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Is climate change the biggest threat to the global economy?

If not properly managed, climate change has a high potential to become the biggest threat to the global economy. The increased variation in weather shifts is a direct cause of climate change from the production of greenhouse gases, being carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Finding solutions to decrease the amount of these gasses industries produce - mainly in the manufacturing and energy production sectors - is vital to ensure climate change does not become an even greater threat to the global economy. However, if these steps are not taken, risks that can affect the economy include an increase in natural disasters and extreme weather patterns.

Source: GETTY

Natural disasters caused by increased greenhouse gasses are evident from the 2019-2020 Australian bushfires. In the bushfire season, Australia recorded its maximum average temperature of 41.9 degrees Celsius on the 18th of December, one degree higher than the previous record set only a day earlier. Due to the greenhouse effect, more heat was trapped in the Earth's atmosphere resulting in a long dry period before the bushfires started, increasing their devastating effect of burning through over 10 million hectares, killing over 450 people and billions of native animals. Another nature disaster is the continual floods in South Asia, displacing over 12 million people in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. The greenhouse effect is once again responsible, with the increase in heat causing ice caps to melt and rising sea levels. These natural disasters incur tremendous costs not only in human life but also in relocating and rebuilding.

Extreme weather patterns are also responsible for great costs, caused directly by climate change. In February 2021, an extreme snowstorm hit Texas, which the state was completely unprepared for. The snowstorm was responsible for at least 137 deaths and over $196 billion in damages. Once again climate change is responsible. Due to the greenhouse effect heating the arctic, the polar vortex winds - winds that just flow around the poles - are disrupted, causing these cold winds to flow further south, causing Texas' cold snap.

How can we mitigate greenhouse gas levels?

We need to grow seaweed and Azolla (algae) farms to absorb greenhouse gasses. These organisms are far more effective at converting greenhouse gasses than trees in the short term. They will likely be replaced once suitable sources of energy that do not release greenhouse gasses are discovered. These will most likely be nuclear, such as uranium reactors, thorium reactors (believed to be safer than uranium reactors) and fusion reactors (although fusion technology on Earth may not be possible).


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