So often when we speak about climate change, it’s in a far off, abstract way.
Phrasing like “leave the world a better place” implies to some that we’ve got time to deal. Climate change – which 97 percent of climate scientists say is happening and is very likely man-made – will impact our everyday lives, if not today, then very soon. Here are three little ways climate change is predicted to dramatically affect our everyday lives.
Increased asthma attacks
About 1 in 12 people1 in the U.S., just around 25 million, suffer from some type of asthma. With increasing temperatures, their quality of life is at risk.
Many people with asthma, experience asthma flare-ups in times of high heat and humidity. Extreme temperature can cause air to become stagnant, trapping pollutants in the air, which can also cause an asthma flare-up.
One of the holdings in our disease eradication portfolio, Merck & Co, is making waves with its new Grazax clinical trials. The study results seem to show that the capsule is effective in preventing asthma in children. The company plans to expand the treatment to adults and seniors after further trials.
Bigger traffic jams
Rising sea levels have more to do with travel time than you might realize. More than half of the world's population lives within 40 miles of the sea. As water rises, people will be forced to move inland.
Michael Mann, a Pennsylvania State University climate scientist, connected the dots when it comes to the impact of climate change on migration:
“Where are these people likely to go?” he asked. “And what does it mean when they compete with native inhabitants for the same water, food, and land? This is literally where the rubber hits the road.”
Companies like AECOM, a holding in our renewable energy portfolio, is paving the way for increased travelers. With projects like their recent (and award winning) highway reconstruction in Albuquerque, NM, they work to widen roads, build bridges, and ease congestion for major throughways.
Because coffee varieties have adapted to specific climate zones, a temperature rise of even half a degree can make a big difference. A long-term increase in the number of extreme and unseasonal rainfall events has contributed to lower crop yields that are threatening the livelihood of coffee growers. For example, between 2002 and 2011, Indian coffee production declined by nearly 30 percent.
Organizations like Australia's Climate Institute estimate that, if current climate patterns continue, half of the areas presently suitable for coffee production won't be by the year 2050.
Danone, in our healthy living portfolio, is a leader in the sustainable agriculture market. Their key priorities are to preserve and improve the quality of soil, protect and manage water resources, protect biodiversity, minimize greenhouse gas emissions and maximize carbon capture.