Production and consumption of energy is the single largest source of global greenhouse gas emissions. But the risks associated with climate change are not just related to emissions from energy consumption. Global climate change also has the ability to affect the sustainability and operations of national and regional energy sectors.
As climate variability increases, so will its potential to impact conflict and governance. Climate change will act as a “threat multiplier,” straining public resources, aggravating fragile situations, and potentially leading to violent conflict. Countries with weak governments will be particularly at risk, as governments may become overburdened by efforts to absorb the stresses and shocks associated with climate change.
Climate, weather, and water-related (hydrometeorological) disasters, such as cyclones, droughts, and floods, account for the largest number of natural disasters recorded worldwide and affect more people than any other type of natural hazard.
Higher temperatures, changes in daytime and nighttime temperatures, and shifts in seasons and precipitation patterns can all have a significant impact on agriculture and food security. Direct impacts on agriculture can include less fertile soil, more or different crop pests and livestock diseases, changes in fish stock, and reduced yields.
The world’s natural capital -- water, land, forests, soil, wildlife, and fisheries -- safeguards and underpins the health and well-being of billions of people. In low-income countries, in particular, populations rely on these resources for half of all wealth.
Countries around the world are contending with a wide range of climate impacts, from more intense heat waves, droughts, storms and floods to slower-moving changes like sea level rise and ocean acidification. Climate variability and trends have profound impacts across sectors that undermine current and future progress towards development goals, such as food security, improved health and biodiversity, and economic growth.
Women and girls are subject to a disproportionate amount of risk from climate-related natural disasters. Risks during and following natural disasters are often higher for women and girls due to social norms, breakdowns in law and order, and disrupted livelihoods.
USAID infrastructure investments range from small-scale projects, such as community water tanks, to large power plants and water treatment facilities. USAID also makes direct infrastructure investments in schools, hospitals, health clinics, and other public buildings, as well as rural farm-to-market roads, trunk roads, and bridges.
USAID has partnered with more than 24 countries to help reduce their vulnerability to weather and climate risks. Through technical assistance, USAID supports countries and communities to build their capacity to independently predict and prepare for climate variability and change so they can effectively deal with associated stresses and minimize losses and disruption.
Conservation, restoration, and management of biodiversity and natural resources can improve their resilience and help countries and communities respond to climate variability and long-term climate change, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Ecosystem-based adaptation and climate mitigation actions like land use planning and sustainable forest management can also help conserve biodiverse ecosystems.
Climate impacts can impede economic development and undermine a country’s self-reliance. For developing countries whose economies largely depend on natural resources, shifts in climate are potentially devastating.
Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health such as clean air, water, food, shelter, and security. Rising temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, extreme weather, and sea level rise can result in human exposure to extreme heat, disease, reduced food and water quality, poor air quality, and environmental degradation.
Cities around the world are facing daunting challenges from more frequent and intense weather events and a more variable climate. As populations and city boundaries grow, these changes in climate will make it more difficult for cities to provide reliable services and adequate infrastructure to residents.
Human well-being and sustainable development are underpinned by well-managed lands and natural resources. Thus, Sustainable Landscapes programs focus on places where forest carbon storage is high and where risk of deforestation may be great.