According to Shah, the industrialized countries of the world (US and China) are the greatest contributors of global warming in terms of emission of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases. They contribute around 80% of total emissions while less industrialized countries (developing countries) contribute the remaining 20%. However, the effects of global warming are felt in all countries of the world regardless of the country’s percentage of emissions. One of these effects is temperature changes. Accumulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere interferes with the warming pattern of the earth surface. Due to global warming, the earth surface has started to heat progressively (Shah). As a result, the atmospheric air is becoming warmer causing more water to evaporate from the earth surface. High rate of evaporation reduces the ability of the earth surface to retain water, hence less water available to support plant live. This result into famine and drought since the human population largely depend on plants for food. A good example of this effect is the current famine being experienced in the Horn of Africa, which has been because of lack of rainfall. This shows how global warming affects other parts of the world given that countries in this part of the world are not great contributors of global warming in terms of emission, yet they are experiencing one of the worst effects of global warming.
On the other hand, as the rate of evaporation increases due to increased heating of the earth surface, the atmosphere is able to hold more water vapor. This water vapor falls back when it rains or snows. As a result, extreme precipitation that is causing bad floods is being experienced in various parts of the world. Good examples of this include the 2000 Mozambique and European floods, the 1996-1997 Rhine floods and the 1998 Chinese floods. All these floods were linked to the effects of global warming (Shah).
Global warming affects population of the world in various ways. For instance, changes in world’s atmospheric temperature which results into changes in precipitation patterns causes misery to the population. Calamities such as famine, drought, and floods results into death of human beings (as well as animals), therefore reducing the world’s population. According to UNEP, environmental changes due to global warming have adverse effects on human health. The environmental changes include heat waves, cold snaps, local pollution, among others.
Direct negative effects of these environmental changes on human health are said to overweight the positive effects. According to UNEP, “health impacts associated with climate change (particularly those related to El Nino events) have provided new evidence of the sensitivity of human welfare and health to climate, particularly regarding vector- and water-borne diseases such as cholera.” In the end, the population starts to reduce as more deaths are recorded because of increased vulnerability to negative health impacts of climate change.
Consequently, as the occurrence and intensity of heat waves increases, more serious illnesses and deaths continue to occur, especially amongst the elderly and urban poor (UNEP). Intense floods, storms, droughts and cyclones, resulting from global warming, also causes harm to human health in terms of direct death, injury and mental trauma. Indirect results of these natural calamities include reduced food supply, loss of shelter, contamination of water supplies, damage to health infrastructures, displacement of people and heightened risk of infectious diseases. A good example of global warming-climate change-related disaster, which had serious effects on human health, is the Central America Hurricane Mitch of 1998.
In efforts to save the world from the effects of global warming, there is increased pressure to increase production and use of alternative energy sources (McLamb). Alternative energy is energy sourced from other sources other than the primary energy source, fossils fuel. This includes wind power, solar energy, biogas, and moving water. Use of wind power and other alternative energy sources would results into reduction of the effects of global warming, specifically, emissions of carbon dioxide from burning of fossils (McLamb). If carbon dioxide emission is reduced, the earth surface will stop heating-up, hence stabilization of the world’s temperature. As a result, occurrence of extreme climatic conditions such as drought, heat waves, intense storms and floods, which causes great health and social impacts on the world’s population, will stop. This will reduce the rate at which the human population is being reduced by occurrence of extreme natural hazards.
The survival of human race population greatly depends on availability of energy (Chefurka). This implies that if energy supplies are increased, the survival rate of human population on earth is likely to increase. The quality of life for those on the bottom end of the consumption scale is likely to improve as the per capita energy increases. Currently, production of food commodities largely depends on energy. Availability of alternative energy sources such as wind power will definitely increase the supply of energy; hence increase production level of food commodities. Increased food production will result into increased food supply, which in turn will result into abundance (Chefurka). Consequently, food prices will go down making it affordable to the entire population. It is therefore clear that use of wind power and other alternative energy will increase survival of human population in the world.
Chefurka, P. “Trends to 2100.” World Energy and Population (WEAP). 2007: 1-23.
Mclamb, E. “Fossils Fuels vs. Renewable Energy Resources: Energy’s Future Today.” 2008. Ecology. 2011 <http://ecology.com/features/fossilvsrenewable/fossilvsrenewable.html>.
Shah, A. “Global warming and Population.” 5 December 2010. Global Issues. 2011 <http://www.globalissues.org/article/708/global-warming-and-population>.
UNEP. “How will Global warming affect my World? A simplified guide to the IPCC’s “Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”.” 2003: 1-24.