Climate Change Impacts Developing Nations
Developing countries with low national incomes are being hit the hardest by climate change. Rising sea-levels, storms and cyclones and high temperatures as a result of global warming are some of the consequences produced by climate change.
Climate change is defined as a shift in global weather patterns, largely due to man-made influences on the environment. According to a U.N. report, the average land and sea temperatures are expected to rise an additional four degrees Celsius; meaning, future temperatures can become warm enough to ruin agricultural sectors and impact ways of living. When land as well as sea temperatures warm, a spike in rainfall occurs, causing heavier storms with stronger monsoons and cyclones. Additionally, warming oceans result in melting glaciers and polar ice caps which cause rising sea-levels and coastal flooding.
In the past 50 years global temperatures have risen faster than any other time in history. Severe heat waves and droughts, due to warming, impact not only water and food sources but individual health as well. If exposed to heat waves for an extended amount of time, illness and death become likely. Diseases transmitted through food and water also increase since bacteria rapidly multiply when exposed to heat for a long period of time.
Additionally, poor crop yield due to droughts can cause increased hunger and famine. Droughts also cause a scarcity in water supplies that also contribute to poor health and hunger.
Storms such as cyclones and monsoons are being amplified as a result of climate change.
Developing nations such as the islands of Vanuatu are at an increased risk of such storms. Vanuatu has recently experienced its strongest cyclone yet. The storm caused coastal flooding due to rising sea-levels and has affected food supplies and destroyed around 90 percent of buildings in its country’s capital of Port Vila, according to The Guardian. The storm has affected business and employment as well, leaving many without jobs or homes.
According to National Geographic, since the 1990s, sea levels have been rising 0.14 inches per year. As sea levels rise each year, islands of developing nations are at risk of losing land to the sea.
For example, the island of Kiribati faces being the first country to become a refugee of climate change. Rising sea levels not only invade the land of Kiribati, but also drive its people into deeper poverty. The salt water that seeps into the land contaminates fresh water sources and kills crops that are needed for survival.
Countries like Kiribati along with other developing nations are at a higher risk because of unavailable funds to combat the consequences of climate change. Poor countries cannot afford to counter the effects the climate has on its environment, causing developing nations to be more susceptible. Global warming and droughts, storms such as cyclones and monsoons along with rising sea-levels require a degree of funding in order to combat its effects. Without it, developing nations will continue to be hit the hardest as climate change progresses.
– Nada Sewidan
Sources: The Guardian 1, The Guardian 2, The Guardian 3, Natural Resources Defense Council, The World Bank
Photo: National Geographic