Climate change will strongly influence human health, economics, and societies.

Floods in Daka, the capital of Bangladesh, in 2004. Victims gather at a relief office to collect survival assistance.

World Food Program

 Human Nature





  • Africa (collection) Featured Article Africa (collection) Africa (collection)

    Welcome to the Africa Collection! This new collection is centered on the environmental, economic and social challenges faced by the people of Africa. The goal of this collection... More »

  • Assessing Global Warming's Human Cost Featured Article Assessing Global Warming's Human Cost Assessing Global Warming's Human Cost

    Global climate change will influence human health and well-being. [1] Heat related deaths will mount as heat waves become more severe. Rising sea levels will threaten coastal... More »

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Climate Change Perceptions Last Updated on 2014-11-20 11:03:33 The Perception Factor: Climate Change Gets Personal This article, written by Catherine M. Cooney, appeared first in Environmental Health Perspectives—the peer-reviewed, open access journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The article is a verbatim version of the original and is not available for edits or additions by Encyclopedia of Earth editors or authors. Companion articles on the same topic that are editable may exist within the Encyclopedia of Earth. Summer 2010 saw a new suite of climate change studies from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) with the stark conclusion that “Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for—and in many cases is already affecting—a broad range of human and natural systems.”1 The NAS series received a boost from separate research... More »
Human population explosion Last Updated on 2014-02-26 17:23:15   Approximately 7.2 billion humans inhabited the Earth in year 2013. By comparison, there might be 500,000 elephants of different kinds, 200,000 chimpanzees, 100,000 gorillas, 20,000 polar bears, 3,000 tigers, 2,000 giant pandas and 200 California condors. Notably, the human population has grown about ten-fold over the past 300 years and nearly four-fold in just the last century. This monumental historical development has profoundly changed the relationship of our species to its natural support systems and has greatly intensified our environmental impact, particularly regarding species extinctions. Equally amazing are the signs that, in our generation, the human population explosion is abating (Figure 1; note that, here and below, many of the values given are estimates and, after the year 2005, projections). Our numbers are expected to rise by another 50%... More »
Climate Change and Unprepared Cities Last Updated on 2011-04-09 00:00:00 Climate Change Poses Major Risks for Unprepared Cities Fast-growing urban areas most likely to feel the heat Cities worldwide are failing to take necessary steps to protect residents from the likely impacts of climate change, even though billions of urban dwellers are vulnerable to heat waves, sea level rise and other changes associated with warming temperatures. A new examination of urban policies by Patricia Romero Lankao at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., in conjunction with an international research project on cities and climate change, warns that many of the world's fast-growing urban areas, especially in developing countries, will likely suffer disproportionately from the impacts of changing climate. Her work also concludes that most cities are failing to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that... More »
Assessing Global Warming's Human Cost Last Updated on 2010-12-14 00:00:00 Global climate change will influence human health and well-being. [1] Heat related deaths will mount as heat waves become more severe. Rising sea levels will threaten coastal cities and their fresh water supplies. Greater severity of storms and forest fires will put more people at risk. Certain insect vectors that carry human diseases will extend their ranges to higher latitudes and altitudes. Warmer temperatures and altered precipitation patterns will shift food production. Policies to abate greenhouse gases will likely force people to spend more time at routine tasks such as commuting to work, heating water, and discarding wastes. Economic assessments of human welfare depend on complex value judgments. What is the value of a human life? How important is quality of life and how much money is involved? Value of Statistical Life A standard measure for the monetary value of... More »
Lecture: Stephen Schneider Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Video Last Updated on 2010-10-07 00:00:00 This video is of a lecture that Stephen Schneider presented a number of times. It covers climate change from a risk perspective, discussing the underlying science, uncertainties, and implications of different possible decisions. Here is it captured with many (although not all) of his graphics. It is a well organized, evenly presented lecture that carefully differentiates questions of "what we know" from "what we should do." It presents data and modelling at a level appropriate for undergraduates. More »