Human Settlements, Energy, and Industry



Global Impact on Human Settlements, Energy and Industry

Human settlements are affected by climate change in one of three major ways:

1. The economic sectors that support the settlement are affected. For example, resource availability could be affected. The demand for the goods and services produced in a particular city could change.

2. Some aspects of physical infrastructure, buildings, urban services, and specific industries may be directly affected. For example, buildings and infrastructure in delta cities may be affected by coastal and river flooding; urban energy demand may increase or decrease because of changed space heating and space cooling needs; and coastal and mountain tourism may be affected by temperature and rainfall changes, and sea-level rise.

3. Populations may be directly affected. For example, extreme weather episodes may lead to changes in deaths, injuries, or illness. People’s health may improve because there is less cold stress or it may deteriorate as a result of increased heat stress and disease. People may be displaced because of sea level rise.

According to the IPCC’s second assessment report (SAR), the most vulnerable communities include:
1. Poor coastal and agrarian communities in arid areas.
2. Settlements built on hazardous sites (such as wetlands or steep hillsides) in or around urban areas in developing countries.

Flooding, Fires, Mudslides and Landslides:

The most widespread direct risk to human settlements from climate change is flooding and landslides. Projected increases in rainfall intensity and, in coastal areas, sea-level rise will be the culprits. Cities on rivers and coasts are particularly at risk. Inland urban areas where the wetlands have been drained and developed are particularly at risk from floods.

1. Research the data from the
a. Tsumnami in 2005 of the coast of Malyasia, OR
b. the August 2005 hurricane on the Gulf coast of the USA. Use from newspapers and archived newscasts for further details and put these extreme events in the context of climate change. Check out the August 2005 National Geographic Magazine.

2. Mudslides and fires in British Columbia and California, fires and flooding in Ontario, and flooding in Europe in 2005 all add to the list of extreme weather events of the type predicted in climate change. Choose one. Use newspapers and archived newscasts for further details to discover the $ US in damage for the chosen event. What other effects does such an event have on the economy of the area? See sections 6.2.2d

The following article by Gary Gardner in Vital Signs sums up the global situation for 2005 with respect to impacts of human activity on the landscape.

1. How many hectares were deforested each year during the 1990’s?
2. What area of southern Ontario would the one year deforestation represent- check the area of Portugal. The total for the decade?
3. What are the 3 major reasons for deforestation by humans?

What other statistic stated in this article deals with the impact of Human settlements, Energy and Industry on the global forest ecosystem? Relate this to Ontario.

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