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Advantages and Disadvantages of Global Warming

Positive and Negative Effects of Global Warming to People and the Planet

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Global Warming
Jens Marott/Getty Images
Updated June 12, 2014
In February 2007, the United Nations released a scientific report that concludes that global warming is happening and will continue to happen for centuries. The report also stated with 90% certainty that the activity of humans has been the primary cause of increasing temperatures over the past few decades.

With those conclusions and the conclusions of innumerable other scientists that global warming is here and will continue into the foreseeable future, I wanted to summarize the likely effects of global warming, into the advantages and disadvantages of global warming. First, we will look at the many disadvantages of global warming and then follow with the very small number of advantages of global warming.

Disadvantages of Global Warming

  • Ocean circulation disrupted, disrupting and having unknown effects on world climate.
  • Higher sea level leading to flooding of low-lying lands and deaths and disease from flood and evacuation.
  • Deserts get drier leaving to increased desertification.
  • Changes to agricultural production that can lead to food shortages.
  • Water shortages in already water-scarce areas.
  • Starvation, malnutrition, and increased deaths due to food and crop shortages.
  • More extreme weather and an increased frequency of severe and catastrophic storms.
  • Increased disease in humans and animals.
  • Increased deaths from heat waves.
  • Extinction of additional species of animals and plants.
  • Loss of animal and plant habitats.
  • Increased emigration of those from poorer or low-lying countries to wealthier or higher countries seeking better (or non-deadly) conditions.
  • Additional use of energy resources for cooling needs.
  • Increased air pollution.
  • Increased allergy and asthma rates due to earlier blooming of plants.
  • Melt of permafrost leads to destruction of structures, landslides, and avalanches.
  • Permanent loss of glaciers and ice sheets.
  • Cultural or heritage sites destroyed faster due to increased extremes.
  • Increased acidity of rainfall.
  • Earlier drying of forests leading to increased forest fires in size and intensity.
  • Increased cost of insurance as insurers pay out more claims resulting from increasingly large disasters.
  • Aggressiveness will increase, leading to an increase in the murder rate.

Advantages of Global Warming

  • Arctic, Antarctic, Siberia, and other frozen regions of earth may experience more plant growth and milder climates.
  • The next ice age may be prevented from occurring.
  • Northwest Passage through Canada's formerly-icy north opens up to sea transportation.
  • Less need for energy consumption to warm cold places.
  • Fewer deaths or injuries due to cold weather.
  • Longer growing seasons could mean increased agricultural production in some local areas.
  • Mountains increase in height due to melting glaciers, becoming higher as they rebound against the missing weight of the ice.
  • Boundary disputes between countries over low-lying islands will disappear.
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