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Impacts of Global Warming on Societies Around the World and Japan


The effects of global warming vary from region to region. However, it is common worldwide that many creatures and people’s lives can be seriously damaged. In different parts of the globe, different impacts are appearing in each region. These impacts threaten the natural environment and society in various ways, including impacts on water resources, agriculture, sanitation, and increased risks such as heavy rains and floods.

Common damage, disparity in resistance

The screams of countries with difficulty “adapting”

Building resistance to disasters such as abnormal weather brought about by global warming is called “adaptation.”

Currently, damage caused by global warming is occurring frequently in various places in various parts of the world, but whether or not we can “adapt” to this is a situation that varies depending on the circumstances of each country or region.

For example, in economically affluent countries, levees can be built or strengthened in response to flooding, and crops that are resistant to extreme weather such as sunshine and lack of sunlight can be bred and produced.

But many of the world’s poorest countries don’t do that.

These countries lack the funding, technology, and human resources needed to adapt. As a result, the damage caused by global warming is becoming more serious.

In addition, there are many cases where these developing countries have a relatively large number of rich natural environments that are not yet exposed to threats such as development.

As global warming progresses, these natures will also be affected by various damages and effects.

Furthermore, if climate change exacerbates poverty in these countries and regions, there is a risk that abundant forests and seas will be developed haphazardly in pursuit of short-term economic benefits.

Of course, there are many people suffering from global warming in developed countries as well.

However, in the case of poor developing countries, in addition to these circumstances, we should not forget that they have hardly emitted carbon dioxide, which causes global warming in the first place.

Drought continued in early 2000 in Victoria, Australia. Agriculture was also severely damaged.

Global warming to date is thought to be mainly caused by carbon dioxide emissions from industrialization in developed countries.

Tuvalu, an island nation in the South Pacific. It is under serious threat from rising sea levels.

Impacts of concern in different parts of the world

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s most trusted and authoritative scientific knowledge of global warming, released its latest report, the Fifth Assessment Report, in 2014.

What the report reveals is that if the temperature rise rises by around 4 degrees Celsius at the current rate, the impact is expected to be irreversible.

In addition, even if we manage to limit the increase in average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, the negative effects of global warming are actually predicted to be considerable.

Therefore, “adaptation” to prepare for the adverse effects of global warming must be prepared in any case.

It has been found that by preparing adaptation measures, adverse effects can be mitigated to a considerable extent.

Since some degree of global warming damage is already unavoidable, it is important to simultaneously reduce greenhouse gases, which is the cause, and adapt to predicted adverse effects.

Let’s take a brief look at the impact of further global warming and the required adaptation measures for each region. (Source: IPCC Fifth Assessment Report)


Predicted negative effects

Due to climate change, the current water shortage is likely to become more serious, especially in semi-arid regions, and the impact on agricultural production will increase.

  • In addition to overuse of water and deterioration of water quality, greater demand in the future will make water scarcity critically serious.
  • Drought-prone areas will be more drought-prone.
  • Heat and drought can reduce crop productivity and increase disease and insect damage. In addition, rising temperatures and weather changes are likely to reduce grain productivity and threaten food security.
  • Changes in temperature and rain conditions will change the incidence and area of occurrence of infectious diseases such as malaria transmitted by organisms and water, and new outbreaks will occur in areas where malaria has not existed before.

Examples of adaptation measures required

  • Sustainable urban development, including a comprehensive water supply management plan.
  • Development of heat-resistant crops and strengthening of irrigation systems.
  • improved hygiene and so on.

Lake dried up due to drought (Lake Bogoria, Kenya)

Agriculture has also been affected (Mount Rvenzori, Uganda)


Predicted negative effects

The productivity of typical grains such as rice may decline in many regions.

  • Flooding in rivers and coastal cities will increase, causing widespread damage to infrastructure and housing.
  • The risk of death from fever is likely to increase.
  • Water and food shortages due to drought, which causes malnutrition, are likely to increase.
  • The impact of extreme weather on health, security, living conditions, and poverty is likely to appear in various ways across Asia.
  • In many regions, permafrost will decline and vegetation distribution, habitat speed, and seasonal activity of plant species will change during the 21st century.

Examples of adaptation measures required

  • Establishment of an early warning system for disasters such as floods.
  • Establishment of a health warning system for heat and heat.
  • Such as the development of water infrastructure and retention ponds.

Flood in Bangkok, Thailand (2003)

In the Himalayas, the collapse of glacial lakes formed by melting glaciers has caused great damage (Nepal).

Australia, New Zealand

Predicted negative effects

Without adaptation, further climate change and ocean acidification are likely to have serious impacts on water resources, coastal ecosystems, infrastructure, health, agriculture and biodiversity.

  • In Australia, water temperatures and ocean acidification are likely to lead to significant changes in coral reef community composition and structure.
  • In Australia and New Zealand, flooding is likely to increase in frequency and intensity to damage infrastructure and homes.
  • In Australia and New Zealand, rising sea levels are likely to increase risks to coastal infrastructure and low-lying ecosystems, and cause widespread damage.
  • Increased heat waves will increase health hazards, and changes in rain and rising temperatures will shift agricultural production areas. It will also reduce the habitat of many native wildlife.

Examples of adaptation measures required

  • There are limits to the ability of coral reefs to adapt to rising water temperatures and acidification. Adaptation measures are largely limited, such as reducing stress caused by other factors (such as tourism and fisheries).
  • In some regions, there is a severe lack of adaptation to flood risk. Specifically, it is possible to control the state of land use, but ultimately it will be necessary to relocate, protect, and adjust residences.

Protected area off-limits due to continuously dry forest fires (Victoria, Australia)

Coral communities that have bleached and died due to rising seawater temperatures (Great Barrier Reef).


Predicted negative effects

In almost all regions and in all sectors, the negative effects of climate change are projected to increase.

  • In addition to rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and increased peak river flows, urbanization will increase flood damage in rivers and coasts, resulting in more people suffering water scarcity and economic loss.
  • Extreme heat will increase the impact on health, welfare, labor productivity, grain production, increase the risk of death from the heat, and increase the number of people who suffer economic losses.
  • In the north, grain production will increase, while in the south it will likely decrease.
  • Global warming will change the habitat and species of organisms, and there is a high possibility of regional extinction. Species ranges will fluctuate on a continental scale, particularly in the Alps, where vegetation will be severely affected, and many native wildlife species will decline in population.

Examples of adaptation measures required

  • Most projected flood damage can be avoided by adaptive measures such as flood protection techniques.
  • Water shortages are likely to be adapted to improve the efficiency of water use and conserve water.
  • It is necessary to build an alarm system against hot heat.

Flooded towns flooded by heavy rains caused by extreme weather (UK, 2009)

In the Alps, glaciers are also retreating.

Central & South America

Predicted negative effects

Despite progress and improvement, most countries still struggle with poverty and remain weak to respond to the effects of global warming.

  • Both water scarcity and flood risk increase. Semi-arid regions, areas that rely on snowmelt from glaciers, and Central America are particularly likely to see a decrease in available freshwater resources. On the other hand, urban areas and rural areas will be at increased risk of serious floods and landslides.
  • Food production and food quality will decline. The impact of climate change on agricultural productivity will be far-reaching.
  • Communicable diseases borne by organisms, such as mosquitoes, will increase the likelihood of spreading over a wider area.

Examples of adaptation measures required

  • Flood management in urban and rural fishing villages, early warning systems, etc.
  • Development of new crops that can adapt to high temperatures and droughts.
  • Establishing programs to expand basic public health services.

Erosive coast (San Andreas, Colombia)

Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina. The loss of glaciers leads to water shortages.

North America

Predicted negative effects

Many effects of global warming are predicted, but the frequency of extreme heat and heavy rains will increase in the next 10 years, and there is a high possibility that losses will increase.

  • Dryness and warmer temperatures will increase wildfires, increasing ecological impacts, property loss, and increased rates of disease and death.
  • The risk of death from heat increases.
  • Rising sea levels, heavy rains, and flooding of rivers and coastal areas caused by cyclones will damage urban infrastructure. There is a high risk of disruption of ecosystems and social systems, deterioration of public health, and pollution of water.
  • By the end of the 21st century, without adaptation, rising temperatures, reduced rainfall and frequent extreme weather events will increase grain production in the north, but reduce production in many regions.

Examples of adaptation measures required

  • It is more adaptable to climate change than other regions, but the institutions that support it are also limited.
  • Support for households and an early heat warning system will be needed.
  • Older rainfall design standards are used to combat rising sea levels. They need to be updated to reflect the current climatic conditions.

Houses collapsed due to thawing permafrost (Alaska, USA)

The devastation of Hurricane Catherine (New Orleans, USA)

Polar regions (Arctic, Antarctic)

Predicted negative effects

In polar regions, climate change, combined with population, cultural and economic development, is likely to cause environmental change to occur faster than social systems can adapt.

  • The thickness and area of glaciers and sea ice are shrinking. During the 21st century, sea ice will continue to thin and it is very likely that the snow cover in the spring will also decrease.
  • This is a fatal factor that threatens polar bears and other wildlife that depend on sea ice for extinction.
  • Permafrost melts or snowfall patterns change. This impacts infrastructure and related services. Hazards to dwellings, such as urban areas and small rural buildings, are of particular concern. Communities with limited adaptation will be particularly vulnerable.
  • Changes in sea ice will make it harder to capture marine mammals. Perpetual ice on the continental shelf is lost, and the period of ice cover is shorter, and the ice becomes thinner. Already, thawing permafrost, coastal ice loss, rising sea levels, and rising extreme weather events are forcing Alaska Native Americans to relocate.

Examples of adaptation measures required

  • Scientific and enhanced understanding based on indigenous wisdom is more effective solutions and technological innovations.
  • Enhanced observation, monitoring, and alarm systems.
  • Moving the place of residence.

For polar bears to survive, Arctic sea ice is indispensable.

The livelihoods of people, including many indigenous peoples, have also been affected.

Small island states (small island nations such as the South Pacific)

Predicted negative effects

Small island nations will be most affected by climate change and other factors. This is a serious issue that threatens the survival of the country.

  • The combination of rising global average sea levels in the 21st century and storm surges caused by typhoons and other factors will expose coastal lowlands to severe inundation and erosion. It also leads to contamination of groundwater sources.
  • As ocean temperatures rise, ocean acidification can lead to the loss of coral reef ecosystems. This will negatively impact communities that rely on coral reef seawalls, as well as fishing and tourism.

Examples of adaptation measures required

  • In the case of island countries with large coastal areas, adaptation poses a serious financial and resource challenge.
  • Additional external resources and technology are required.

Islands of the Solomon Islands. Many of these islands, made up of uplifted coral reefs, are only a few meters high.

Tuvalu, an island nation in the South Pacific. High waves crash on the coast. The country is in danger of being submerged.

Warming Japan

Recently, the number of extremely hot days has increased even in Japan. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the average temperature in Japan has been high since the 1980s, and especially since the beginning of 1990, it has been a year that has been the highest ever recorded.

Changes in climate and environment that are also a concern for Japan

The average temperature in Japan has increased by about 1 degree over the past 100 years. In recent years, there have been many reports of an increase in abnormal weather that is thought to be caused by this temperature rise, as well as changes and deterioration in the growth of crops.

It has been known from many years of observation that the flowering time of sakura is also earlier due to changes in temperature in early spring.

It has been pointed out that the increase in average temperature year by year may have the following effects on the nature of Japan and our lives. (Source: Ministry of the Environment, Japan Meteorological Agency)

Possible changes and impacts

  • Summers are longer, winters are shorter
  • As the growing area of plants changes, the habitat of living things changes.
  • Areas where rice can be grown will move north, and it will no longer be possible to produce rice in areas where rice can be produced until now.
  • Tropical diseases such as malaria and yellow fever land
  • Ski resorts at low altitudes lack snow and fewer tourists
  • Typhoons making landfall in Japan become stronger, etc.

In addition, other examples that have already been pointed out include an increase in heat stroke due to extreme heat, damage to livestock and crops, a series of strong typhoons, heavy rains in the region, and floods.

If global warming continues at this rate, it is predicted that in 100 years, the number of midsummer days when the maximum temperature will be 30 degrees Celsius or higher will exceed 100 days per year, which is more than double the current number, and one-third of the year will be in summer.

As global warming progresses, the four seasons of Japan will also change significantly. Global warming is a phenomenon that has a serious impact on the Japan in which we live.

Witnesses to global warming

The effects of global warming are already beginning to appear in many parts of the world. Much of the damage has hit people in poor developing countries who are hardly responsible for the problem of global warming. WWF has developed a project called “Witnesses to Global Warming” to gather the voices of people suffering from global warming from around the world and disseminate them to the world, and has been working to collect examples of the impacts. It documents the impact of climate change on agriculture, fishing, tourism, and everyday life.

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