Floods, fires and false widow spiders: is climate change to blame?

Scientists say climate change behind increasing amounts of chaos across the world

There are still naysayers who dismiss climate change as a fantasy but with 95% of scientists suggesting it is a very real phenomenon caused by human activity, the list of concerns caused by climate change continues to grow. Australia is being ravaged by increasingly ferocious bushfires, many parts of the world are being hit by increased flooding due to severe weather and even a British school has had to shut its doors to pupils over fears that it had become infested with false widow spiders.

The figures can be alarming and many still seem keen to ignore the threat of climate change. It is easy to dismiss it as a problem for tomorrow's world or a non-existent scheme cooked up by governments and crackpots in order to make some money but all the signs suggest global warming is occurring, weather is getting worse and there are likely to be many dire consequences if we do not act fast to stop and reverse the damage we are doing.

Flooding

Not only does flooding occur due to the increases in severe weather many parts of the world have been experiencing but also flooding of coastal areas will be a huge problem in the not too distant future if sea levels continue to rise. One report states that 'by 2040, 25 percent of Stockton will be underwater at high tide. By 2060, the same will be true of Sacramento, California's state capitol.' Americans that are so dependent on climate change causing fuels could end up underwater if they do not do more to tackle the threat. The UK Environment Agency have more grim news, suggesting that '2.3 million homes and 185,000 businesses are at risk of flooding in England and Wales'. Defences and moving will not solve the problem. We must look at the causes of increased flooding.

Australian Bushfires

Meanwhile Australia seems to be just about getting its latest bout of bushfires under control after mass destruction caused by extremely hot and dry temperatures. It is not even Australian summer yet and though the new Prime Minister Tony Abbott vehemently denies any links with climate change, experts argue otherwise. While bushfires have always been a problem in a country like Australia, the scientific community argue that things will only get worse as the temperatures continue to get more extreme due to climate change.

False widow spiders

Perhaps not in the same league as wildfires and flooding but the venomous false widow spiders that appear to be growing in numbers are likely spreading more due to global warming affecting the UK. The Dean Academy secondary school in Gloucestershire had pest control experts brought in to exterminate false widow spiders that can cause severe swelling and chest pains. They may not have killed anybody yet and many would argue they are no more dangerous than wasps, but increasing numbers of spiders can only be good for bird life and not very pleasant for those with arachnophobia who thought they were at least living in a country free of venomous spiders. The growing populations of these spiders are just another indication of how we are affecting the climate and the ecology across the world.

Hopefully it will not take much more to convince climate change sceptics that something needs to be done fast.

Where do you stand on the climate change debate?

Pete is a regular contributor to Yahoo on a range of topics from technology to television.

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