Climate change has a positive and negative effect on various aspects of life on our planet, including ecological, economic, and humanitarian. A strong debate prevails on whether climate change is due to natural or anthropogenic causes. Nevertheless, many do not recognize the positive effects of climate change.
For instance, one of the main benefits of climate change and global warming is lower energy costs. In addition, climate change results in fewer winter deaths. In fact, winter deaths exceed summer deaths. Climate change also helps in producing better agricultural yields and fewer droughts.
Professor Richard Tol of Sussex University researched 14 different studies on the effects of future climate trends, concluding the overall effect is positive and is expected to continue this development until close to the year 2080.
Tol found climate change improved human welfare for the last century. In addition, his calculations are that economic output will increase 1.5 percent by 2025. This increase could mean survival or starvation to some people.
The greatest benefit of climate change is not changes in temperature, but from carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is commonly looked at as a form of pollution; however, carbon dioxide is a raw material plants use to make carbohydrates, and subsequently, fats and proteins.
As far as the survival of polar bears, the three years with the lowest polar bear cub survival in the western Hudson Bay were 1974, 1984, and 1992. Bears need broken ice, and during those years, sea ice was too thick for ringed seals to appear in good numbers in spring.
Policies, such as substituting wood for coal in power stations, growing biofuels, and building wind turbines are designed to fight climate change; however, they have little effect on carbon dioxide emissions. These policies have resulted in driving up food prices, caused deforestation, killed rare birds, divided communities, and resulted in many industries becoming uncompetitive.
Cold temperatures are the biggest killer when compared to heat. Greece and Britain see an increase in mortality rates by 18 percent each winter. In fact, especially cold winters cause higher heart failure rates, much greater than the rise in deaths during heat waves.
For the last 10 years, the average number of people in Britain dying from the cold is close to 29,000. On the other hand, during the heat wave that took place more than 10 years ago, only 2,000 people lost their lives in Britain.
People living in poverty suffer the worse during excess winters because they cannot afford heating. Most unfortunately, many poor and less fortunate lose their lives. Nonetheless, climate change and global warming has cut heating bills more than it has raised cooling bills.
Close to 200,000 people are dying every year, because 5 percent of the world’s grain crop is being turned into motor fuel instead of food, causing malnutrition and death for many people.
Though climate change may have positive effects on life, it also has negative outcomes.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that although climate change and global warming may bring some localized benefits, like fewer winter deaths in temperate climates and increased food production in certain areas, the overall health effects of a climate change are likely to be overwhelmingly negative. Climate change affects environmental and social determinants of health, such as secure shelter, sufficient food, safe drinking water, and clean air.
Debate on whether climate change and global warming is a result of anthropogenic or natural causes continues. Nonetheless, eventually we will all have to choose a sustainable way of living.