Term Paper: Climate Change Impacts

Pages: 10 (4423 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Agriculture  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Part of these changes will arise from the biological reactions and the other set will be done by the farmers and the markets. The impact in agriculture will cause heavy damages to some individual plants or animals, while causing gains to others due to the global network. For the individual plant, or in the individual field, the impact of changes in climate will be largely affected through the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, as also the other changes in the environment. 2 Food and Agricultural Organization is now working on two different levels for reduction in the impact of regular climate variations and climate changes on the human food security. The Organization is trying to increase the ability of the farmer to cope with changes. They are encouraging an approach to agricultural development without regrets. (Agriculture and climate change: FAO's role)

They are trying to give the farmers options to increase agricultural flexibility and efficiency under the changing conditions. When the conditions will change, this sort of attitudes will help the farmers. Their promotion of practices in farming that help overcome variations in climate, like the usage of drought resistant crop strains, better usage of existing water, etc. will also help them adapt to the changed situations. FAO is also working with the national decision-makers and other scientists so that improvement of monitoring of existing conditions and the changes that are taking place can be better monitored. This is expected to support development with foresight between the choice of monitoring agriculture production for planning or for early warning purposes (GIEWS). They are using satellite technology (ARTEMIS) and agro-meteorological tools, developing early warning systems for animal and plant diseases that are effective (EMPRES), and monitoring the environmental conditions and changes in the climate (GTOS, AFRICOVER, SD dimensions Global Climate Maps). (Agriculture and climate change: FAO's role)

Real commodity prices have fallen over the last half a century by over two thirds, and this is causing a lot of concern for the producers who are worried about their own economic viability and competitiveness. This has been countered during the last half a century by a steady 1% growth a year in productivity, which has helped in terms of reduction of production costs and prices. At the same time, this trend is maintaining a lot of pressure on the farmers to ensure the increase in the productivity of their farms and see to the cost reduction in production. This is a highly competitive market environment, and the producers are worried about any increase in costs or limitation of markets as threats for their survival in the field. Regulations that may increase their costs like the efforts to control the consequence of soil erosion, usage of agricultural chemicals, livestock wastes, resistances to and the restrictions on the use of genetically modified crops are all viewed by the producers as threats in line with the extreme weather or climate conditions like droughts or floods, new pests and the development of resistance by pests to the methods used by the producers to control the pests. When the climate changes in the future, all these will affect the production along with the climate. (Agriculture Sector)

The existing socioeconomic effects often occur faster than the changes in the environment that cause the socioeconomic changes, and thus it is difficult to forecast them. There has been a one meter rise in the sea level in the past hundred years, and the resulting changes in socioeconomics are clear, but the other impacts of the changes in the global climate are not so obvious, or measure. Godden and Adams (1991) have examined the impact of the changes in the world climate on the economics of Australia in "The Enhanced Greenhouse Effect and Australian Agriculture." Their conclusion was that some sections of agriculture had shown a drop in productivity, but there had been an overall growth in agriculture as there was a high increase in the foreign demand for Australian agricultural produce. (Social and Economic Effects of Climate Change)

One of the effects of climate changes has been the damage to the fish and prawn breeding grounds of Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand according to "The Potential Socio-economic Effects of Climate Change" by Parry, Magalhaes and Nih (1992) under a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) study. An estimate of the effects of climate change on the use of two alternative crop strategies has been made in "An Empirical Study of the Economic Effects of Climate Change on World Agriculture" by Kane, Raelly and Tobey (1992). According to their study, there was estimated to be changes in the prices of agricultural commodities due to the changes in yields. The prices were also affected by the changes in economic welfare due to changes in world patterns of consumption and production of these products. (Social and Economic Effects of Climate Change)

There has been a great change in the socioeconomic structure of the Northern Great Plains due to climate changes and variations and this may be treated as a test case. This clearly is disturbing as the future climate changes and variations are expected to have a similar great effect on the regions of the world depending on agriculture. 8 One of the predictions shows that there is likely to be increased amount of hunger and poverty around the world. The changed and continuously changing weather patterns are expected to impede economic activity, especially in the people dependant on natural resources. The livelihoods of people depending on farming, fishing and forestry may see their occupations destroyed by low rainfall, degradation of soils and deterioration of forests and fishing grounds. (Impacts of climate change)

The poorer sections would suffer more, as they would have less choice in responding to these changes. They are unlikely to have the capacity for changing over to new crops which would use less water, or to pump more water for irrigation, to get hold of more land for cultivation, or even adopt new techniques to get more fish. The solutions suggested above typically use expensive items like machinery or high cost energy. The poor in the urban areas are also likely to be affected. Their residences and the basic structures of the city near their residences may not be able to withstand the fury of the changed and violent weather. The outside investors may decide to avoid such areas or leave them out altogether, and this would cause more trouble to the poor. (Impacts of climate change)

Within the different elements of the population among the poor, the women and children would be the worst affected. This is because the women tend to be less mobile than men in terms of geography and occupation, and this would cause them difficulties to leave their farms and forests. Families would find it difficult to last as the men would move away. This was seen during the African drought of the 1980s when there were 150 million victims and three fourths of them were women and children. (Impacts of climate change) Diseases would also affect the children more. Along with the rise in temperatures, the ozone layers are affected and more ultraviolet rays are likely to come through. These would permit dangerous pathogens to increase but reduce the human ability to counter them. This is likely to harm the weaker more - the young and malnourished children, the ill, the old and the unsheltered. This may also give rise to mass migrations. When the climate changes severely, there would be a lot of movement of refuges and they would emigrate from the most affected regions to the less vulnerable areas. This movement within nations would be from rural areas to urban areas and from the South to the North in the world. These would also cause conflict in the social and political levels, and ultimately the people who are displaced and disposed will even lose their culture. (Climate: Impacts on Human resources- Political)

To stop this we must stop the damaging trends that we have started. The changes set in motion will lead to many environmental refugees - due to exhausted water and soil, and escaping from the advancing deserts and rising seas. Our entire civilization is being squeezed today between the deserts growing in the interior of the continents and the seas engulfing the borders of our land, and the resultant refugees will be not in millions but in tens of millions. 11 The world will thus be living in a constant situation of emergency and the resultant victims are likely to be forced to adopt methods of living which are ecologically and socially unsustainable within the large cities where they will be forced to move. Their lives will become totally disrupted as a result, and this in turn will cause other social and political problems which may have as large impacts which caused the environmental problems. (Impacts of climate change)

These will cause changes in the political structures… [END OF PREVIEW]

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