For many Christians—who have cared for “the least of these” by supporting Christian relief and development organizations in their efforts to fight hunger, disease, natural disasters, and poverty—it is disconcerting to discover that these efforts may be insidiously reversed by the climate-changing pollution coming out of our vehicles, factories, and power plants. Most of us have grown up thinking of pollution as a local or perhaps regional problem, not a global one. We haven’t seen a connection between emissions coming out of cars in Kansas City and, for example, hunger in Africa.
But climate change is a natural disaster intensifier. It makes floods fiercer, hurricanes harsher, and droughts dryer. The world certainly doesn’t need more natural-disaster victims such as the father who, during the 2005 Niger famine, was found with his family hundreds of miles from the nearest feeding station: “I’m wandering like a madman. I’m afraid we’ll all starve.”
According to recent scientific studies, here are some of the possible consequences of global warming in the forthcoming decades: