Effects of climate change

Climate change affects all regions around the world. Effects that scientists had predicted in the past that would result from global climate change are now occurring including loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise, and longer, more intense heat waves.

Regional Effects of climate change

  • Southern and central Europe are seeing more frequent heat waves, forest fires, and droughts.
  • The Mediterranean area is becoming drier, making it even more vulnerable to drought and wildfires.
  • Northern Europe is getting significantly wetter, and winter floods could become common.
  • Urban areas are exposed to heat waves, flooding, or rising sea levels, but are often ill-equipped for adapting to climate change.
  • Many developing countries are among the most affected. People living there often dependheavily on their natural environment and they have the least resources to cope with the changing climate.

Effects on human health

  • There has beenan increase in the number of heat-related deaths in some regions and a decrease in cold-related deathsin others.
  • Changes in the distribution of some water-borne illnesses and disease vectors.

Effects on society and economy

  • Damage to property and infrastructure and to human health imposes heavy costs on society and the economy.
  • Between 1980 and 2011, floods affected more than 5.5 million people and caused direct economic losses of more than €90 billion.
  • Sectors that rely strongly on certain temperatures and precipitation levels such as agriculture, forestry, energy, and tourism are particularly affected.

Effects for wildlife

  • Various plants and animal species are struggling to adapt to climate change
  • Many terrestrial, freshwater and marine species have already moved to new locations. Some plant and animal species will be at increased risk of extinction if global average temperatures continue to rise unchecked.
  • In the event of floods or droughts, agricultural production is low, food is scarce, and children suffer from malnutrition. Droughts and thunderstorms are common in the southern and eastern parts of the country. 

Effects of climate change in Rwanda

  • Every year in Rwanda, especially in the Western Province, there have been floods at different times, but the worst occurred in 1997, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2012.
  • Some of the effects we can mention are infrastructure damage, deaths and injuries, landslides, agricultural degradation, and environmental degradation.
  • The increase and spread of water-borne diseases have been observed in many places. Food shortages are also affecting health, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable, such as pregnant women, adults, and young children.
  • Rwanda has an abundance of natural water resources, such as the Nile source from the highlands, about 101 lakes, and 860 swamps, accounting for 16% of the country's total land area. However, the decline in water resources has been particularly noticeable in the Eastern Province. One of the reasons for this water shortage is climate change