Global Hazards - The Future


World becoming increasingly hazardous

Global risk and uncertainty are increasing as many hazards increase in magnitude and frequency. This threatens major disruption to people and the environment.

One problem associated with increasing risk and incertainty is water shortages, which lead to reduced food security.

An example of how increasing global warming is causing water shortages and reduced food security is as follows:

  • Global warming causes changes in precipitation and temperature patterns.
  • In some areas, this results in drier conditions, which leads to water shortages and decreased ability to grow food.
  • Many poorer parts of the world are affected this way, e.g. sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Poorer areas have less money to find technological solutions such as dams, or to import sufficient food shortages
  • Dehydration and famine can occur in areas where global warming has affected a vulnerable population and a vulnerable environment.
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May lead to conflict

The problems of water shortages and food security have caused political disputes between countries and can even lead to armed conflict. Conflicts can escalate as rick and uncertanty increase because of hazards like global warming:

  • Egypt relies heavily on the river Nile for its water supply.
  • The two man tributaries that feed the NIle flow through Ethiopia and Sudan.
  • Egypt built a dam called the Aswan High Dam, which created a large lake to store water.
  • Droughts in the 1980s led to famine in Ethiopia & Sudan, but Egypt wasn't affected because enough water was stored in Lake Nasser.
  • If global warming continues to cause shortages of water and Ethiopia or Sudan increase their water Egypt's supply might be reduced.
  • Egypt hsa stated that it's ready to use force to protect its access to the waters of the Nile.
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Managing hazards is more difficult

Conflict, famine, poverty and climate change make managing global hazards more difficult. 

These problems increse the vulnerability of the population - they may become poorer and less healthy, and the infrastructure to provide help may become inadequate.

Risk is increased where the population is vulnerable - a hazard may become a disaster.

A country suffering other problems like famine won't have the resources to manage the impacts of any other global hazards such as global warming. The priority will be to feed the nation, rather than reduce greehouse gas emissions or stop deforestation.

A downward cycle can occur where the hazards cause problems that eventually increase the risk of more hazards. 

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Global warming - biggest challenge the world has f

Global problems like famine, poverty and conflict cause massive loss of life, but global warming has the potential to cause much more loss of life and damage to property.

It can be the cause of many other global problems and hazards and can worsen their effects - It's a context hazard.

It's a long term hazard and the impacts may be permanent and irreversable.

Global warming afects the entire planet whereas other problems tend to occur in more localised regions.

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Strategies to cope with global warming

Increasing energy efficiency - making the energy we produce do more.

Energy conservation - using less energy.

Decreasing carbon emissions - directly slowing the rate of global warming.

Increasing alternative energy use - using energy sources that produce less GHGs.

Reafforestation - replanting trees to increase CO2 uptake from the atmosphere.

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Costs of managing global warming

The Stern Review (2006) looked at the economies of climate change.

It concluded that an investment of 1% of the world's GDP would be needed to prevent the worst effects of global warming. 

If this investment isn't made, GDP could be reduced by up to 20% in the future. 

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Agenda 21 (1992)

The UN was set up a programme in 1992 called Agenda 21 which outlines action to be taken at a global and local scale to help sustainable development. The first section looks at vulnerability and is about combating poverty changing consumption and promoting better health. The second section looks at reducing risk by changing emissions, working against deforestation and protecting environments. Together they should help reduce risk and vulnerability.

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