The most appalling thing about global warming is that the real culprits will not bear the biggest brunt as it would be in most other cases. Most of the temperature increases that have been experienced in the last 100 years can be attributed to countries such as US, UK and Germany. China and India are also coming up, but it would be unfair to put them in the same league with the developed world because such a classification does not take in to consideration the concept of per capita greenhouse gas emission.
Blame games aside, global warming will have both social and economic impacts, most of which will be in the developing countries that do not have the resources to cope with the changes. Already, the president of the small nation of Kiribati is planning a gradual evacuation of his people at the rate of 1000 people per year (Shaw). The country is among those that will disappear due to climate change. Kiribati’s case is a demonstration of the enormous number of environmental refugees that will be created.
A report appearing on BBC suggests that for every 10% per cent of crop yield lost in Mexico due to global warming, 2% of Mexicans will want to migrate to the US (BBC). Such migrations are a pointer to the families that will be broken up as people move away to escape the adverse effects of climate change. In the process as well, new cultures may emerge, while others may disappear completely. Kiribati is a case in point. Once the evacuation is complete, the collective culture of the Kiribati people as it is now will disappear, or become mutilated beyond recognition.
Added to this is the increased poverty, especially in developing countries, whose economies are heavily dependent on agriculture. The result will be a population that is less healthy and with a significantly lower quality of life. Developed countries will not be left unscathed in all these. Influx of environmental refugees from developing countries will result in the countries’ social services system being severely strained.
Because of this, populations will be less happy and may even blame the environmental refugees for their reduced quality of life. Intolerance may result, and soon xenophobic attacks or racial hatred may become commonplace. Both the developed and developing countries must also prepare themselves for increased crime rate. That is guaranteed because increasing populations matched by reducing resources must lead to increased crime rates.