Climate Change is far from only an environmental issue. Human societies are dependent upon the healthy functioning of environmental systems.
Friends of the Earth believes that the developed world has a responsibility to assist less developed nations to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Friends of the Earth pioneered the concept of Climate Justice and has taken a leading role in ensuring that the hard-felt human impacts remain at the forefront of climate change discussions.
Climate change will have major effects on the earth's ability to produce food:
drought caused by climate change will result in food shortages in several parts of the world.
altered weather patterns could make crops more vulnerable to infection, pest infestations and choking weeds
two degrees of global warming is likely to cause a major decline in crop yields in tropical areas. This would cause major famine in Africa.
Many Pacific Island communities are already facing major issues of food security due to climate change, with tides washing through their crop gardens. Salt-water is a serious issue for these islands, as it significantly reduces food production.
The lack of rainfall in the southern half of Australia is a sign of climate change. The drought has caused many farmers to lose their livelihoods. It has led to water restrictions in Australia’s cities and towns. The lack of water will worsen as global warming continues.
Several of the world’s major rivers, including the Murray-Darling, are at major risk due to climate change. Hundreds of millions of people who rely on the water provided by rivers such as the Ganges and the Yangtze could lose access to fresh water.
Internationally, there will be less rainfall in central Asia, the Mediterranean and southern Africa. Billions of the world’s people are likely to have significantly less fresh water by 2050.
Poor weather conditions caused by climate change are likely to affect most industries — directly or indirectly. It's possible that unemployment will rise causing pressure on wages and conditions. Prices are also likely to rise, due to shortages of raw materials.
Farmers and rural communities are directly dependent on the climate for their livelihoods and security. They will be some of the people most affected by climate change. The remoteness of rural communities in Australia already makes it hard to find jobs and access services. Rural communities will face new challenges as people move to cities in search of work.
If we do not make major reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions, now, climate change will cost hundreds of billions of dollars in the years and decades to come. It is easily the greatest threat to our economy since the Great Depression 80 years ago.
Climate change is projected to cause major health risks in Australia. It's likely that we will see increases in insect borne diseases such as:
Many of these are known as tropical diseases. But over the years, warmer weather will mean that a bigger area is affected. Global warming, for example, has resulted in malaria occurring for the first time in the Papua New Guinea highlands. Increases in insect-borne diseases are expected in southern regions too. Dengue fever is projected to spread as far south as Sydney by 2100.
Without a significant investment in Indigenous health, Indigenous people in tropical and sub-tropical areas will be particularly affected by these diseases.