The picture above shows that climate change affects the economy
/Extracted from Pixabay
The typhoon "Hinamnor," which landed in South Korea around September 6th, 2022, damaged South Korea greatly. The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters (CDSCHQ) reported more than 190 houses and 3,815 hectares of agricultural land were flooded. There were three deaths, eight people reported missing, and one injured. According to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), Hinamnor was explained as the first tropical cyclone to occur in the mid-latitude region since the start of the observation. The so-called "super typhoon" occurred in the low-latitude area, which gradually weakened in the mid-latitude area and was the first to break the formula. According to KMA, it was able to occur in the mid-latitude area by increasing its power at sea level, which is higher than usual due to climate change. In addition to Korea, abnormal heat waves continued in Europe, leading to daytime temperatures of 41 degrees Celsius during the day in the United Kingdom (UK) and 360 heat-related deaths in Spain for five days.
Many experts explain that the cause of these abnormal natural disasters is climate change. Therefore, let us find out the characteristics and causes of climate change and the impact of climate change on our society.
There are characteristics and causes of climate change
Climate refers to the average fluctuation of weather over a long period of time, usually 30 years. Climate change is not only caused by artificial factors but also by natural factors, but is typically used to refer to a climate system that no longer returns to an average state beyond the scope of natural climate change due to human activity. In other words, it refers to a phenomenon in which global climate patterns change rapidly as the Earth’s average temperature gradually increases.
There have been several periods of warming on the Earth in the past. For example, about 92 million years ago, temperatures were so high that there was no ice cap in the polar regions, and creatures such as crocodiles lived in the Arctic region of Canada. There was a time when the sea level was 25 meters higher than it is now. A five to eight meters rise in sea level could inundate most coastal cities worldwide. Many “Climate Skeptics” question the scientific basis of global warming. However, almost all scientists who regularly publish in prominent journals agree that human influence is the cause of climate change.
Scientists say that greenhouse gases, which have soared in the process of fossil fuel abuse or large-scale factory-type livestock, have promoted global warming, and that the rapid climate change has deepened the seriousness of the natural disasters. There are several activities that cause climate change, such as soil pollution caused by the use of chemical fertilizers and water pollution caused by wastewater.
However, the most significant impact is the change in atmospheric composition caused by greenhouse gases. The most important thing is carbon dioxide since it accounts for the largest proportion of the greenhouse effect except for water vapor. Due to the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, it has drastically increased since the 19th century, showing an increase of about 71% since the Industrial Revolution. Since the retention time of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is more than 100 years, the behavioral results of our generation are expected to have a great impact on the future of the next generation.
Climate change influences society and the economy
What are the influences of climate change on individual citizens? The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that climate change is the biggest threat to global health in the 21st century. Climate change can worsen infectious diseases such as malaria and cholera, and severe air pollution can cause an increase in cardiovascular diseases. For instance, fine dust is a major risk cause of myocardial infarction, heart failure, and sudden death. In addition, numerous diseases such as allergies and infectious diseases, are affected by climate change, and as climate change worsens, diseases on the Earth will increase. Furthermore, the weather will become too hot for sport, making it impossible to enjoy the same sports as before, and damaging winter sports. It is also predicted that coffee production will decrease by about 40 to 50% by 2038, as coffee cultivation becomes difficult due to rising global temperatures. In addition, individuals may be damaged by experiencing abnormal weather caused by climate change directly, such as heavy rains, heat waves, increased frequency and intensity of typhoons.
There are also social and economic influences, not only individual influences. Climate change threatens humans with a variety of situations, including food and water shortages, flood increases, extreme heat waves, the spread of diseases, and economic losses. In addition, Climate change itself creates environmental refugees. Human lives are closely related to weather or climate in all aspects, including culture, social customs, and economic activities as well as food, clothing, and shelter. Therefore, when the weather and climate change, our lives change.
According to the "Analyze of Changes in the Mortality Rate of the Climate Change Vulnerable Group due to the Heat Wave," the higher the ratio of the elderly without income or the elderly living alone, the more vulnerable they are to abnormal weather such as heat waves. Income disparity is emerging as a social problem as the serious abnormal climate caused by climate change affects the direct survival problem. This is not the only impact of climate change on society. Climate change is emerging as a top concern among security issues that threaten peace in the international community. This is since climate change poses a serious threat to the survival of the country itself due to the loss of territory. It affects the yield of agricultural products or water, and food shortages can be a threat to world peace.
The impact of climate change on the economy cannot be ignored. The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) report explains that a "Green Swan," which means a devastating economic crisis caused by climate change, is approaching. They say that rising prices and falling labor production trigger a financial crisis. Also, the Deloitte Center for Sustainable Progress analyzed that if climate change is neglected as it is now, the global economy could suffer enormous damage worth 178 trillion dollars over the next 50 years. According to the Bank of Korea's report, "The effect on productivity that climate change affects," abnormal temperatures, reduced sunshine hours, and increased frequency of abnormal weather could arouse output decline and quality degradation, leading to contractions in the industrial sector based on ecosystem services such as tourism. Moreover, abnormal weather can affect workers’ health or the working environment, which can be a factor that lowers labor productivity. Restrictions on supply routes or human capital movements due to climate change, that is “vulnerability to weather abnormalities” is an option that greatly affects corporate investment by increasing capital procurement costs.
In addition to the prediction that global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will decline, it can represent the future social costs of climate change so that people can relate directly to it. Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) refers to the cost that society must pay to make up for the losses caused by climate change. Usually, all costs and benefits associated with one ton of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions, such as casualties, property damage, and sea level or global temperature changes are quantified using discount rates and expressed as monetary value. Policymakers use this figure to weigh the costs of reducing emissions and the benefits of decreasing global warming. Currently, the United States (U.S.) federal government determines its policy by calculating the SCC of 51 dollars per ton of carbon. However, experts argue that the number of SCC should be higher due to the lowered real interest rates. “Resource for the Future” published a study that SCC could soar to 171 dollars per ton. Considering the data released by the Ministry of Environment of Korea with the national greenhouse gas emissions of 679.6 million tons in 2021, you will have a sense of how much social costs are caused by SCC.
As time goes by, climate change, which was not well in the past, is how becoming a direct influence on our lives. This means that unless we are aware of climate change and make efforts to address it, climate change is nothing but just the beginning. As the world we will live in is changing, even those who are not interested in the environment need to understand how the environment will change in the future and prepare for it. Why do not we take time to rethink about climate change and the future environment, considering not only the impact on individuals but also the social and economic impact?
Lee Jun-ho email@example.com
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