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Achieving timely adaptation to climate change, however, may be the most difficult for poorer countries. Ironically, although developing countries contribute the least to global warming, they are expected to face the biggest global warming problems with the fewest financial and technical resources for combating these problems. While people in the United States and other industrialized nations will be affected by global warming in many ways, developing countries tend to be located in less temperate parts of the world where higher temperatures are expected to cause more dramatic environmental changes. As UN intern Sana Aftab Khan explains: "Reduced rainfall and prolonged droughts [in developing regions] could lead to dwindling water supplies, while

Bangladesh, a low-lying country, has been subjected to massive flooding and mudslides in the last decade that many people believe to be a result of global warming. Here, Bangladeshi villagers carry the body of a mudslide victim in 2007.

Bangladesh, a low-lying country, has been subjected to massive flooding and mudslides in the last decade that many people believe to be a result of global warming. Here, Bangladeshi villagers carry the body of a mudslide victim in 2007.

subsistence agriculture, on which these countries depend heavily, will be damaged by increased tropical cyclones, droughts and loss of soil fertility. Coastal flooding, droughts and diseases could also force many people out of their homes."45 Also, poorer countries are less able to devote funds to infrastructure and other projects to protect against extreme weather or recover from disasters that could be caused by global warming. Americans thus might have to drive a smaller car or pay more for water or food, but people in poor countries may lose their homes, their jobs, their food and water, or their very lives.

Bangladesh, for example, is a poor, low-lying country of 140 million people that has already experienced higher-than-normal flooding in the last decade caused by rising sea levels believed to be a result of global warming. According to retired national meteorologist M.H. Khan Chowdhury, "On an average, river erosion takes away about [19,000 acres] of land every year . . . [and] about one million people are directly or indirectly affected by river-bank erosion every year in Bangladesh."46 If sea levels rise as much as expected if no action is taken to mitigate global warming, experts predict that rising waters will cover more than 15 percent of the country, displacing more than 13 million people and seriously damaging the nation's rice fields, which provide much of its food. Today, Bangladesh is trying to raise roads, wells, and houses to higher levels and cope with rising seas but is having great difficulty doing so because of meager resources.

Time for People to Adapt

"Climate change is here and now. . . . We have to adapt." —Ian Noble, senior climate-change specialist at the World Bank, an international organization that provides aid to developing nations.

Quoted in Peter N. Spotts, "Time to Begin 'Adapting' to Climate Change?" Christian Science Monitor, February 13, 2007.

Meanwhile, in the semi-arid region of Africa south of the Sahara Desert, reduced rainfall may put food and water at risk and threaten the existence of people and animals alike. As Paul

Desanker, codirector of the Centre for African Development Solutions, warned: "If carbon pollution is left unchecked, climate change will have a pervasive effect on life in Africa. . . . It will threaten the people, animals and natural resources that make Africa unique."47 Global warming could also lead to much higher rates of disease in developing parts of the world that are already struggling to contain a variety of epidemics.

Because of the unequal burden of climate change, the IPCC has urged developed nations to help the developing world cope with the changes that will be brought by global warming. In most cases, this will mean providing financial assistance to poor countries to enable them to pay for such things as flood protection, food, and aid for those who suffer damage from weather disasters.

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Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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