How climate change may be affecting us in more ways than we suppose

commercial propertyJust how affected we all are by what is going on in our surroundings is confirmed by a new academic studies which links the environment to to our moods, physical wellbeing and performance. Although we are increasingly aware of the impact the working environment has on our productivity and wellbeing, the new study from researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Joint Global Change Research Institute suggests we are more influenced by the global environment and climate than we might suppose. The meta-analysis of over 200 papers published in Science magazine concludes that while climate change concerns are largely focussed on its long term and worldwide effects, we should also pay attention to the effects over the short term and at local level because of the impact on individuals, businesses, society and the national economy. As well as slowing the global economy by 0.25 percent each year, it also has a profound additional effect at local levels.

The report suggests that there is a direct correlation between an increasing temperature level and productivity and our levels of aggression. It suggests that there are further correlations with mortality, fertility, crop production, energy consumption and the movement of people across borders.

“Much research aims to forecast impacts of future climate change, but we point out that society may also benefit from attending to ongoing impacts of climate in the present,” the report concludes, “because current climatic conditions impose economic and social burdens on populations today that rival in magnitude the projected end-of-century impacts of climate change. For instance, we calculate that current temperature climatologies slow global economic growth roughly 0.25 percentage points year?1, comparable to the additional slowing of 0.28 percentage points year?1 projected from future warming.

“Recent findings provide insight into the historical evolution of the global economy; they should inform how we respond to modern climatic conditions, and they can guide how we understand the consequences of future climate changes. Although climate is clearly not the only factor that affects social and economic outcomes, new quantitative measurements reveal that it is a major factor, often with first-order consequences. Research over the coming decade will seek to understand the numerous mechanisms that drive these effects, with the hope that policy may interfere with the most damaging pathways of influence.

“Both current and future generations will benefit from near-term investigations. “Cracking the code” on when, where, and why adaptation is or is not successful will generate major social benefits today and in the future. In addition, calculations used to design global climate change policies require as input “damage functions” that describe how social and economic losses accrue under different climatic conditions, essential elements that now can (and should) be calibrated to real-world relationships. Designing effective, efficient, and fair policies to manage anthropogenic climate change requires that we possess a quantitative grasp of how different investments today may affect economic and social possibilities in the future.”

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