Climate Change Research Paper

Abstract

The global climate will likely deteriorate in the next few decades if proper measures to mitigate the condition are not implemented. While this climate change will impact several sectors worldwide, the farming industry might be the most affected due to its high sensitivity to climate change. Hence, this study aims to identify whether climate change’s impact on the farming industry over the next ten years is a crisis and measures that nations and the global community should take in response to the phenomenon. Results from the research prove that the phenomenon is indeed a crisis. In addition, the suggestions indicate that global communities and Aland, as a nation, should respond to the phenomenon through mitigation and adaptation strategies.

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Introduction

Despite efforts by countries to develop national climate plans, climate change remains on the rise. A report issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) (2019) reveals that the sea level, highland, and ocean temperatures have risen steadily for the last four years. In the absence of adequate measures, climate change will remain a global issue in years to come. Besides, the failure of nations to act accordingly may inhibit efforts to limit global warming levels at 1.5 o C as projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Guterres, 2019). Although these are simply projections, the actual effects of climate change are countless, ranging from severe threats to human lives, to land, and water resources. Notably, climate change may significantly impact the farming industry because the sector relies heavily on a sustainable environment and water to thrive. Thus, amidst the abnormal weather patterns, farming will be significantly affected. While several areas are sensitive to climate change, the impact of climate change will most likely be severe on the farming industry over the next ten years, thus necessitating research to evaluate whether this is indeed a crisis and develop potential crisis management measures, such as mitigation and adaptation, for use among global communities and nations.

Major Issue Addressed by the Research

Multiple industries, such as the tourism and energy sectors, may be impacted by climate change. However, the farming industry is highly sensitive to climate change for various reasons. Firstly, the industry relies mostly on precipitation and temperatures to flourish. Secondly, every individual across the globe relies on agricultural products for food; hence, changes in weather patterns can significantly affect food production and food security. Given that the agricultural sector is highly sensitive to environmental factors, this research will focus on addressing the impact of climate change on the farming industry.

Nature of the Paper

While the research will mainly focus on the positive and negative impacts of climate change on the farming industry, potential solutions for the identified difficulties will also be provided. Notably, the solutions will consist of measures that can be taken at the national and global community levels. At the national level, the paper will focus exclusively on actions that the Aland government and its people should take to reduce the adverse effects of climate change on the agricultural sector. Similarly, the paper will contain a proposal of measures that the world should implement to curb climate change.

Definition of Crisis Management

Currently, a standard universal definition of crisis management is lacking. However, various scholars have made attempts to establish logical meanings of the term. Mikusova and Horvathova (2019) aver that crisis management is a process of tackling disruptive and unexpected occurrences that have risky outcomes for a firm, stakeholders, and third parties, such as the general public. Kuzmanova (2016) emphasizes that crisis management is a complex but systematic system that encompasses principles and actions of predicting the risk of a crisis, evaluating symptoms, and developing viable measures to mitigate adverse outcomes related to the crisis. Therefore, based on this information, crisis management may be regarded as a strategic process of identifying and controlling disruptive events that may affect different parties.

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In my opinion, crisis management is a process of a strategic response to existing or anticipated disruptive events which threaten the overall well-being of individuals and firms. Notably, the term strategic implies that the response in crisis management is expected to have long rather than short-term effects. Besides, it is evident from the definition that crisis management is not a one-time event but entails multiple stages and actions aimed at curbing the identified disruptive event. Furthermore, the occurrences tackled under crisis management are extensive; they affect a large population or cover a large area within a region (Mikusova & Horvathova, 2019). In general, crisis management is a series of actions aimed at mitigating extensive abrupt or cumulative disruptive events.

Is the Impact of Climate Change on The Farming Industry a Crisis?

Crises vary in nature, intensity, and root causes. Therefore, scholars argue that there is no consensus on a disaster’s actual meaning and specific indicators (Kalbassi, 2016). Nonetheless, previous studies reveal that crises can be defined through unique features that distinguish them from other occurrences. For instance, in their book Encyclopedia of Crisis Management, Penuel, Statler, and Hagen (2013) aver that a crisis is associated with three principal characteristics: the threat of catastrophic proportions, an element of surprise, and short decision time for implementation of measures. In conformity with other researchers, Kalbassi (2016) also states that a situation qualifies for crisis assessment if it satisfies the criteria of threat, time pressure, and uncertainty. An analysis of this information provides an overview of the crisis as a situation that is catastrophic, unexpected, and associated with a limited time frame for an institution of crisis management actions.

From the previously established definition of crisis, it is apparent that climate change and its impact on the farming industry is a global crisis. Thus, to elaborate, the issue can be weighed against the three measures of an emergency; threat, time pressure, and uncertainty. First, the impact of climate change on the farming sector meets the criteria of threat. The changing weather patterns across the globe are catastrophic to all forms of agriculture.

Notably, amidst the cumulative changes in global temperatures and atmospheric conditions, crops that rely on specific weather patterns will likely reduce their yields over the next ten years, as shown in fig 1. Too much rain will limit air circulation in the soil, affecting the growth of crops, such as Asia rice, wheat, and soybeans, which require moderate rainfall. Similarly, agricultural products such as corn, or U.S. maize, which rely on average temperature and precipitation, will be affected by the escalating temperatures associated with climate change. Furthermore, studies reveal that for the last three decades, global agricultural production has reduced in the range of 1-5% per decade, and it is expected to rise over the coming years (Thornton, Dinesh, Cramer, Loboguerrero & Campbell, 2018). Therefore, the impact of climate change on agriculture is a crisis because crop production will be lowered, threatening food security across the globe.

Besides, the impact of climate change on agriculture is a crisis because it meets the criteria of time pressure. Policymakers have limited time to implement practical actions to curb climate change before it progresses to an unmanageable state. In particular, research by the WMO shows that climate change, characterized by a steady increase in mean temperatures, is on the verge of reaching 1.2 o C by 2025, as shown in fig. 2. Thus, extreme temperatures may be an issue in less than four years in most countries. Additionally, it is estimated that amid the varying weather patterns experienced in multiple states, agricultural production will aggravate, pushing an additional 600 million people into food insecurity by 2080 (Noiret, 2016). Based on this information, it is likely that climate change and food insecurity will be global issues if environmental leaders fail to develop and implement proper measures within the next few decades. Therefore, the limited timeframe available to make necessary changes to curb the impact of climate change in the farming industry makes the situation a crisis.

Crisis Stages

Just like other situations that qualify as crises, climate change and its impact on the farming industry are associated with five major stages. Chandler (n.d) claims that the five phases involved are warning, risk assessment, response, management, and resolution. The first stage of a crisis, which is a warning, comprises the dissemination of critical notifications to persons or organizations involved in the management of the identified crisis to act accordingly. For instance, the warning stage for the impact of climate change in the farming industry may entail the dissemination of accurate notifications to governments and non-governmental organizations regarding the expected decline in food production due to the changing weather patterns. In Ethiopia, for instance, a warning regarding climate change is disseminated by the Ethiopia Climate Resilience Planning Pilot Project. Through proper communication, the early warning stage can facilitate the adoption of measures to reduce the intensity of climate change and its detrimental effects on the farming industry.

The second stage of a crisis is risk assessment. As the name suggests, this phase encompasses all activities to evaluate the crisis’s adversities (Chandler, n.d). The risk assessment stage for the identified crisis involves a thorough review of the potential consequences of the phenomenon. As research suggests, the damages caused by the crisis include food insecurity for millions of people across the globe (Noiret, 2016). The assessment stage of the risk crisis is critical because outcomes of the review equip policymakers with the knowledge of the approaches to address the catastrophe.

After the assessment, the crisis enters the response and management stage. Notably, the main activity in the response stage is the communication of plans that the involved risk management personnel are putting in place to mitigate the crisis. For example, as a depiction of the response stage, governments, through their spokespeople, can communicate about their national climate change plans (Guterres, 2019). After the response, the crisis proceeds to the management stage, where administrators accept the obligation to manage activities that contribute to the crisis. Notably, climate change and its impact on agriculture appear to be on the management stage because most governments possess drafts of policies they have implemented and those underway in controlling climate change.

The ultimate stage of the crisis involves a resolution. In this phase, information on the recommendation of the crisis is communicated to the impacted individuals (Chandler, n.d). For instance, the resolution stage of the identified crisis would involve the dissemination of alerts about a return to normalcy of the global climate. Given that climate change is still prevalent, it is clear that the crisis is yet to reach the resolution stage.

The response of the Global Community to the Phenomenon

Multiple response mechanisms, including mitigation strategies, are available for use by the global community to eradicate climate change and its significant effects on the farming industry. As scholars suggest, the world should respond to the crisis through mitigation actions, which involve “anthropogenic interventions or policies aimed towards reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or enhancing the sinks for GHGs (Elum, Modise & Marr, p. 246). Notably, policymakers across the globe should develop regulatory requirements to curb human practices that facilitate the emission of greenhouse gases. For instance, governments should establish stringent policies on the maximum level of short-lived pollutants that factories can emit into the atmosphere to combat the emission of large volumes of toxic gases, such as carbon and methane, which destroy the ozone layer and cause climate change. Although climate change in its current state may be irreversible, mitigation strategies such as government policies on GHG emissions may control pollution and minimize its adverse effects on the farming industry.

While Aland can also respond to the crisis through mitigation strategies, it would be more useful for the country to complement the approach with adaptation responses. Unlike mitigation, adaptation entails establishing favorable adjustments in response to climate change (Elum, Modise & Marr, 2017). Like other nations, Aland experiences climate changes and global warming due to intensive agricultural practices, which account for the cold climate in the area (“Factsheet on 2014-2020,” n.d). Hence, an adaptation approach in Aland would entail the identification of alternative ways in which the farming industry can be sustained amidst the ongoing and expected changes in weather patterns.

Aland should integrate climate-smart agricultural practices as an adaptive response to the global crisis. Farmers should be trained on methods that enhance agrarian production while keeping GHG emissions in check. Among climate-smart agricultural practices that the country should adopt may include planting a variety of crops, changing planting dates, soil conservation, irrigation, and tree cultivation (Elum, Modise & Marr, 2017). Notably, since Aland’s climate is cold and the soil is thin, the government should encourage farmers to plant a variety of crops to boost soil fertility. Besides, planting various crops may sustain food security amidst climate change by preventing food shortages if agricultural products that require warm temperatures die.

Conclusion

Based on findings from the above study, it is evident that the negative impact of climate change on the farming industry qualifies as a global crisis, which requires more in-depth assessment to evaluate its effects and develop potential crisis management measures. In particular, the phenomenon meets all three characteristics of a crisis, including threat, uncertainty, and pressure. In addition, the research reveals that while climate change may positively impact the farming industry, it is also associated with multiple adversities, such as extremely high temperatures and precipitation, which can affect agricultural production and ultimately lead to food insecurity. Besides, results from the study provide resourceful insights into the stages of crisis the phenomenon, including warning, risk assessment, response, management, and resolution. Considering that the adverse effects of climate change are a global crisis, the situation should be addressed from a global community and national perspective. Governments should respond to the phenomenon through a mitigation approach by implementing and enforcing policies to combat environmental pollution. Similarly, countries such as Aland should respond to the crisis through an adaptation strategy, which entails embracing climate-smart agricultural practices.

 

References

‘The dual aspect of climate change emissions and food production” (N.d). Climate Change. Retrieved from http://www.climatechange-foodsecurity.org/science.html

“Factsheet on 2014-2020 rural development programme for Aland islands Finland” (N.d). European Commission. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/food-farming-fisheries/key_policies/documents/rdp-factsheet-finland-aland_en.pdf

“Global climate in 2015-2019: Climate change accelerates” (2019, September 22). World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved from https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/global-climate-2015-2019-climate-change-accelerates

Chandler, R. (N.d). The six stages of a crisis. Everbridge. Retrieved from http://go.everbridge.com/rs/everbridge/images/Whitepaper_SixStagesofaCrisis-Stage5.pdf

Elum, Z., Modise, D., & Marr, A. (2017). Farmer’s perception of climate change and responsive strategies in three selected provinces in South Africa. Climate Risk Management, 16(1), 246-257.

Guterres, A. (2019). WMO statement on the state of the global climate in 2018. WMO. Retrieved from https://library.wmo.int/doc_num.php?explnum_id=5789

Kalbassi, C. (2016). Identifying crisis threats: A partial synthesis of the literature on crisis threat assessment with relevance to public administrations. Journal of Risk Analysis and Crisis Response, 6(3), 110-121.

Kuzmanova, M. (2016). Contemporary problems related to crisis management of organizations. Trakia Journal of Sciences, 14(3), 256-261.

Mikusova, M., & Horvathova, P. (2019). Prepared for a crisis? Basic elements of crisis management in an organization. Economic Research, 32(1), 1844-1868.

Noiret, B. (2016). Food security in a changing climate: A plea for ambitious action and inclusive development. Development, 59(1), 237-242.

Penuel, B., Statler, M., & Hagen, R. (2013). Encyclopedia of crisis management (Vol. 1). Sage.

Thorton, P., Dinesh, D., Cramer, L., Loboguerrero, A., & Campbell, B. (2018). Agriculture in a changing climate: Keeping our cool in the face of the hothouse. Outlook on Agriculture, 47(4), 283-290.

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