Climate change, which is driven by the human consumption of fossil fuels, is making extreme weather events such as hurricanes, heatwaves, floods, and droughts much more intense. Not only does this trend threaten people and ecosystems around the world, but a new study concludes that it could destabilize entire societies.
Extreme heat and drought, which frequently overlap in our warming world, can produce “cascading impacts” that “propagate through numerous sectors with far reaching consequences, potentially being able to destabilize entire socio-economic systems,” according to a study published on Wednesday in PLOS Climate…
“A relevant finding of our study is that the impact of compound heat and drought is not just the sum of their separate impact on different systems,” Laura Niggli said in an email. “It is well known how severely the impacts of extreme events can be e.g. for health (with high excess mortality related to extreme heat or bad air quality), food production (with large losses in the agriculture sector due to dry spells or extreme precipitation, and limited availability of fodder and water for animals), energy (related to limited cooling water for nuclear power plants, or limited water for hydropower generation) or mobility (e.g. waterway transport restrictions due to low flows in rivers, or buckling of rail tracks) etc.”
The material world interconnects in every conceivable dialectic. Sums increase. Actions increase. Futures are foretold in more than one way – every time.