Climate Change Affects the Whole World

Many people in developed nations like the United States understand that global warming (anthropogenic climate change) is a problem, but don’t appreciate how it will affect them. There is sometime a perception that poor areas in the tropics will face flooding and disease, but that it is not a significant matter for developed nations.

However, global warming will cause (and is causing) effects worldwide. A few may be positive, but they are grossly outweighed by the negative effects. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, recent Nobel Peace Prize winner) has been working on its Fourth Assessment Report, and recently released the Working Group II (“Climate Change Impacts, Adaption, and Vulnerability”) portion of it. It details the predicted effects of climate change for each continent over the next century.

It’s a thorough report, but daunting for the casual reader. However, Time magazine has created a great (Flash-based) interactive graphic simplifying and summarizing the predictions:

Effects of Climate Change
See full-sized, interactive version.

It’s great to see efforts in making this information quick and easy to grasp.

9 thoughts on “Climate Change Affects the Whole World

  1. Did you read the original report? I did, and you are right it takes some work to go through it. I will have to check the Time summary. I am glad they are making the info more palatable. And you are right about the mis-perception amongst some of our fellow Americans, that we do not have to worry. I just had a discussion about that very topic, with my husband this afternoon. His view, basically, is people with money won’t have to suffer. I disagree, and you and I know there is now lots of data to support that view.

  2. I’ve read part of it, but then ended up skimming the rest. I think your husband is not definitely correct—witness the wildfires affecting California right now!

  3. Witness the wildfires in California? Hello? Like there were never any wildfires in California before?

    If I was Osama bin Laden I would have paid a half dozen ( or 50 ) sympathizers to take gascans out in the woods at the start of the next wind storm and light up the night. Ever consider that possibility?

    Tell the truth – you are really Al Gore in disguise, right?

  4. You’re right, Tom, and I apologize for being casual in my comment. No, of course global warming isn’t the cause of the wildfires. However, climate change is expected to cause hotter and drier conditions in that region, both of which contribute to an increased frequency and severity of wildfires. (See this LiveScience article or this CNN article, for instance.)

    The point of my remark was that the effects of global warming will touch rich and poor alike; wildfires in California are an example of how this might affect the rich.

  5. I don’t usually do this sort of thing, but I am interested in seeing what sort of tilt to facts the media does from time to time (oops bad pun there). So I followed the WSJ Global Warming article by Mr Botkin, letters to the WSJ editor, the quote from Mr O’Brien and CNN, and these have led me to you and the Time data. So, like others, I tried to link to the Time interactive graphic because I wanted to see the source of the data. In doing so, imagine my surprise (probably my not being a Time subscriber) that the graphic does NOT link up as shown in your article, Climate Change Affects the Whole World. As best I can surmise, the one you have shown is ‘health’. But I cannot get the Time graphic to do that. It limits the search to ‘coastal…, water supply, wildlife…, weather. But not ‘health’ I wonder why not. Hmmmm.

  6. I’m glad you found me. To get to the health data, one must first click the “people and society” tab. The contents of the drop-down menu will then change. (I’m a physician, so I find the health effects of climate change doubly interesting.)

  7. Dear Darmok,

    Did you see yesterday’s AAP report on kids and climate change? I don’t have time to look at it now, so just put a quick post on my blog to remind me to read more on this topic.

    BTW, to Tom, yes, we have wildfires in CA every year, but not as bad as *this*. There is another connection, which is that wildfires contribute tons of greenhouse gases and particulates to the air, neither of which are good for climate change nor for health 😦

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