Climate change is a heated topic, but the environmental impact that most scientists anticipate from global warming could have a profound effect on the American people in the not-too-distant future. While the previous Obama administration was strongly supportive of regulations to limit the damage from global warming and climate change effects, the incoming Trump administration seems likely to reverse these policies.
Global Warming and Flooding
As noted by a U.S. government study of climate change, by the end of this century it’s likely that ocean levels will have risen approximately three feet along the American coastlines. People from Boston to Texas could face hundreds of billions of dollars in damage, not to mention countless billions of dollars in expenditures for new public works to hold back the rising waters caused by global warming.
As reported by Scientific American, climate change caused increased rainfall in many areas that will overwhelm local flood control and sewer systems, increasing the impact of waterborne diseases carried by mosquitoes and microorganisms. Diseases that are currently not known in the northern United States – such as the Zika virus – will start appearing further northward.
Human High Temperature Impact
The high temperatures brought about by climate change will have their most significant impacts on places where temperatures are already quite high, such as New Mexico, Arizona, and the Southwest in general. This impact will be particularly severe for the young, the elderly, and the infirm.
These temperatures could easily be a threat to life and limb in these areas. While research suggests that by the end of the century the Southwest will still be inhabitable, many people living there will find their lives much more difficult – not to mention expensive. The global warming resulting from climate change will probably mean that air-conditioning costs across the United States – and particularly in the Southwest – are going to skyrocket.
As noted by the NIH, heat-related deaths are likely to rise across the country, and this will be particularly common in southwestern desert regions. Along with this likely increase in heat-related deaths resulting from climate change, rising temperatures will also probably lead to increasing medical costs for the American people.
— NOT ALT WORLD (@NotAltWorld) February 3, 2017
Agricultural Impact of Climate Change
With the increasing temperatures and higher rainfalls in certain areas, the American people can also anticipate other environmental effects, such as much more aggressive weed growth and the appearance of plant diseases and parasites never seen before in the majority of American states.
It’s likely that agricultural production throughout the United States will be significantly reduced by climate change brought about by global warming. Changing growing seasons and heat waves could result in failed crop harvests throughout the Midwest and the Southeast, with wheat and corn crop yields in particular dropping precipitously.
Other Climate Change Effects
Dairy farmers in the Southeast might go out of business entirely, or they might find it necessary to relocate northward. The American people may also notice seafood becoming much more expensive and hard to get, as climate change will likely devastate the oceans as well.
— Wilderness Society (@Wilderness) January 24, 2017
Natural flora and fauna will also be decimated by the speed of climate change. Many animals and plants that are evolutionarily adapted to living in a particular environment with certain temperatures and rainfall amounts will find it impossible to survive the rapid changes taking place around them.
While evolution normally allows animals to adapt to climate change taking place over a long period of time, the rapid climate changes associated with global warming are happening too quickly for the snail’s pace at which evolution normally works. Mass extinctions of plants and animals in these circumstances is much more likely than adaption.
Even with the regulatory changes that many nations – including the United States – have introduced to limit the damage caused by climate change and global warming, the future impact was already going to be extensive. But with the evident intention of the Donald Trump administration to roll back such regulations, the American people should probably brace themselves for the worse climate change problems.
[Featured Image by Lukas Schulze/Getty Images]