UK Looks on Bright Side of Global Warming
By Fiona Keating | July 1, 2013 1:25 AM EST
A rise in global temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions could create a boost for the British economy.
Farming, forestry and tourism will all benefit from warmer summers, according to the National Adaptation programme, published by Defra, the environment ministry.
The shipping industry could also stand to profit from the shorter sea routes caused by the melting of the ice caps.
"Shorter shipping routes will reduce transportation costs due to less Arctic ice," the report stated.
Another unexpected positive effect from rising temperatures may lead to imporoved health across the UK, as pleasant weather encourages them to spend more time outdoors, where exposure to sunshine would boost vitamin D levels. Research suggests that sunlight improves moods as it stimulates the pineal gland in the brain to produce chemicals called tryptamines.
The report's main goal is to set out how government, firms and communities prepare for and adapt to the threats and other side-effects of climate change.
Scientists have warned it is likely to bring an increase in storms, droughts, floods and other extreme weather conditions.
The Climate Change Risk Assessment report suggests there will be bumper crop yields as warmer weather results in better growth rates.
It's also expected that a sunny outlook for UK weather will increase tourism - both from abroad and inland.
Global warming may also mean fewer deaths due to cold, says a Department of Health report.
However, a seriously hot summer between now and 2017 could claim more than 6,000 lives, the study warns.
But it also stresses that milder winters mean deaths during winter - which far outstrip heat-related mortality - will continue to decline.
Some have suggested that in warmer weather, mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria may increase as the climate becomes more favourable to mosquito life.
Historically, in England, malaria made a significant contribution to human deaths during a cold period, and declined as temperatures rose during the 19th century. The same is true of yellow fever, dengue, and tick-borne encephalitis.
"Climate change will bring opportunities as well as problems and we need to be ready for both," a spokesman for Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, told the Sunday Times.
Increased Suicide Rates
An unexpected consequence of global warming is a rise in suicide rates. In a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found a link between droughts and suicides among men ages 30 to 49 living in rural areas in Australia.
After evaluating 40 years of drought and suicide data for the state of New South Wales, droughts were linked to a 15% increase in suicide risk among men.
Authors of the study noted that farmers and farming communities lose a lot of money when droughts destroy their crops. They also state that farmers experience mental distress when witnessing the devastation of their livestock and crops.
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