Global warming is an increasingly pressing environmental issue, and its scholarly articles offer insight into how its effects are felt, who is affected, and what might be done to ameliorate it. To comprehend the full scope of the problem, and the research that has been done, it’s important to consider both its positive and negative implications.
Firstly, increased temperatures threaten to disrupt many ecosystems on a large scale. Species tiered to specific temperature ranges may find themselves out of sync with their natural habitats. Warmer water, for instance, causes more intense storms, more frequent and prolonged droughts, and higher levels of sea-level rise. According to a study published in Scientific American, 1.2 billion people are at risk of displacement due to increased flooding and sea-level rise caused by global warming. Furthermore, an increase in extreme weather events can lead to destruction of assets, higher death tolls, as well as an overall economic downturn, as was seen following 2017’s Hurricane Harvey and 2018’s Hurricane Maria.
On the flip side, an increase in environmental temperature can lead to extended growing seasons and improved crop yields in certain areas of the world. Carbon dioxide, which is a byproduct of greenhouse gas emissions, is also a natural fertilizer for plants, which can have both negative and positive effects on ecosystems. For example, the Southwestern United States has seen an increase in monsoon intensity over the last century, leading to increased seasonal rainfall and improved crop production in the region. Additionally, warmer temperatures can lead to longer recreational and tourist seasons, bringing much-needed economic boosts to rural areas.
While some areas may benefit from global warming, much of the world stands to be detrimentally affected by its continued progress. Studies have shown that a rise in global temperatures of more than 2℃ over pre-industrial levels may bring catastrophic effects, including widespread species loss, ocean acidification, desertification, disruption of rain cycles, and the spread of infectious diseases in new regions. According to a 2019 report published in NatureClimate Change, over the next 20-100 years, the global economy could suffer losses amounting to 20-190 trillion dollars in human capital.
Global warming is an issue of global scale, and its full effects are unpredictable at this time. Over the years, many solutions have been proposed to help mitigate global warming, ranging from carbon taxes and international treaties to the adoption of renewable energy sources. However, the most effective solutions involve a combination of both top-down and bottom-up approaches that focus on education, investment, policy reform, and the development of green technologies. Only by understanding the scientific evidence and taking decisive action can we hope to make a real difference in the fight against global warming.