The Humanitarian Impact of Climate Change

Authored by: Holly Schofield

The Routledge Companion to Humanitarian Action

Print publication date:  March  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415844420
eBook ISBN: 9780203753422
Adobe ISBN: 9781135013936


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Global climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the humanitarian community in the twenty-first century. Although its manifestations are currently, and will continue to be, many and varied, projections as presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggest that its main impacts will be felt in terms of both changes in climate variability and in extreme weather events rather than through slow incremental shifts in average conditions over a longer period. There are debates in the literature on the specific details of such changes, particularly in relation to whether climate change can be said to be increasing the frequency of tropical cyclones and hurricanes in certain regions (see Fussel 2009). However, while there may be disagreements on the extent to which climate change impacts hurricane numbers, there is greater consensus on the notion that the changing environmental conditions and warmer sea temperatures caused by human activity are increasing the destructive energy of storms and cyclones. Consequently, these events may become stronger if not necessarily more frequent.

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