The folks blogging and reporting on global warming and its implications have generally done a good job keeping the remaining Cliff Clavins from being able to say “nobody told me” or “I didn’t understand” when hooey engages fan full-blast. But they’ve been horrific in ignoring the impacts that the effects will have on social and public infrastructure and programs as resources are diverted and needs rise. (My favorite one remains how everyone will just change over to hybrids or retrofitted cars as needed without subsidies or tax breaks.) Here’s an example of how warming will affect a social policy area with ginormous implications for the resources government will have to provide its other social policy areas, like corrections sentencing.
Climate change will have potentially devastating consequences for human health, outweighing global economic impacts, researchers said on Friday, calling for urgent action to protect the world's population.
"While we embark on more rapid reduction of emissions to avert future climate change, we must also manage the now unavoidable health risks from current and pending climate change," said Australian researcher Tony McMichael, who co-authored a study in the British Medical Journal.
"This will have adverse health effects in all populations, particularly in geographically vulnerable and resource-poor regions," he said.
McMichael, from Australia's Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, said increased wildfires, droughts, flooding and disease stemming from climate change posed a much more fundamental threat to human well-being than economic impacts.
A 2006 report by former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern said climate change had the potential to shrink the global economy by between 5 and 20 percent, causing a similar impact to the Great Depression.
But McMichael said climate shift would bring changes to the pattern of infectious diseases, the effect of worsening food yields and loss of people's livelihoods. While it was unlikely to spawn entirely new types of diseases, it would impact on the frequency, range and season patterns of many existing disorders, with between 20 and 70 million more people living in malarial regions by 2080, he said.
[BTW, if the head of Royal Dutch Shell says peak oil hits in 2015, will you believe it then? (h/t Climate Progress, which also has a Tom Tomorrow cartoon that applies to everything we’re doing in this country from global warming to corrections sentencing.]]