QUORA QUESTION: HOW IS CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECTING US NOW?
Quora Questions are part of a partnership between Newsweek and Quora, through which we’ll be posting relevant and interesting answers from Quora contributors throughout the week.
Answer from Michael Barnard, low-carbon innovation analyst:
Climate change is already being felt in innumerable ways today.
Climate change is one of the underlying contributors to some of the most major stories of the past decade and is being felt broadly and mostly negatively.
In this photo, Peter Gash, owner and manager of the Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, snorkels during an inspection of the reef’s condition in an area called the ‘Coral Gardens’ located at Lady Elliot Island and north-east from the town of Bundaberg in Queensland, Australia, June 11, 2015. David Gray/Reuters
Regional conflicts: Climate change has increased drought in the middle east, and has contributed to the rise of ISIS and the destabilization of the middle east playing out now. This in turn has led to the millions of Syrian and other refugees in temporary refugee camps in countries outside of the worst impacted areas and the hundreds of thousands of refugees attempting to get to Europe and often drowning. Researchers Link Syrian Conflict to a Drought Made Worse by Climate Change.
Miami is sinking: Many parts of Miami are already experiencing sea water welling up from under foot at king tides and some are experiencing regular flooding at merely high tides. This is with the relatively small amount of sea level rise already experienced. This is an indicator of what is to come. Miami Is Sinking Into the Sea—But Not Without a Fight.
Farmers are under stress: Farmers are already adapting to changes in climate, but not without impacts. There is already an increase in frequency and severity of drought and heavy rains, extremes which make getting crops difficult. Already crops are shifting north in the northern hemisphere. Climate Impacts in the Midwest: Becoming More Resilient.
Pine Beetle devastating forests: The Pine Beetle has shifted its range further north with increasingly warm climates in North America, moving into Canada and devastating extremely large areas of pine forest. This has caused significant economic and environmental fallout. The Bug That’s Eating the Woods
Wildfires are increasing: Wildfires are becoming more frequent, more severe and covering more ground due to climate change. This is killing people, burning communities out, reducing air quality substantially over major areas of continents and costing quite a lot to deal with. Is Global Warming Fueling Increased Wildfire Risks?
Insurance premiums are up: Insurance companies have been paying out a lot more in claims due to climate change, and in return have been changing their premium structures and rates. They have seen a statistically clear indication of climate change in terms of extreme weather events which cause significant economic damage. Extreme weather forces insurers to adapt and lobby for change.
Hundreds of thousands are already dying annually: A UN organization tasked with monitoring the impacts of climate change calculates that climate change is already causing 400,000 premature deaths a year. CLIMATE VULNERABILITY MONITOR.
Permafrost is melting: Northern communities and physical infrastructure is built on permanently frozen ground, which if melted is a quagmire. Melting of this permafrost is already occurring, destroying buildings and infrastructure such as roads. Permafrost warming in parts of Alaska ‘is accelerating’ – BBC News.
Jellyfish blooms are causing damage: Jellyfish are enjoying the warmer oceans, and increasing substantially in range and numbers. They are clogging thermal power plant intakes causing the plants to shut down and destroying fish farms. Massive Swarms of Jellyfish Are Wreaking Havoc on Fish Farms and Power Plants.
Tornadoes are increasing and shifting range: Tornadoes are clustering, increasing in destructive power and being seen further north and in different times of the year. This is one of the predictions of climate change models and appears to be playing out. Communities with no tornado warnings or experience in dealing with them are being hit. New U.S. tornado trend is worrisome.
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