Mountain of Evidence Confirms: Climate Change Is Really, Really Bad for Human Health and Well-Being
People in more than 200 U.S. cities have an increased risk of premature death because of future warming, the researchers found. Extreme heat is linked with sleep loss, kidney stones, low birth weight, violence and suicide. Exposure to ozone and other air pollutants, including smoke from forest fires, can be bad for human health. Extreme weather events intensified by climate change can lead to physical trauma, disease outbreaks, interruption of health care delivery and mental health problems. Rising temperatures and carbon dioxide levels are also increasing the length of pollen season, which affects people with allergies. Certain crops are expected to produce fewer nutrients. Population displacement and armed conflict can also amplify risks to human health. [Photos Show Horrifying Scenes from California Wildfires]
With less snowpack in the mountains, the West and Southwest may experience more droughts. Reduced snowpack can lead to reduced river flow, which can threaten rare and endangered species, such as salmon and wolverines. Climate change is also expected to erode water quality in the United States because of nutrient loading (such as from fertilizer or animal waste), especially in the Midwest and Northeast.
Sea level rise
High sea levels will increase the risk to coastal communities, economies and infrastructure, largely because of flooding, erosion and extreme events. These effects can lead to displacement through “climate gentrification,” in which people living at higher elevations have higher-priced properties. The movement of goods among major port cities will likely be affected, too, causing economic disruptions. Sea level rise may also disrupt the U.S. military, as well as disaster and humanitarian relief efforts.