Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Warming Wednesdays: who will feel climate change most?

Jason Samson, a PhD candidate in McGill University’s Department of Natural Resource Sciences, created this map to show where human-induced climate change will have the most notable effects by 2050.

These researchers explain this way:

... if populations continue to increase at the expected rates, those who are likely to be the most vulnerable to climate change are the people living in low-latitude, hot regions of the world, places like central South America, the Arabian Peninsula and much of Africa. In these areas, a relatively small increase in temperature will have serious consequences on a region’s ability to sustain a growing population.” ...

This contrasts with Samson’s predictions about the impact of climate change on human populations in the high-latitude more temperate zones of the world, where the temperature change is expected to be greater. Because the spread of human populations along with their activities are already more constrained by the cooler conditions in these regions, the researchers expect that climate change will have less of an impact on people living in these areas.

A little thought will reveal how this pattern will reinforce existing global inequities. The areas that have contributed least to climate change, areas where development has been least and carbon dioxide emissions relatively small, will feel the most effects. The rich countries that created and benefited from a social system based on burning cheap fossil fuels without concern for environmental costs, will be relatively less disturbed.

The rich get richer and the poor get screwed, again.

Despite every other legitimate concern, we cannot ignore that our economic and social system is rapidly making the planet less habitable. So I will be posting "Warming Wednesdays" -- unpleasant reminders of an inconvenient truth.

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