the challenges posed by rising temperatures to ensure the reliability and sustainability of energy supply.
Financial Impact of Extreme Heat
Extreme heat takes a toll on human lives and has a significant financial impact. A case study from the summer of 2006 in California demonstrated the devastating consequences of a heatwave, with 655 fatalities and over 16,000 emergency room admissions. The associated costs amounted to nearly $5.3 billion. The projected increase in heat-related causes by 2100 further highlights the financial burden and underscores the urgency of addressing extreme heat as a critical issue.
Resilience and Prevention: Combating Global Warming and Heat
Dealing with extreme heat requires various measures to be put in place. Firstly, it is crucial to identify vulnerable populations and develop plans to prepare for heat waves. Secondly, cooling centers can be established to relieve people during these periods. Thirdly, workplace heat stress standards should be implemented to safeguard outdoor workers.
Moreover, encouraging energy efficiency can aid in reducing energy demand and mitigating the heat island effect. Lastly, implementing cool and green roofs, cool pavements, and planting trees can assist in lowering urban temperatures and offering more shade.
Steps for Prevention Global Warming and Heat
Change a light
Replace regular bulbs with compact fluorescent ones to save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.
Opt for walking, biking, carpooling, or using mass transit, saving one pound of carbon dioxide per mile not driven.
Recycling half of your household waste can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.
Plant a tree
A single tree absorbs one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime.
Turn off electronic devices
Simply switching off unused electronics like TVs, computers, and stereos can save thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide annually.
Voice your concerns about climate change to friends, family, and representatives. Encourage legislation that limits carbon emissions and holds polluters accountable.
Invest in renewable energy
Choose a utility that generates at least half its power from renewable sources or supports them.
Weatherize your home
Seal drafts, insulate properly and claim tax credits for energy-efficient improvements to reduce heating and cooling energy consumption.
Invest in energy-efficient appliances
Look for Energy Star-certified products, which have saved billions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Reduce water waste
Conserve water at home to minimize the energy required for heating and distribution.
Combining individual actions and broader strategies is crucial in slowing global warming.