Climate change: a catastrophe for all mankind

  The high temperature that has swept the world this year has made us, who were only in front of TV before similar news from other countries, start to fear the disaster caused by climate change. Frequent extreme weather not only makes us feel the power of “God”, but also has a direct or indirect impact on the society in which human beings live, producing a chain reaction.
  Some of these effects are visible to the naked eye, and some are subtle. If we do not take care of the blue planet on which we live, human beings will eventually face an unprecedented catastrophe created by themselves.
Global food production slumps

  There is a saying among Chinese peasants, “relying on the sky to eat”. Under extreme weather, the primary industries, including agriculture, animal husbandry, and fisheries, are always affected, and their production and harvest are closely related to the natural environment and climate. The global climate crisis is becoming more and more serious, and the most serious negative impact on the global society is the food security problem caused by climate change.
  Since the beginning of this year, global food prices have remained high. Too many people have accused the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, which has lasted for half a year, of causing the global food crisis, but it is only a pretext. In addition to regional conflicts and rising fertilizer prices, the biggest variable is extreme weather. Droughts in the United States, Asia and Europe, and severe weather such as floods in Australia have made global food production a foregone conclusion.
  Currently, Europe is experiencing the “worst drought in 500 years”, and residents in many places are struggling to use water. Even the famous Rhine and Thames are almost dry, let alone food production. Without the ability to guarantee irrigation, crops planted in large areas in Europe will fail. Ukraine, known as the “granary of Europe”, recently warned that its grain production may drop by 50% this year; Romania, Europe’s top corn producer, has three-quarters of its producing areas affected by varying degrees of drought; and corn in parts of eastern Germany No harvest possible; Hungary’s corn production will be the lowest since 2010.
  Data from the European Drought Observatory website shows that in the 10 days from July 21 to July 30, about 47% of Europe was on drought “warning”, and 17% had entered the worst drought “alert” state, which means a small amount of rainfall does not relieve the drying out of the soil, which affects the growth of both plants and crops.
  On August 6, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the latest data showing that U.S. spring wheat production will drop by 41% year-on-year, hitting the lowest output in 33 years. North Dakota, the state with the largest wheat production in the United States, has recently suffered a severe reduction in wheat production, and its wheat production is only about 40% of previous years. Currently, the price of spring wheat in some regions has doubled from $4 to $5 a bushel (about 36 liters) last year to around $8 to $9.
  Parts of India, the world’s top rice exporter, have seen less rain this year, causing the country’s rice-growing area to fall to its smallest level in about three years. As the world’s second largest wheat producer, in February this year, the Indian government also confidently announced that the annual wheat output is expected to reach a record 111 million tons. The Minister of Commerce of India even made a bold statement on Twitter: “Indian farmers are feeding the world.” But soon, the continuous high temperature in March and April made Indian officials unable to laugh at all. On May 14, the Indian government suddenly announced that in order to ensure domestic food security, wheat exports had been included in the “prohibited” category.
  India is not alone in issuing a ban on grain exports. As of May 28, more than 20 countries around the world have implemented export restrictions on grains, including wheat, corn, flour, tomatoes, vegetable oils, and beans. From June 1, chickens from Malaysia will not be exported.
  Studies have shown that for every 1°C increase in the global average temperature, the yields of major food crops such as rice, wheat, and corn will decrease by 3% to 8%. The World Food Policy Research Institute said in a statement in May that global food production has fallen by 30 percent since 2007 due to climate change, and the situation is set to worsen.
  According to the latest world cereal production forecast released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the forecast value for July was slightly lowered compared with June, to 2.817 billion tons, mainly due to the continued dry weather. Among them, Brazil’s corn production forecast was sharply lowered, wheat production was lowered in the Near East, and Spain’s rice production forecast was lowered due to the more-than-expected impact of limited irrigation water on the planting industry.
  The food production reduction caused by the drastic changes in the global climate has already appeared a few years ago. This change not only destroys the fertility of cultivated land, but also causes imbalances in the agricultural ecosystem and induces secondary crises such as insect pests. The austerity food policies adopted by major food-producing countries due to reduced production and poor harvests also threaten the integrity of the global food supply chain. The report “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021” jointly released by several United Nations agencies including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Food Program and the International Fund for Agricultural Development in July last year identified climate change as one of the important factors inducing the global food crisis. First, it is believed that the frequent occurrence of climate disasters has made it more difficult for the international community to achieve the goal of “zero hunger” by 2030.
Exacerbating the epidemic of human infectious diseases

  The continuous and rare high temperature in the country this summer has made “heat stroke” a hot word, and many people have seen its “power”. This kind of deadly disease induced in the “high fever” environment is just one of the many threats to human health caused by climate change.
  In April this year, the Climate Change Center of the China Meteorological Administration announced the “Top Ten Scientific Events on Climate Change in 2021”, and the fourth place was the World Health Organization’s “Special Report on Climate Change and Health”. It has also been found from these events that climate change will not only cause temperature changes or an increase in extreme weather, but also directly or indirectly have many adverse effects on population health through various complex pathways.
  ”The health threat of global warming is underestimated, and the death toll from climate change may far exceed the number of deaths from the new crown pneumonia epidemic. More than 5 million deaths each year can be attributed to abnormally high and low temperatures.” Chao Qing, director of the National Climate Center According to the dust introduction, 37% of the deaths related to high temperature can be attributed to climate change caused by human activities; from the perspective of regional distribution, more than half of the global temperature-related excess deaths occurred in Asia, especially in East Asia and South Asian coastal cities.
  Extreme temperatures occur frequently in many places around the world. Extreme high temperatures and cold waves make vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children, and pregnant women face the risk of heat stroke, frostbite, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, and respiratory diseases. The risk of death increases by 10%.
  In addition to directly affecting the human body, climate warming can also affect the concentration of air pollutants and indirectly affect human health by changing meteorological conditions such as rainfall, wind speed, and humidity. According to the Research Report on Burden of Disease in my country, among the risk factors leading to an increase in the burden of disease among Chinese residents, air particulate matter pollution ranks fourth, after high blood pressure, smoking and high-sodium diet. In addition, high temperature can increase the concentration of surface ozone, and long-term exposure to high concentrations of ozone will lead to a significant decline in lung function; the destruction of the ozone layer by greenhouse gases will lead to an increase in ultraviolet radiation in sunlight, which will significantly increase the incidence of skin cancer and cataracts. The frequency of natural disasters such as floods and droughts can also exacerbate the prevalence of water-borne diseases…

  The latest research found that the continued warming of the climate has also increased the risk of human infectious diseases. According to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change on August 8 this year, 58% of the list of reliable records of infectious diseases affecting humans have been shown to be exacerbated by climate change. These findings highlight further human health risks in the face of continued climate change.
  By systematically sifting through the literature, researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa found 3,213 empirical cases linking 286 unique human pathogenic diseases to 10 climate hazards such as warming, floods or droughts. Of these, 277 were exacerbated by at least one climate hazard, and only 9 were weakened by it. Some disasters bring people closer to pathogens, such as displacement due to storms or floods associated with Lassa fever and Legionnaires’ disease, while others bring pathogens closer to people, such as warming increases biologically active areas that transmit diseases, such as Lyme disease, dengue fever and malaria.
  Even more worrying for some health experts is that climate warming will prompt some dormant bacteria and viruses to become active, which may lead to outbreaks of new infectious diseases. Some people even believe that some ancient viruses released by melting glaciers will exchange genes with some modern viruses to derive new viruses similar to SARS. An article published in the journal “Nature” mentioned that climate warming will bring about the migration of wild animals, followed by the spread and spillover of cross-species viruses, a phenomenon vividly described as “one-pot porridge” , that global warming will “cook” many pathogens out. Since humans have never been exposed to these viruses and lack immunity to them, these viruses are a great threat.

Global warming and melting glaciers have brought many species to the brink of extinction.

  Such concerns are by no means unfounded. It seems that the outbreak caused by the new coronavirus pneumonia virus has been raging around the world for three years. The strong contagiousness and variability of the new coronavirus give people good reasons to believe that it is related to the warming of the global climate in recent years. There is a more or less connection between them.
  Chao Qingchen, director of the National Climate Center, said that no country is immune to the health effects of climate change. my country is a sensitive area and an area with significant impact on global climate change. The threat brought by climate change is increasing rapidly, and the threat posed by climate change to public health is particularly prominent.
Species Extinction and Existential Crisis

  In Costa Rica’s rainforest, from April to June each year, red-gold toads emerge in swarms from the bushes to mate in ponds after heavy rains. However, since 1990, the endemic species, known as the “Golden Toad”, has never been observed in the rainforest.
  The Monteverde Cloud Forest, once home to golden toads, now looks more like a dust forest because the fog used to keep the forest moist during the dry season has been reduced by about 70 percent. In the 1970s, the forest averaged around 25 days of drought a year, and in the past decade it’s been closer to 115 days.
  As early as 2005, a study in the journal Nature identified the golden toad as the first species to become extinct due to global warming. Today, scientists are still looking for Jinchan, looking forward to its return, but in such an environment, miracles hardly happen.
  Scientists at the time believed that the main cause of the species’ extinction was drought, but later linked it to chytrid infection, concluding that the disease was just a “bullet” triggered by climate change. According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global expansion of chytrid, as well as local climate change, “has been associated with the extinction of many species of tropical amphibians.”

  Of the world’s 8 million species, more than 1 million are on the brink of extinction, at least tens to hundreds of times faster than the average for the past 10 million years.

  The fate of Jin Chan may be just the beginning. Since then, traces of global warming have also appeared in other extinction events. The tragic thing is that it is not just the little creatures like Jin Chan who are facing a desperate situation.
  Many people still remember the reports from a few years ago: the temperature in the Arctic Circle was as high as 32°C, and polar bears could not find food on the melting ice floes, and either starved to death or drowned; there were also Arctic musk ox and arctic fox. , Arctic seabirds, are on the verge of extinction due to the reduction of sea ice area… Because of the melting of Antarctic glaciers, the habitat of penguins is also decreasing at an incredible rate. Krill, the food that penguins depend on for survival, because the water temperature rises less and less, many little penguins cannot follow the big penguins to swim far away to hunt for food, and starve to death before they grow up.

The temperature in the Arctic Circle is as high as 32 ℃, and polar bears cannot find food on the melting ice floes, and either starve to death or drown.

  The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists climate change as an immediate threat to 11,475 species, with approximately 5,775 species threatened with extinction. Climate change is increasingly recognized as a threat to so many species, mainly because its effects are becoming more pronounced, said Wendy Foden, head of the IUCN climate change expert group.
  The IPCC also said that even if warming was limited to a target of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, nearly one in 10 species would be threatened with extinction. If the world remains the same, following past emission patterns, the global temperature is very likely to rise by 4.5°C, and many species will become extinct as a result.
  In its 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, the United Nations warned that of the world’s 8 million species, more than 1 million are endangered, at a rate at least faster than the average of the past 10 million years values ​​are tens to hundreds of times higher. This has sparked fears that the world is entering a sixth mass extinction.
  In response to the biodiversity loss crisis, the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, held last year in Kunming, China, adopted the “Kunming Declaration”, committing to ensure the development, adoption and implementation of an effective “2020 Post-Global Biodiversity Framework” to reverse the current trend of biodiversity loss and ensure that biodiversity is on a path to recovery by 2030 at the latest, thereby fully realizing the 2050 Vision of “Man and Nature in Harmony”.
  In ancient history, the extinction of ancient human species due to climate change has been proven by a lot of scientific and archaeological research, and examples of dynasties and regime changes indirectly brought about by climate change such as the Little Glacier are not uncommon. Today, this threat is likely to bring about the “destiny” of modern humans themselves and the demise of many maritime states.
  Accelerated sea level rise has been unprecedented in recent decades due to accelerated ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, as well as continued declines in glacial mass and thermal expansion of the ocean. A report released by the IPCC in late February said that by 2050, one billion people will be at risk of coastal flooding from rising seas. More people will be forced to leave their countries due to weather disasters, especially floods, rising sea levels and tropical cyclones. For maritime island countries such as Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and Maldives, the rise of sea level means “destroying the country”.
  Controlling carbon emissions and striving to curb climate change is not just a matter of “life-threatening” for these countries, but the responsibility of all countries and all people in the world. If nothing changes, humans may suffer the same fate as the dinosaurs in the Cretaceous and the trilobites in the Permian. This is not an alarmist.