Updated: Dec 30, 2022
Our planet is faced with a monumental challenge in tackling climate change. These impacts have affected our generation and will persist in changing the rest of the world directly, with a third of Antarctic ice shelves at risk of collapsing and melting as the world is on track for a 2.9% increase in average temperatures. The impact of the rising sea levels is very concerning; however, even more, alarming consequences of climate change such as damages to public health, more extreme weather events and even global trade and specialisation will all be affected as a result.
The most prevalent aftermath of global warming is the detrimental effect on UK health, with more people at risk of developing life-threatening illnesses as temperatures continue to rise. The government can combat this and implement local schemes to ensure goals are achieved, not just under the Paris Agreement, but also in local communities through schemes already established in Totnes, through transition streets and towns. If the UK government were to promote this scheme through more grants and subsidies, councils would be able to implement local strategies and encourage greener lifestyles. This would include the use of renewable energy such as solar power in every town, as well as wind power. Furthermore, residents in local areas could become more independent and reliant on local sourcing, encouraging residents to grow their own organic produce. Subsequently, not only does this reduce factors which influence climate change such as reduced food miles and carbon emissions, but also brings positive externalities - For example, people in our generation are more likely to join these schemes, thus becoming more physically active. This means that people are less likely to develop illnesses related to inactivity, such as obesity. People then become less reliant on vital NHS services, which, from current circumstances, are already under immense strain. Following this, 36,000 people die annually in the UK from pollution-related diseases. From an economic perspective, this amalgamation of factors means that more people can work healthily and productively and are less likely to take days off of work and remain active in the workforce, should demand for goods and services rise, resulting in productive efficiency, and if allocative efficiency coincides with this, economic efficiency is therefore achieved too.
Another major issue branching from climate change is more extreme weather events which impact the UK with more droughts and harsher winters. This can affect many aspects of our lives here in the UK, affecting wildlife directly, but also socially and economically, reducing agricultural trade and potential income for farmers and the government. With droughts occurring more frequently, the government should introduce more funding for infrastructure so we can still produce crops as a safety net if harvests fall short one year. This could be in the form of indoor biomes, such as seen at the Eden Project which can house significantly carbon-capturing plant species in chartered climates, and greenhouses where crops can be watered to their optimum amount whilst benefiting from protection from harsh winds and frost. This would have a positive impact on farmers, as they can now produce raw materials to sell directly to the shops and supermarkets, non-dependent on environmental factors. This means that farmers can therefore still make revenue on their commodities and maintain healthy revenue levels. Additionally, the government will also see an increase in income from farmers as they declare their earnings from profits made through the form of corporation tax. As well as this, the UK government will also see an increase in indirect tax from the expenditure of the raw materials farmed and sold at the supermarkets, which is then passed to the consumer in VAT, allowing the government to fund other projects such as HS2, which is already costing the government £106 billion.
In judgement, the impacts of climate change will inevitably be large, and the highlighted policies form a key pathway and starting point to prevent the impacts of climate change. Notably, although more needs to be done as a global community, the UK which is at the forefront of global innovations and technological advancements, need to be doing more to ensure climate change prevention is achieved and, furthermore, giving us and our minors a fairer start to life, meaning these policies are essential in changing the course of our planet.