As delegates at the COP27 climate conference discuss the common problem of climate change, each country will face its own unique challenges and threats.
In February, the UN climate science agency released a major report on adapting to a warmer world – and detailed how that effort would differ from place to place. While some countries will see glaciers melt or coastlines rise, others will mainly have to deal with raging forest fires and extreme heat, according to the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This will require different investments and solutions as communities seek to adapt. Here are some of the ways climate change will affect countries in each region:
Countries with territory in the Himalayan Mountains or its foothills, including China, India, Nepal and Pakistan, could face flash floods, according to the report. When the ice melts, water can pool behind rocky ridges to form lakes. And when those rocks give way, water rushes downward – endangering mountain communities downstream.
Further south, mosquitoes that can carry diseases like dengue fever and malaria are expected to spread to new parts of subtropical Asia, encouraged by warmer temperatures and heavy rains.
And hundreds of millions of people will be on the move. A World Bank report warned in September that climate impacts, including water scarcity and declining agricultural yields, could force some 216 million people to migrate within their own countries by 2050.
Living on the hottest continent in the world, Africans are at a particularly high risk of suffering from heat stress. If global warming exceeds pre-industrial levels by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), at least 15 more people in every 100,000 would die each year from extreme heat, according to the IPCC.
Africa’s population is likely to grow faster than any other in the 21st century, and many people will live in coastal cities. By 2060, it is predicted that more than 200 million people in Africa will be vulnerable to sea level rise.
Nigeria’s coastal capital, Lagos, is on track to become the most populous city in the world by 2100. Population growth on the continent could also increase resource scarcity.
CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA
The Amazon rainforest and the thousands of diverse plants and animals it supports are highly vulnerable to drought and forest fires, made worse by the clearing of trees by farmers.
Droughts, storms and floods will worsen in parts of the Andes, northeastern Brazil and parts of Central America. Coupled with geopolitical and economic instability, these impacts could lead to waves of migration.
Mosquito-borne diseases, zika, chikungunya and dengue, could make more people sick.
The 2019 summer heatwave offered only a glimpse of what awaits Europe if warming reaches 3 degrees Celsius. At such temperatures, cases of heat stress and heat-related deaths would double, or even triple, compared to 1.5C.
Beyond 3C, “there are limits to the adaptive potential of people and existing health systems,” the IPCC report says.
Damage from coastal flooding is expected to go well beyond the sinking of Venice, increasing at least 10-fold by the end of the century.
And despite Europe’s relative wealth, current adaptation measures are insufficient. Scientists predict continued heat-related deaths, crop failures and water rationing during droughts in southern Europe for decades to come.
Large wildfires will continue to scorch forests and darken skies across the western United States and Canada, destroying nature and livelihoods while contributing to air pollution and the water.
Even if global warming is held to 1.5°C, many parts of the United States will be at high risk of severe storms and hurricanes, in addition to flooding from rising sea levels. sea and storm surge.
On Monday, the country’s fifth National Climate Assessment warned that these events would threaten “the things Americans care about most,” like safe homes, healthy families, public services and a sustainable economy. The IPCC also said such climate impacts would disrupt global supply chains and international trade.
And in the Arctic, melting sea ice, warming temperatures and thawing permafrost will push many species to the brink of extinction. In a new report released on Monday, scientists predicted that summer sea ice will disappear entirely by 2030.
The Great Barrier Reef and kelp forests of Australia will reach a hard adaptation limit above 1.5C, undergoing irreversible changes due to marine heatwaves. Tourism revenues would fall sharply, according to the IPCC.
Extreme fires would plague southern and eastern Australia and parts of New Zealand.
And as Australia’s forests dry up, the alpine ash, snow gum and northern jarrah forests would then largely collapse.
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