There are at least 467 known dangers from climate change that we can expect: Study

The climate hazards will affect rich & poor countries equally, particularly in tropical regions.

The world is set to face a scale of threat from climate change like nothing we’ve seen before, and a new study puts a number on exactly how many changes we can expect to see: 467.

A comprehensive new study claims that a total of 467 different changes to human health, water, food, the economy, infrastructure and security are likely to affect us between now and 2100.

These also include climatic changes like temperature rise, droughts, heatwaves, wildfires, floods and changes to global sea levels, forest cover and ocean ecosystems, which have spin-off effects of their own on changing climate.

People wait for aid next to makeshift raft at a flooded area in the southern state of Kerala. Image: Reuters

People wait for aid next to makeshift raft at a flooded area in the southern state of Kerala. Image: Reuters

The study, published in Nature Climate Change, combines the work of 23 scientists that reviewed thousands of research papers and even consulted authors from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to get a big-picture view on the scale of the ongoing crisis.

The result, according to the researchers, is one of the most comprehensive studies looking at the effects of the multiple different climate change phenomena alongside global warming.

“Greenhouse gas emissions pose a broad threat to humanity by simultaneously intensifying many hazards that have proven harmful in the past,” Camilo Mora, lead author of the study, told university press.

“Further, we predict that by 2100, the number of hazards occurring concurrently will increase, making it even more difficult for people to cope.”

Map showing the cumulative effects of climate hazards by 2100 under the current, business as usual scenario. Image credit: Camilo Mora. https://maps.esri.com/MoraLab/CumulativeChange/index.html

An interactive map showing the cumulative effects of climate hazards by 2100 under the current, business as usual scenario. Image credit: Camilo Mora.

Even in a very optimistic scenario for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions by 2100, researchers say that the exposure to multiple different climate hazards will impact rich countries and poor ones equally, particularly in tropical and coastal areas.

“If we only consider the most direct threats from climate change, for example, heatwaves or severe storms, we inevitably will be blindsided by even larger threats that, in combination, can have even broader societal impacts,” Jonathan Patz, director of the University of Wisconsin's Global Health Institute told university press.

Also, a product of the study is a purpose-built website with a global map of the climate hazards we can expect, and a list of 3,280 studies reporting cases of climate hazards disrupting people’s lives.

"This new research provides rigorous, quantitative support for a point we have emphasized for some time: the costs of inaction greatly outweigh the costs of taking action on climate change," Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University, who was not involved in the study, told university press.

"It also provides robust support for another key point: we can still reduce future damage and suffering if we act quickly and dramatically to reduce carbon emissions."

Tech2 is now on WhatsApp. For all the buzz on the latest tech and science, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Tech2.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.





Top Stories


also see

science