Who would benefit from climate change?

Climate change. Global warming. Pollution. Rising temperature around the planet. Lethal heat waves. Melting ice and rising sea level. Catastrophic natural events. Draughts, flooding. Rapid weather changes. Disappearing Maldives.

Climate change is undeniable and truly terrifying. The effects will be severe and very often lethal, maybe way worse than we expect. Even though some people and organizations try to work against it or to mitigate it, it might be already too late.

While we hear so many terrible temperature forecasts, new horrifying climate findings and a call for panic in the media, let’s at least try to smile through the pain for the duration of this reading.

As controversial as it is, global warming could bring benefits to some regions of the Earth. Although it will be bad everywhere, the change will not impact the world evenly and some countries will be better organized around this than others (Brodwin, 2018). Eco Experts, a UK-based energy comparison service, created a map based on the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index which shows countries most and least at risk of the global warming impact. The map considers factors like food supply, government stability and healthcare on a country-level. They ranked Norway as the number one country in terms of dealing with future climate challenges, and Somalia or Haiti in a group of 10 countries most at risk.

Countries most and lest at risk from climate change (source: businessinsider.com)

The map is a great indicator of what is likely to happen globally but leaves out the fact that some regions, even in high-income countries, are poorly prepared for the on-going climate change (Brodwin, 2018). It can also be concluded that the poorest countries, or those with an unstable government, are the ones most at risk. It is because countries as such will not be able to deal with and adapt to the climate change effects as efficiently and quickly as wealthy territories.

It is believed that global warming will result in new usable land for agriculture and longer growing season in countries such as Canada, Russia or Greenland. The northern high latitudes will also experience new market access due to development of northern trading routes and ports, caused by the melting ice of the Arctic (Beatti, 2016). This will also create an alternative and much quicker route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans for the world’s largest ships, too big for the Panama Canal (Hill, 2011). Moreover, the energetic industry might thrive as new weather conditions will allow for exploring previously unexploited reserves (Beatti, 2016). Some researchers and scientists also say that the northern countries, especially Canada, have a chance to become global superpowers due to enormous supplies of fresh water (Dembicki, 2017).

The climate change and severe weather conditions, especially extreme heat, create an opportunity for a new separate tech industry to emerge. If technology and products adapting to extreme temperatures are not developed in the future, regions like Arizona or Texas will become desolate. There will also be a need for transfer and adoption of the existing technology and methods from the warmer to the colder parts of the world (Beattie, 2016). The people and companies who aim at adapting to the new climate conditions will benefit the most. There are already investors who purchase land in the northern areas of the world and plan projects which have a potential thanks to winters getting warmer. There are already companies who offer building materials which support buildings in extreme weather events or help with cooling buildings down (Beattie, 2016). Cleaning companies already experience higher demand for cleaning up cities after hurricanes. And the profit will only get bigger as such weather events will get more frequent and severe (Bromels, 2018).

The benefits coming from climate change exist, but they are focused mostly around economy and businesses. Well… we also get more sunny, warm days in London. But while all the positives happen in the mentioned parts of the world, misery will come to the other parts of the planet. While there will be more land to grow food in Siberia, other regions will experience massive flooding and draughts. While different companies offer ‘emergency services’ needed after natural disasters and gain more profit, they need their employees to survive the disasters first. And in the end, who knows, the whole planet might experience the same miserable fate. The positive change and benefits might only be temporary and still account for many drawbacks at the same time. On the other hand, climate change seems to be the Earth’s way to remove population excess. There is too many of us, we destroy the natural environment and the only way to change it is to kill as many people as necessary to get the perfect balance back again… Very dark, but doesn’t it make sense?

Anyway, probably the best outcome of the climate change is people switching to ‘going green’ and making our daily lives healthier. Maybe we won’t be able to stop the severe natural events, but at least we, and the next generations, will use renewable energy and breathe good quality air, eat good quality food and use good quality products.

References:

Beatti, A. (2016). The Biggest Winners In Global Warming. [online] Investopedia. Available at: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/052116/biggest-winners-global-warming.asp [Accessed 26 Feb. 2019].

Brodwin, E. (2018). The best countries to escape the worst effects of climate change. [online] Business Insider. Available at: https://www.businessinsider.com/best-countries-escape-climate-change-map-2018-1?r=US&IR=T [Accessed 26 Feb. 2019].

Bromels, J. (2018). 3 Sustainable Companies That Could Benefit From Climate Change — The Motley Fool. [online] The Motley Fool. Available at: https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/12/02/3-sustainable-companies-could-benefit-from-climate.aspx [Accessed 27 Feb. 2019].

Dembicki, G. (2017). How Climate Change Could Turn Canada into a Global Superpower. [online] Vice. Available at: https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/mbanm4/how-climate-change-could-turn-canada-into-a-global-superpower [Accessed 26 Feb. 2019].

Hill, T. (2011). Top 10 Possible Benefits Of Global Warming — Listosaur | Hungry for Knowledge. [online] Listosaur | Hungry for Knowledge. Available at: https://listosaur.com/science-a-technology/top-10-possible-benefits-of-global-warming/ [Accessed 26 Feb. 2019].

Junior Associate at CIFS. MA Service Design graduate at UAL. The blog presents my thoughts on futures and service design.