Environmental Issues Research Paper

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Cultural beliefs and the environment, social construction and the environment, social construction and social movements, political economy and the environment, environmental issues: method and application, risk perception and environmental health, mobilization around toxic waste sites: love canal.

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Environmental issues can be discussed within a number of different contexts. For anthropology and sociology, culture and society become important factors in understanding environmental issues. By incorporating a perspective that includes environmental history, aspects of environmental change, dialogue and culture, and future concerns, a more complete understanding of the relationship between sociocultural actions and the natural environment can be developed. In an effort to understand the nature of environmental problems, one must develop an understanding of the cultural paradigms that guide human behavior and interaction with the natural environment. Many perspectives seek to explain this relationship. Social scientists look toward dialogue and cultural perspectives to trace the history of environmental concern.

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Historically, humans have understood their role to be one of dominion over nature. This is explained in numerous classic works and referenced in many religious and spiritual texts as well (Bell, 2008; Dunlap & Mertig, 1992). Cultural paradigms exist that serve to guide our interactions with the environment. Most stem from the anthropocentric belief that the world is centered around people and that human society has the right to maintain dominion over nature. Structural beliefs provide the foundation of these understandings.

The belief that a free market system provides the greatest good for the greatest number of people leads us to place economic decision-making processes in private hands. Frequently, private decisions have public consequences, but these public consequences are not accounted for in production costs or covered by market costs. Instead, the costs are passed on to consumers in the form of taxes and higher base prices for goods and services. Esteemed environmentalists Al Gore Jr. and Robert Kennedy Jr. have argued that if the external costs of production were assumed by manufacturers, then the ultimate benefit would be a system that accounted for waste created in the production process. This is evident in their research on global warming. Coal-fired power plants are promoted as one of the cheapest forms of creating energy. This is misleading, because the health effects of pollution caused by coal are not included in the costs of production. Others argue that those costs would have to be passed on to the consumer. However, they are passed on now in the way of pollution and medical expenses for illnesses associated with environmental contaminants. Coal is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases, thus leading to the overall societal costs of global warming.

Another cultural belief is that the natural world is inexhaustible. Extraction of natural resources happens at an incredible rate without a consideration to limits. Society’s constant dependence on nonrenewable energy forces mining and the refining of coal and oil to keep up with these demands. Consumer goods are deliberately planned to become obsolete within a relatively short time, and consumers are pressured to buy replacements. This process has been conceptualized in research focused on the treadmill of production. Production and utility processes, using natural resources, dominate the modes of production. The reliance on the treadmill model provides perpetual extraction and production, increasing the fragility of the natural environment.

Another cultural value resides in a lasting faith in technology. Culturally, we believe that technology can meet any challenge. Humans are seen as ingenious creatures able to devise solutions for any problem. However, technology itself is not sufficiently controlled and can create more problems that contribute to environmental degradation. This can lead to a situation known as culture lag, used here to describe a situation in which technology has outpaced the cultural ability to respond to the consequences of using a given technology.

The philosophy of the growth ethic argues that growth equals progress. Successful cultures are often defined by their levels of progress. Urban sprawl exemplifies the connection between progress and environmental destruction. Urban ecologists argue urban sprawl follows the concentric circle urban planning mode of the early 20th century. Residents were encouraged to develop space for residential purposes further away from city centers. This was culturally promoted as prime real estate, and individuals continued to purchase land as a showing of class standing. Urban sprawl results in the loss of green and open space, increased use of natural resources, and more vehicle miles traveled as commuting distance continues to increase.

Materialism is a cultural value that also contributes to how environmental problems emerge. Americans tend to measure success in terms of the consumption of material things. Globally, the most valued nation is one that can command and use the largest fraction of the world’s resources. Currently, the United States supports 5% of the world’s population and uses 25% of the world’s natural resources. This is evidence that the cultural emphasis on the consumption of material goods is in direct correlation with natural resource use.

Two final cultural values that impact environmental practices are individualism and an anthropocentric worldview. Cultures that emphasize individual rights and personal achievements tend to have a greater environmental impact. We place benefits to the self over what is best for the collective. Subsequently, the anthropocentric worldview is centered around human beings, thus inferring that human begins are superior to other beings and have natural rights to use the environment to ensure the progress of human beings as a species.

Subsequently, these cultural beliefs form the principles that overwhelmingly guide cultural interactions with nature. Theoretically, they serve as paradigms that explain the emergence of environmental issues. The following section provides specific theoretical underpinnings of environmental issues.

Theory and the Environment

Theory addressing environmental issues has been situated in the social constructionist and political economy approaches. Within these approaches, attention has been paid to developments of subfields in social science research, such as social movements and the environment, environmental health, and environmental justice.

Social constructionists focus on the construction of social problems and how this allows individuals to assign meaning and give importance to the social world. Sarbin and Kitsuse argued that “things are not given in the world, but constructed and negotiated by humans to make sense of the world” (1994, p. 3). When interests are at stake, claims are made around an activity in order to define the interests as problems. The process of claims making is more important than the task of assessing whether the claims are true (Hannigan, 1995).

Hannigan provides a three-step process for the construction of environmental problems: assembling, presenting, and contesting. He argues that each step develops the claimsmaking activities of environmental activists and antagonists. Environmental problems are different from other social problems, because claims are often based on physical, chemical, or biological scientific evidence (Hannigan, 1995). In nearly all cases of environmental problems, even though such problems are based on scientific evidence, the burden of proof falls on the claims-makers, the environmental actors.

When a claim about an environmental problem is presented, state and corporate actors emerge most often to challenge the validity of these problems. Although these actors are willing to construct the issue as a “problem,” support to alleviate the problem is often lacking. If it supports the alleviation of the problem, most probably through funding remedial efforts or research, the state or corporation is seen as taking responsibility for the problem. If the state is seen as responsible, its perceived legitimacy decreases, which may lead to decreased trust. On the other hand, if a problem is not acknowledged, then trust in government may also decrease, because the perception arises that the interests of the state are not the best for the people.

The power of individuals in roles and positions to define these claims is ultimately what allows problems to be defined as problems. Claims may be made by others not in a position of power, but they are often not seen as valid because of the lack of power associated with the role. Different claims of environmental problems then lead to different definitions of the problems.

Definitions of problems are framed to illustrate specific viewpoints of what the problem is. Goffman used the term frame in order to explain interpretations of occurrences. Frames can serve as explanations or guideposts to individual or collective action (Snow & Benford, 1988). Snow and Benford describe framing as an activity performed by social movements to express their viewpoints and “to assign meaning to and interpret relevant events and conditions in ways that are intended to mobilize potential adherents and constituents—to garner bystander support and demobilize antagonists” (p. 198).

By framing events in certain ways that assign meaning to them, actors can attempt to mobilize support and delegitimize opposing viewpoints. Because different frames may emerge surrounding the same problem, individuals may choose to adopt one or the other on the basis of the reliability of the frames. One factor in determining reliability is trust in the actors who present the frame. Constituents may mobilize around one frame because trust in that explanation and the organization that presents it is high (Robinson, 2009). This impacts how individuals interpret the seriousness of environmental problems and subsequently whether issues will be acted on and in what manner.

The framing process can serve to mobilize constituents for or against a particular cause. Mobilization against frames that are presented by actors emerges when the audience of the frame has low trust in the source of the frame. Social movement literature has acknowledged the emergence of mobilization over environmental issues where lack of trust is present. Examples include institutional recreancy, lack of trust in government agencies and officials, and the combination of the two (Brown & Mikkelsen, 1990; Cable & Cable, 1997; Freudenburg, 1993; Gaventa, 1980; Gibbs, 1982).

Charles Tilly provides a model for mobilization that bridges some of the ideological views of frame analysis with collective action and resource mobilization theory. Tilly’s (1978) definition of mobilization is “a process by which a group goes from a passive collection of individuals to an active participant in public life” (p. 69). A further extreme of this model is resource mobilization theory, which gives even less importance to ideological factors and, instead, emphasizes the need for available resources. The combination of ideologies, resources, and the power of frame presentation contribute to mobilization. Using this analytical framework, the emergence of environmental problems and mobilization around these problems can be better understood.

Environmental problems in communities provide a setting to further explore this connection. Community organizing around local problems has a long history in the United States. Many forms of community organizing exist. These have included writing and literacy circle newsletters in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Saul Alinsky’s model of radical politics to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people (1971), and neighborhood block clubs. The goals to spread awareness, ensure social justice, and understand that city hall can be fought vary in scope and magnitude but have often proved to be effective models for organizing.

Citizen action in response to toxic waste at Love Canal has emerged as the premier example of community organizing over environmental issues. The story of neighborhood organizing and the quest for a clean, healthy environment is acknowledged in most major studies on environmental issues. The specifics of this case follow in a later section where the application of environmental issues is discussed.

Theories of political economy of environmental issues focus on the development of political and economic practices and policies that contribute to environmental problems. Primarily, the focus has been on the creation of the capitalist mode of production that leads to overwhelming environmental destruction. Furthermore, the development of capitalism promotes a political environment that is friendly to more profitable, but less environmentally friendly, practices.

In addition to physical environmental realities that production processes cause, issues of health and economic injustice exist. Bryant and Mohai (1992) asked whether a safe environment is a civil right. They argue that people of color see environmental degradation interrelated with economic and political justice. This is the fundamental idea behind environmental justice in both action and theory. Another issue in environmental justice arises because people of color and lower income are less likely to have access to health insurance; thus, they become more ill if exposed to environmental hazards without means of treatment. Therefore, these populations share more of the negative environmental burden and have fewer resources to resolve the given problems.

The connection between health and economic justice is not a new relationship. Since World War II, there has been an increase in the development of the petrochemical industry. Coinciding with an increased demand for synthetic chemicals was an increased demand for disposal sites for waste byproducts of these chemicals. Many disposal sites were created in vacant plots of land, without the regulated disposal standards in place today. Expensive land used for the disposal sites of the 1940s and 1950s became the residential suburban developments of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. With the post–World War II increase in population, many families were moving into suburban neighborhoods. Families felt safe from the problems of the cities, but they were not aware that many residential properties were built near the abandoned chemical waste sites of prior decades.

The problems of environmental contamination were first addressed publicly in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962). Her warning of chemical contaminants silencing biological life was not heeded at the time her book was published. These issues were not addressed until the 1970s with the first Earth Day in 1970, followed by the passing of numerous pieces of environmental protection legislation and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Through this period of uncertainty, unclear scientific findings overwhelmed policymakers and the public, leading to confusion about how to develop environmental policies and actions.

Environmental problems have manifested most directly in the form of pollution. Evidence of environmental destruction is seen in the form of air, water, and land pollution that has a direct impact on the health of the human population. One of the most direct links between pollution and negative health effects has been identified since the creation of the petrochemical industry in the 1940s. Since this time, we have seen more cases of cancer and respiratory illness in the human population. The rate remains high even when controlling for mitigating factors, such as the effects of advanced medical technology in treating these illnesses, and lifestyle factors, such as diet and smoking. This case was made with the infamous discovery of toxic waste at Love Canal, New York, in 1978.

Literature in this area addresses the possible effects of exposure to toxins on one’s health. However, few studies have provided irrefutable evidence supporting the research hypothesis (association exists) or the null hypothesis (no association exists). Scientists know that chemicals can have adverse effects on the human condition when ingested, but they argue that some indirect exposures through air, soil, water, or residential habitation in proximity to such toxins have not provided similar consequences. The basic disagreement emerges in how one views risk, either through the precautionary principle or through risk assessment and evaluation. Proponents of the precautionary principle argue that if the chance of danger is present, then precaution should be used to avoid exposure. Risk assessment would argue the opposite—that the risk must be known before action is taken to avoid exposure. The difficulty is that science has not provided irrefutable evidence on the dangers of many chemical substances; therefore action for their removal from products and the environment has been slow. Recently, Devra Davis took on this phenomenon in The Secret History of the War on Cancer (2008). She outlined the lack of scientific responsibility in reporting findings connecting cancer and chemical exposure.

Most reports have not described exposures accurately, or they have failed to completely identify a causal factor (National Research Council, 1991). The Committee on Environmental Epidemiology was formed to assess the progress on hazardous waste assessment since the creation of Superfund and the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry. The committee concluded that no conclusive reports could be used to base policy on, because there are no measures in place to accurately depict exposure assessments. Their conclusions continue: There exists no comprehensive inventory of waste sites, no site discovery program, no minimum data set on human exposures, and no policy for immediate action if exposure exists (National Research Council, 1991). The report indicates that “the nation is not adequately identifying, assessing, or ranking hazardous-waste site exposures and their potential effects on human health” (p. 21).

Environmental toxins have long been thought to be causally related to the incidence of disease. Air pollution, specifically with carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, has been studied in association with asthma and pulmonary disorders (Carnow, Lepper, Shekelle, & Stamler, 1969). Water pollution, particularly with trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene, sparked a concern about childhood and adult leukemia in Woburn, Massachusetts (Brown & Mikkelsen, 1990). Similarly, numerous studies have been conducted that investigate the exposure-ailment connection (Landrigan, 1990; Neutra, Lipscomb, Satin, & Shusterman, 1991; Paigen, Goldman, Mougnant, Highland, & Steegman, 1987). These studies use descriptive and case-control methods and field investigations consisting of surveys and physical examinations, resulting in quantitative analyses in order to test hypotheses.

Descriptive studies portray disease patterns in populations according to person, place, and time, and they include time-series analyses (National Research Council, 1991). For example, a study performed by the National Cancer Institute used maps of cancer incidences and toxic waste sites, concluding that the high incidence of bladder cancer in northwestern Illinois counties was significant and leading to the implementation of an incidence study using survey methods (National Research Council, 1991).

A cohort study was employed with North Carolina residents who consumed raw polluted river water contaminated by an industrial site from 1947 to 1976. Residents’ rates of all forms of cancer were more than twice those expected in the general population (National Research Council, 1991). Once exposure ceased, rates returned to the expected level, adjusting for latency.

The epidemiologic case-control study carried out in Woburn, Massachusetts, yielded an association between leukemia and drinking from contaminated wells. The EPA could not pinpoint the source of contamination; therefore, it could not infer conclusively that the cases of leukemia were due to the proximity of a hazardous waste site (Lagakos, Wessen, & Lelen, 1986).

Griffith, Duncan, Riggan, and Pellom (1989) analyzed EPA and cancer mortality data from 13 U.S. sites where there were major incidences of cancer between 1970 and 1979. They found evidence that contaminated ground water was used for human consumption at 593 waste sites in 339 U.S. counties in 49 states. Significant associations were found between several cancers and exposure to contaminated water in white males; these included cancers of the lung, bladder, esophagus, stomach, large intestine, and rectum (Griffith et al., 1989). Higher incidences of cancers of the lung, bladder, breast, stomach, large intestine, and rectum were found in white females in these counties (Griffith et al., 1989), when compared with females in counties that did not have hazardous waste sites. However, this study has been criticized based on its use of populationbased incidences of cancer rather than individual-level estimates. Researchers inferred that proximity to hazardous waste sites caused cancer.

Wong, Morgan, Whorton, Gordon, and Kheifets (1989) performed an ecologic and case-control analysis to evaluate whether there was an association between groundwater contamination with dibromochloropropane (DBCP) and mortality from gastric cancer and leukemia. The only positive association that was found was in farm workers. No relationship was found for gastric cancer or leukemia with DBCP contamination of drinking water.

Neutra et al. (1991) found that individuals living near toxic waste sites had one or more bothersome symptoms that those living in control areas did not have. However, rates of cancer and birth defects were not found to be statistically significantly different for these individuals than for those in the control neighborhoods. Symptoms such as worrying, depression, and nervousness were more likely to be the result of knowledge of the site and its contaminants than the result of chemical exposure. Although some practitioners argue that residents near these sites do show higher incidences of asthma and psychological disturbances than individuals in control groups, the findings remain highly controversial (Neutra et al., 1991).

For the most part, these studies consist of survey and field investigation methodologies, relying on self-report methods. One problem with explaining associations that rely on self-report methods is that if residents want to be relocated or have other agendas, then the degree to which symptoms are reported may increase. Many residents felt that this was what some homeowners were hoping for at Love Canal. This remains one of the most critical problems with state and federal agency studies that seek to provide evidence of community risk.

With the increase in studies in this area, the public has been partially reassured by having the knowledge that at least concerns are being recognized. Specifically, cancer rates are still high, but the fear of human-made chemicals has largely been dispelled. Most recently, the organic food movement has been gaining legitimacy. Yet, many still doubt the health benefits behind this movement. Studies concerning environmental racism have been more prevalent, focusing on the incidence of lower-income, nonwhite families living near toxic waste sites. This focus has taken attention away from specific health problems. Instead, the focus has been on issues of political economy and equity. This is not a criticism of environmental justice but rather a call for the convergence of natural science and sociology in order to address both issues. Other variables to be considered in these studies may include racial composition of counties, social class of counties, concentration of low-income occupations in counties, new housing starts in counties, and the percentage of welfare recipients per county.

The uncertainty of science had created cross-discipline dialogue. Social scientists have addressed environmental issues in studies of risk assessment, disaster relief (both natural and technological), toxic exposure, and other datadriven areas. Because of the risk of chemical exposure due to toxic waste, landfills emerged as one of the most imminent public health threats with the discovery of Love Canal. However, even in cases where studies to show an association between illness and exposure to toxic chemicals have been inconclusive, the message has been that these chemicals cause cancer and needed to be eradicated.

An important role of science is to inform the public of findings, usually through the media. Epidemiologic studies deal with human populations and are often questioned based on the legitimacy of the data and the willingness of the agency or corporation funding the research to share findings with the public. These studies are also usually based on relatively small populations and a small number of events; this results in a lack of significant findings, because sample sizes are too small to generate statistically reliable conclusions. Researchers are asked to report conclusions to various interest groups that may have a stake in the research problem. The pressure of the public arena and media, with emerging concerns and consequences for public health and the environment, has led to a decrease in the willingness to share data and be criticized if the data do not fit the public agenda. Politics and public perception surpass what science is able to provide. Science’s inability to prove negatives has led to public policy that tries to control what cannot be established. This uncertainty shapes policy to err on the side of protection; yet in many communities the risks are endured regardless.

Findings often snowball into hard line conclusions and the perception of a problem when one may not exist, or vice versa. Risk perception and the realization of risks are two different things. Risk perception may encompass what one believes might occur or an understanding based on secondary information. Risk realization occurs when one is physically affected by the agent or situation and a decision to act is based on that encounter. The problem arises in this discrepancy. Perception is what people perceive to be happening. With different information from different scientific experts, the public is left to decide on their own who or what is right, based on the health and well-being of themselves and their families.

Freudenburg (1993) discussed the concept of risk and recreancy in public decision making. He argues that an increase in institutional responsibility for risk management has created a system where responsibilities are often overlooked. This concept proposes increased frequency in institutional decision making in risk analysis. Freudenburg (1993) coined the term recreancy to identify the institutional failure to follow through on a duty or responsibility or broadly expected obligations to the collective. Questions are now raised by individuals deciphering scientific studies for themselves, but they now question the role of institutional actors. Without correlational data from an alternative institutional source that they trust, citizens do not know where to turn for clear answers about data regarding environmental toxins.

Community-based studies by community organizers have emerged in an attempt to address the failure of institutions to provide real, understandable answers regarding human health and exposure rates. Specifically, recent literature calls for more involvement of the scientific community in the decision-making process. A resurgence of popular epidemiology, since Lois Gibbs’s attempt in 1978– 1979, has found individuals using lay methods to determine association. Even if they don’t result in strong, scientific evidence, community-based studies at least provide the groundwork and show a need for more in-depth studies. Brown and Mikkelsen’s 1990 study is a strong example of this method. The question of whether there was a connection between childhood leukemia and known contaminated well water divided the community, but it forced epidemiologic studies.

Coinciding with these revelations, other studies were being conducted that attempted to link other contaminated sites with adverse health effects. As Gots (1993) stated, most were laboratory studies in simulated environments. Examples of human studies existed only in the sociological and epidemiological literature (Brown & Mikkelsen, 1990; Gibbs, 1982; Landrigan, 1990; Neutra et al., 1991). Incidences of chemical scares were also prevalent. Headlines concerning the dioxin scare at Times Beach, Missouri; contamination of apple crops with the synthetic growth regulator Alar; and use of Agent Orange created the fear that human-made chemicals cause disease. Evidence existed that these specific chemicals may cause health problems in humans, but data on the incidence of illness relative to exposure and on synergistic effects of these chemicals were missing. Furthermore, there was even less information available about other potential threats to health, such as airborne and waterborne contaminants, environmental sensitivity disorders, and living in proximity to hazardous waste sites. To establish a causal relationship between exposure and chemicals, obtaining valid measures and estimates for exposure is essential.

Environmental Movements

Contaminated Communities; The Challenge of Social Control; Environmental Problems as Conflicts of Interests; Disasters, Collective Behavior, and Social Organization; Love Canal: Science, Politics, People, and Power; and Powerlessness are just a few of the book titles that describe the scope and emergence of the mobilization surrounding environmental problems. Since the publication of Silent Spring, the struggle to define, understand, and resolve environmental problems has inundated environmental literature as well as the agendas of environmental organizations at both the national and local levels.

The environmental movement in the United States can be traced back to the early conservationists at the turn of the 20th century, whose focus was on control of natural resources for technological and societal use. Accompanying this was a movement toward the preservation of the natural environment simply for nature’s sake and separate from any use and/or value that human society had placed upon it.

The contemporary environmental movement embraced both of these traditions while focusing on building a political alliance to ensure the passage of legislation that would protect both nature and human health. As evidenced by the multitude of legislative victories the environmental movement claimed during the 1970s, the environmental movement was gaining prominence as one of the most successful efforts of social movement organizers.

Politically, momentum began to shift back toward the wise-use movement throughout the 1980s. Environmental problems were framed in opposition to capitalist goals. Politicians took an either/or stance: jobs or the environment. With one’s economic livelihood seemingly at stake, it is no wonder that concern for the environment was diminished in the public agenda. The environmental health movement is arguably one area that continued to keep environmental issues in the public’s consciousness. One of the classic and influential cases in environmental organizing, Love Canal, illustrates the interconnectedness of politics, science, and the environment.

To understand the factors contributing to the emergence, awareness, and mobilization around environmental problems, the scope and focus of the problem must be considered. This analysis focuses on the emergence of and mobilization around toxic waste sites found in residential communities. Literature addressing toxic waste sites in communities place Love Canal, New York, as the first community to encounter such a problem that received national media attention. Although community protests were occurring around the toxics issue as early as 1970, no other site received the same degree of national media attention (Szasz, 1994).

In 1978, Love Canal was declared a federal disaster area, but the final homeowner evacuation was voluntary, not mandatory, even though the state had said a health emergency may exist. Given the possibility of ill-health effects, residents were given the choice about whether to stay or move. Because of the lack of strong correlational evidence, public health officials were not able to substantiate a link between exposure to chemicals and disease (Robinson, 2002).

The questionable contaminated area was evacuated and became known as the Emergency Declaration Area (EDA). It was divided into seven sampling areas. Two studies were performed to assess the habitability and safety of the area. The first study was completed in 1982 by the New York State Department of Health (DOH), the EPA, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Problems arose about the study’s conclusion, which was that the EDA was as habitable as comparable control areas. The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment found that the study lacked information to determine whether unsafe levels of contamination existed and that it did not make clear what next steps should be taken. Thereafter, DOH and EPA conducted a second study on habitability; it was released in 1988. Habitability and safety have been studied in regard to numerous hazardous waste sites, but actual rates of illness have not been linked to exposure to toxic substances from nearby chemical waste sites.

The Superfund Act, passed in 1980, was written specifically in response to the known hazardous waste site at Love Canal. Policymakers recognized that industry used land-based disposal methods, that industrial sites were contaminated, and that an increase in clean air and water standards led to a decrease in land-based regulated disposal (Barnett, 1994). The problem was that there was neither an informed way of counting or tracking these sites, nor evidence of an adverse ecosystem and human effects (Barnett, 1994).

Since Love Canal, no other neighborhood has received the same degree of attention, although many have encountered toxic waste contaminants in their communities (Brown & Mikkelsen, 1990; Bryant & Mohai, 1992; Cable, Walsh, & Warland, 1988). No conclusive, significant correlation between chemicals and cancer has been found at Love Canal or at the other identified exposure sites. Nor has any truly verifiable evidence been found that exposure to, and living near, any other toxic waste site causes disease, though disorders have been loosely associated with chemical exposure, such as asthma, respiratory disease, nerve damage, miscarriages, and cancer.

People living near these sites must often decide on how much they want to expose themselves to risk. Once the presence of a waste site is known, they must decide, without data to guide their decisions, whether to stay in their homes or leave. This has historically interfered with the availability and collection of valid data. When a study is conducted, residents request to be informed of the results and progress of the study. Because most epidemiological studies require longitudinal or cohort analysis in order to be reliable and valid, it is advantageous to have a stable, nonmobile population. This begs ethical questions, on behalf of the researchers, to disclose data relating to exposure before the study is completed. Researchers cannot both verify exposure findings and expect residents to remain so that they can carry out the remainder of the study. Thus, individuals, families, and communities are asked to base their decisions on claims that cannot be substantiated one way or the other.

Toxic waste sites continue to be discovered in communities. In many cases, the resulting community struggles are extended battles. The operative phrase in many cases is “once a site is discovered.” The chemicals in Love Canal were buried 30 years before it was known to the community that their houses, school, and playground were built on top of and surrounding a chemical site containing 22,000 tons of waste. This is not to say that the problem didn’t exist before its discovery by residents; it just wasn’t defined as a problem. From the time the chemicals were buried to the discovery of the site by residents 30 years later, residents noticed dogs with burned noses, children with skin rashes, and increased rates of miscarriages, leukemia, and nerve and respiratory disorders. But they were not aware that these rates were out of the ordinary. The effects of the problem did not change, but the way the problem was represented did. The shift was in an awareness of the existence of the problem.

In addition to the chemical disaster at Love Canal, other environmental issues have been the subject of various social movement activities, as well as political legislation. In each instance, public perception influences how and whether the problem is acted on by those with the power to make a difference.

Culturally and socially, environmental problems represent problems of social organization, communication, and socialization. Social scientists can look toward the phenomenon, visible in the reaction to environmental problems, to begin making sense of culture and society at large. Our understanding of environmental issues as primarily social constructions offers insight into how these issues are created, maintained, and resolved.

For example, in many cases where chemical contamination is the focal issue of community groups, the level of risk is perceived by affected individuals rather than established by science. It is the social processes in a community that lead to risk determination, not the natural science interpretations of an issue. Individuals have been socialized to trust science for valid information. When the determination of risk is uncertain, individuals are left to determine the level of risk for themselves by other means. In most cases, this determination is made through contact with state or federal government officials, through collaboration with other community members, or through other sources of information, such as the media. This framework helps to explain disagreements over the seriousness of most environmental issues, from global climate change to mountain-top coal removal.

The subjective reality of environmental problems becomes visible in terms of how the issue is circulated in cultural discourse. Each stakeholder constructs different means of projecting information for public consumption. When presented in the media, the perception is that information is true and accurate. Most often the determination of risk takes place in the form of a public meeting. In this situation, public officials are in control of the meeting, drawing on public anticipation surrounding the specific issue and information to be released. At Love Canal, for example, officials kept the information to be discussed at the meeting private until the meeting in order to build anticipation and increase their power over the dissemination of information.

At both the cultural and social level, power is maintained through these exercises. Often, the state controls the dissemination of information that individuals perceive to be true and accurate. However, different modes of collaboration among community members can create a different means of risk determination. The sharing of common experiences among community residents can lead to a broader sense of mobilization. Once commonalties are recognized, residents begin to determine their own level of risk. Risk perception is based on the potential danger of a problem. The sources that individuals base their information and understanding on are numerous. Each source has developed a frame of events and information on which they base their version of reality. Whether from the media, science, the state, or local knowledge, such frames serve as a means to display a problem in terms of a specific group. Social movement development, in relation to the environment, offers a powerful tool for individuals looking to construct the frame of a given environmental reality.

The ways in which environmental realities have been constructed influences how they will be acted on socially, culturally, and politically. Cultural discourse then circulates in the public sphere and becomes normative. Environmental issues become part of the public dialogue. This dialogue serves to help develop an understanding about the factors that coalesce to create, maintain, and resolve social processes that influence environmental problems.

Community-level interaction is an interesting social space from which to witness environmental understanding. Community-based, environmental problems affect individuals in many ways. Some communities mobilize and form environmental organizations to address a specific problem. Others, with existing community organizations, add environmental problems to their agenda. Environmental problems can vary in scope, size, and duration.

Mobilization in these communities may occur due to individuals’ fear that nothing is being done to ensure the safety of their children and families. It may also occur on the basis of frustration and an inability to understand what and why this is happening in their community. In addition, community groups often mobilize as a result of a lack of trust in government. The mobilization of individuals to resist the state’s discourse challenges the power of the state. The level of trust in government is a key factor in determining the level of power the state can maintain during the presentation of its frame. For example, if trust in government is low, then a stronger frame needs to be developed to legitimize the government’s position. Government often emerges as the key stakeholder, as the actor that will have the power to create change.

Previous research addresses the state’s desire to maintain legitimacy at the same time that community groups seek to resist state discourse. Admitting that there is a problem shows that the state is capable of mistakes, and thus, the state’s legitimacy can be questioned and it is vulnerable. The goal in the rhetoric of the state is not to raise questions, thereby maintaining legitimacy.

Most environmental problems are categorized by place: global, local, or national. These categories are not mutually exclusive. For example, ozone depletion is a global problem because of the total atmospheric effects the ozone layer has on the biosphere from ultraviolet rays. Yet the problem can be seen as being local in an area where heavy smog is causing ozone depletion and high surface area ozone levels, such as in a highly urban area like Los Angeles.

Similarly, the discovery of toxic waste sites across the United States can be seen as a national problem. But in the specific communities where these sites are discovered, it is a local problem affecting individuals directly. The problem is no longer seen as away from them; it is now part of their community. This developing framework of environmental issues has helped individuals become aware of the multitude of impacts that these problems have. Social scientists have been able to develop an understanding of the environment that moves away from the depiction of the earth as something separate from human society, but, instead, the earth is a system with interrelated consequences and realities. One of the most vivid paradigm shifts has been the movement away from an anthropocentric worldview and toward an environmental worldview. This shift can be represented in the movement from the human environmental paradigm (HEP) to the new environmental paradigm (NEP).

Social scientists focus on this shift as a way to explain a cultural movement that has embraced a way of understanding the impact that society has on the environment. Arguably, once the NEP is part of the natural discourse of environmental issues, they become more easily recognized as problems that have risen from a system out of balance. This approach focuses on sustainable development and other modes of development that provide environmentally sensitive growth models. These efforts move toward a culture that is sensitive to a responsibility that ensures less devastating environmental impact in the future. As environmental sociologists and other environmental researchers seek answers for a sustainable society, we must consider the devastating impacts of our current modes of production. New modes of production that take into consideration innovative, green energy solutions will provide a stronger sustainable economy and environment for culture and society.


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Original research article, environmental degradation in terms of health expenditure, education and economic growth. evidence of novel approach.


  • 1 School of Sports Science and Physical Education, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China
  • 2 School of Management, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China

Physical education benefits health and the environment because the world takes long-term steps to stop environmental degradation and its effects. Therefore, the present study examined the impact of health expenditure, education, economic growth, and population on environmental degradation in seven emerging economies from 2000 to 2019. The cross-sectional dependency (CSD) reflected the panel nations’ CSD, whereas the second-generation panel unit root test confirmed all indicators’ stationarity at first difference. Thus, the second-generation cointegration approach identified a long-term equation among the CO 2 , health expenditure, education, economic growth and population. The long-run empirical estimations derived from the PFMLOS and PDOLS method emphasized that education increases the region’s environmental sustainability and decreases CO 2 emissions. Conversely, health expenditure, economic growth, and population increase CO 2 emissions and reduce environmental quality in the E-7 bloc. Moreover, our findings are resilient to alternative measures by AMG and CCEMG, which might help policymakers develop long- and short-term initiatives for environmental protection. The study suggests adopting physical education and physical health activities to curb environmental degradation in the panel region.

1 Introduction

Social policy concerns environmental protection, education, mental and physical health. People’s life has changed tremendously since COVID-19 began. Open spaces, restaurants, and sports facilities were closed to manage the infection. People were urged to stay home and maintain social distance, organizations were forced to reduce operating hours or lay off personnel, and educational institutions began offering online courses. Physical inactivity is a major public health concern in most world areas. It won't be solved by organized sports or leisure-time activity alone. The influence of these changes in lifestyle on psychological aspects such as physical education, physical health, and climate raises concerns. The relationship between health expenditure (HEX), education (EDU), economic growth (ECG), population (POP) and environmental degradation (CO 2 ) has gained significant attention in both emerging and developed countries during the past 2 decades. These interactions between health expenditure, education, economic growth and population on environmental deterioration are complex and important.

Carbon emissions were chosen as one of the main factors since they are a significant contributor to environmental deterioration and the causes of falling health standards. Global energy usage and the related generation of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, are key contributors to climate change ( Figure 1 ). Major emitting nations pledged to limit the adverse impacts of growing carbon emissions in the November 2016 Paris Agreement. The aims to decrease global temperatures to 1.5°C levels ( Jianguo et al., 2022 ). The “BP Statistical Yearbook of International Renewable Energy Agency (2021) ,” China now has the most significant CO 2 emissions globally among the E-7 nations. China’s total CO 2 in 2020 contributed 28.8% of worldwide emissions; India contributed 7.3%, ranking third in the globe. Global warming jeopardizes human health, including catastrophic weather events, infectious diseases, food shortages, and more immense societal upheavals ( McMichael et al., 2006 ).


FIGURE 1 . CO₂ emissions yearly change. Source: Author's estimation.

CO 2 not only has an adverse influence on the overall health and environment, but they also significantly impact healthcare expenditures (I. Ullah et al., 2020 ). The surrounding atmosphere substantially affects human health, and medical research studies claims that air pollution causes a diversity of death ( Fareed et al., 2020 ). The deprived quality of the environment has a detrimental influence on human well-being. Carbon intensity is the most important element impacting environmental protection, negatively impacting society’s health. The outcome of environmental deterioration on health has substantial implications for health expenditures (After here HEX); while most prior research indicated that income is the key driver of HEX, CO 2 , and poor environmental quality are also critical determinants. Those with more pollution have higher HEX, whereas countries with higher environmental expenditures have lower healthcare expenditures. Many studies ( Chaabouni and Saidi, 2017 ; Wang et al., 2019 ) have found a positive association between HEX and environmental deterioration. Hence, health is one of the most significant aspects in determining the quality of human capital, but CO 2 emissions create climate change, which impacts public health care and overall productivity (GDP) ( Mohmmed et al., 2019 ). Few studies have looked at HEX as an explanatory variable for environmental quality. Therefore, it is essential to analyze CO 2 for HEX in E-7 nations ( Wang et al., 2019 ). Measuring the consequences of CO2 on the healthcare system has gained prominence in policy discussions.

The second field of study focuses on the connection between education (Hereafter EDU) and environmental degradation. There is a scant study according to whether EDU has had an impact in environmental degradation. UNESCO highlighted the significance of educating and learning, particularly EDU, in overcoming economic, societal, and environmental challenges. There are two points of view that EDU might increase or decrease the environmental sustainability in the region. ( Katircioglu et al., 2020 ) investigated the nexus EDU-CO 2 emissions. According to them, the expansion of sectors and the rise of metropolitan regions may boost energy demands; the authors noted that EDU has become a worldwide industry and stressed that new constructions, dorms, and amenities created to suit student demand would cause CO 2 emissions. ( Li et al., 2021 ) FMOLS and DOLS revealed a favorable influence of higher education on thirty provinces of China’s CO 2 emissions. ( Balaguer & Cantavella, 2018 ) claimed that a country’s energy resources are heavily reliant on human capital and educational institutions and education may have a huge impact on the economy on many levels. EDU may decrease carbon emissions and increase sustainable environment by enhancing awareness regarding environmental education ( Katircioglu et al., 2020 ; Shah et al., 2021 ). However, the association between economic growth and EDU, EDU might have a detrimental impact on a sustainable environment by stimulating ECG. So, therefore, governments can use physical education and environmental education as an instrument to combat environmental degradation. Theoretically, there can be a mutual interaction between EDU and the environment ( Figure 2 ).


FIGURE 2 . Total general government education spending. Source; authors estimation. OurWorldInData.org/global-rise-of-education .

The third research area examines economic growth (after this ECG) and CO 2 emissions. According to (the IMF outlook report 2021–2022) among the emerging seven regions, China’s ECG is predicted to be 8.1 and 5.6%, India’s ECG is forecast to be 11.5% and 6.8%, Russia’s ECG is projected to be 3.0% and 3.9%, and Brazil’s ECG is predicted to be 3.6% and 2.6%, respectively. ( Yang et al., 2020 ; Jahanger et al., 2022 ; Usman et al., 2022 ) the leading source of CO 2 emissions in many economies are ECG and energy consumption. Similarly, ( Mohmmed et al., 2019 ; Ali et al., 2021 ; Shah et al., 2021 ; Jianguo et al., 2022 ; Ullah et al., 2022 ) indicate that ECG increases energy use and environmental degradation. Because of the requirements of ECG, the total amount of CO 2 continues to rise daily, posing several hazards to the health of people of the E-7 nations. Simultaneously, it will have a significant influence on medical and HEX ( Figure 3 ).


FIGURE 3 . The amount of yearly public and private health expenditures per person measured in dollars. Source; authors estimation and OurWorldInData.org/financing-healthcare.

In this regard, health expenditure, education, economic growth and population in the E-7 bloc, “China, Russia, India, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, and Turkey”, have notable characteristics to play in comprehensive environmental sustainability. The E-7 region has the foremost records in environmental deterioration. China contributes the highest percentage of global CO 2 , accounting for approximately 28.75% of total CO 2 emissions in 2019, while the other E-7 economies contribute about 18% of CO 2 emissions in the given period, thus making the E-7 region responsible for 46.09% of global CO 2 emissions in 2019 (BP, 2020). According to the (IEA), fourth of the world’s highest CO2 emitter countries, “China 9300 Mt, India 2200 Mt, Indonesia 496.4, Russia 1500 Mt, Mexico 446.0 Mt and Turkey 378.6 Mt respectively,” are part of this group. In 2018, they comprised 26 percent of the total the global GDP, 47% of the world’s population, and more than 40% of the energy consumed globally. Relatively few works have studied the association between CO 2 emissions, HEX, EDU, ECG, and POP, in the aforesaid studies see for ( Balaguer & Cantavella, 2018 ; Fareed et al., 2018 , 2022 ; Li et al., 2021 ; Shah et al., 2021 ; I. Ullah et al., 2019 , 2020 ).

This study makes three contributions to the academic research works. First, this research is one of the few that assesses the factors influencing health expenses, education, economic growth and population in E-7 bloc. Our findings will help policymakers develop and implement health and education strategies. The second contribution is concerned with the assortment of indicators in our study. Although there are several research in the literature on the link between health expenditure, education, economic growth and population, there are relatively few studies that incorporate factors, particularly for a sustainable environment in the E-7 region; this study adds to the current body of knowledge by giving actual evidence of the influence of health expenditure, education, economic growth, and population on CO 2 emission regarding of the E-7 bloc. Nonetheless, the current literature investigated the aforementioned link. Still, the inconsistent findings reflect a hazy picture of the relationship in emerging countries. Hence, this study, on the other hand, provides a clear depiction of the relationship mentioned above in emerging economies. Finally, we use scientific and empirical methodologies to analyze the long-term dynamics of E-7. The study used the modern econometric techniques such as cross-sectional dependency test ( Pesaran et al., 2004 ), second-generation panel unit-root ( Pesaran, 2007 ) and second-generation cointegration tests ( Westerlund, 2007 ), and for lung run estimation used PFMOLS and PDOLS techniques. This study also used AMG-CCEMG methods for robustness findings. The study’s outcomes are intended to lighten the relationships between HEX, EDU, ECG, and POP on environmental degradation. In order to accomplish high levels of health results across the nation, the policy suggestions based on scientific evidence will provide environmental health recommendations, implications for the use of physical fitness and physical education, and a more effective allocation of health expenditure.

The following portions are as follows: Section 2 describe synopsis of the previous research; Section 3 describes the methodology model; Section 4 presents the empirical findings and discussion; and Section 5 discusses the conclusion and implications for policy based on the empirical research outcomes.

2 Literature review

The relevant scientific studies can be grouped into three sub-categories: the affiliation between health expenditure and environmental deterioration, the relationship between physical education and environmental deterioration and the connection between economic growth and environmental deterioration.

2.1 The health expenditure and environmental deterioration (CO 2 )

The relationship between environmental deterioration and HEX has been examined in empirical studies using various instances and analytical approaches, with varied empirical conclusions. The CO 2 emissions will have an adverse influence on the healthcare of individuals, hence affecting HEX. Considering the link between CO 2 and healthcare expenditures, (I. Ullah et al., 2019 ) studied the causation between trade, HEX, and CO 2 emissions in China from 1990 to 2017 by using a simultaneous equations model. Their outcomes showed that trade significantly effects on CO 2 emissions and results in a rise in healthcare expenditure in the country. ( Apergis et al., 2020 ) examined the long-run dynamics among environmental degradation and HEX in four economic groups using data from 1995 to 2017. According to the findings, HEX would rise by 2.5% for every 1% rise in CO 2 emission. (I. Ullah et al., 2020 ) determined the drivers of healthcare expenditures in Pakistan during 1998–2017 by using 2SLS and 3SLS techniques. The empirical results showed that CO 2 emissions boost health expenditure. ( Shah et al., 2021 ) examined the impacts of CO 2 and public expenditure on the atmosphere for life expectancy and utilized the ARDL technique for China from 1999 to 2017; the outcome revealed that life expectancy responds inversely to negative and positive tremors on sustainable environment. ( Samah et al., 2020 ) analyzed the relation between HEX and environmental degradation for Malaysia under the influence of COVID-19 using the panel dataset with system GMM. According to estimates, rising HEX will boost CO 2 emissions. Several studies ( Zaidi & Saidi, 2018 ; Apergis et al., 2020 ; Shah et al., 2021 ), have demonstrated a positive correlation among HEX and pollution emissions. Khan et al. (2020) , utilized GMM and FMOLS techniques to examine the influence of HEX on environmental pollution in BRI from 1995 to 2016 and discovered that a rise in health spending had a harmful influence on environmental quality. Similarly, ( Zaman and Abd-el Moemen, 2017 ; Apergis et al., 2018 ) discovered that a rise in HEX had a detrimental impact on CO 2 emissions. Few studies have examined the causal link among CO 2 and HEX, such as recent research ( Chaabouni and Saidi, 2017 ) also discovered a unidirectional causal link between CO 2 and HEX. ( Zaidi & Saidi, 2018 ) demonstrated a one-way causality from HEX to ECG and a bi-directional causal relation among HEX and CO 2 emissions in SSA economies. (I. Ullah et al., 2020 ) In Pakistan, a dynamic simultaneous equation model was used to evaluate HEX, CO 2 emissions, and ECG. The statistical evidence indicated the presence of two-way causation between CO 2 emissions and ECG, as well as one-way causality between HEX and ECG.

2.2 The education and environmental deterioration

Aside from health expenditure, environmentalists focus these days on the environment’s response to society’s expanding level of education ( Balaguer & Cantavella, 2018 ). Among other initiatives, increasing knowledge and understanding of environmental devastation through social exhortation and environmental education can be crucial in decreasing CO 2 emissions and mitigating the detrimental impacts of global warming ( Katircioglu et al., 2020 ). Education may play an essential part in teaching social responsibility in a society, which can aid in the reduction of pollution emissions. Although numerous elements connected to the primary drivers of CO 2 are employed in the literature, the prospective impacts of EDU on environmental deterioration did not attract the researchers’ interest. There are various processes via which EDU might positively or negatively impact CO 2 . The recent research of ( Sart et al., 2022 ), observed the relationship of economic freedom, education and CO 2 in the context of EU members for 2000–2018, the causality analysis revealed that financial freedom and education can be favorable to mitigating environmental deterioration and increase environmental quality in the panel region. Similarly, the study of ( Mehmood, 2022 ), utilized CS-ARDL for south Asian region for 1990–2020, and investigated that education expenditure will decrease the CO 2 emissions in the south Asian area. ( Liu et al., 2022 ) evaluated the links between financial inclusion, education and CO 2 , and using the ARDL approach, their outcomes showed that EDU could play a significant role in reducing CO 2 emissions in China.

Similarly, according to ( Zaman et al., 2021 ) the outcomes show the negative association between EDU and CO 2 emissions for China and using ARDL and FMOLS techniques from 1991 to 20 indicates that EDU will help mitigate CO 2 in China. In contrast ( Katircioglu et al., 2020 ), EDU development, like other sectors such as FDI, and economic growth, may raise total energy demand and increase CO 2 emissions. According to ( Shields, 2019 ) there is a significant link between higher levels of education and worldwide climate shift. Consequently, the long-run effects of education cannot be disregarded, as it increases social and cultural awareness responsibility ( Alkhateeb et al., 2020 ). ( Subramaniam & Masron, 2020 ), examined the impact of education on the climate in 22 emerging nations from 1990 to 2016 using the ARDL method. They found that the significant impact of poverty on climate change can diminish after a specific level of educational accomplishment. Some new studies also examine the direct relationship between education and pollutant releases and environmental degradation ( Shields, 2019 ; Zaman et al., 2021 ; Liu et al., 2022 ; Mehmood, 2022 ). Therefore, educational status, physical education and human resources contribute to reducing air pollutants and forming the EKC, since they promote renewable energy.

2.3 The economic growth and environmental deterioration

Many recent works have studied the connection between CO 2 emission and ECG, but no consent has been expressed ( Wang et al., 2022 ). For instance, the causal relationships between HEX, ECG, and CO 2 emissions are examined by ( Chaabouni and Saidi, 2017 ). Their Granger causality analyses revealed a substantial bidirectional causal relationship between these variables from 1960 to 2008. ( Ali et al., 2021 ) investigate the link between numerous elements that generate CO 2 and ECG in Vietnam and discovered that as Vietnam’s industrialization level increased, ECG was supported at the expense of using a massive amount of fossil fuels, which increased CO 2 . ( Mongo et al., 2021 ) utilize the ARDL approach for fifteen European economies and the outcomes show that the result of ECG, economic openness and other indicators increase environmental degradation. Similarly, ( Majeed et al., 2021 ) discovered that ECG significantly and positively influenced CO2 emissions in GCC countries from 1990 to 2018. ECG increases CO 2 emissions in Asian countries, according to ( Luo et al., 2021 ). Prior findings on the effects of ECG on the environment have often concentrated on the nexus ECG-CO 2 emissions, utilizing the EKC hypothesis as a theoretical underpinning. However, the current study on the ECG-CO2 emissions relationship under the EKC hypothesis produced contradictory results. For instance, the EKC hypothesis has been authenticated by ( Luo et al., 2021 ) for selected Asian economies, ( Jianguo et al., 2022 ) for the OECD region, ( Shah et al., 2021 )and (I. Ullah et al., 2019 ) for China. ( Ali et al., 2021 ) for Vietnam. Finally, several scholars have observed at the relationship between CO 2 , ECG and financial institutions ( Khan et al., 2020 ), energy composition ( Islam and Abdul Ghani, 2018 ), and quality of institutions ( Wawrzyniak and Doryń, 2020 ).

3 Research design

The current work studied the impacts of health expenditure, education, economic growth and population on environmental deterioration in the E-7 bloc. The research performs the following approaches to scrutinize the effects of considered indicators (see details in Figure 4 ).


FIGURE 4 . Methodological framework. Source, Authors own completion.

3.1 Model specification

In this work, we used the following dynamic panel regression model to link CO 2 emissions to HEX, EDU, ECG, and POP indicators:

Where CO 2 = represent the carbon dioxide emissions, i economies, t time, and α , β , δ are measured as the coefficient, and ε is the residual term. The coefficients β 1, β 2 … β 11 represent the estimates of CO 2 , explanatory and control variables. HEX, health expenditure, EDU, education, ECG, economic growth, and POP, population.

3.2 Estimation methods

3.2.1 the cross-sectional dependence (csd).

CSD arises when macroeconomic tremors have similar impacts on cross-sections within a panel; hence these cross-sections are CSD and can generate ambiguous results if not addressed ( Jianguo et al., 2022 ). International accords, trade contracts, and economic and socio combination may cause cross-sectional interdependence in E-7 economies. As mentioned in Equation, the CSD test established by ( Pesaran et al., 2004 ) was utilized to address this methodological challenge using panel data.

3.2.2 The panel unit root test

This is critical for ensuring stationarity since non-stationary series might generate deceptive findings. First-generation techniques, such as the, do not address CD concerns in datasets ( Im et al., 2003 ). ( Pesaran, 2007 ) introduced the CIPS and CADF second-generation panel unit root estimates to address the shortcomings of the first-generation method. This approach is expected to give dependable and consistent stationarity features in the existence of CD difficulties in the sample. The unit root equation is:

3.2.3 The panel cointegration test

Similar to first-generation panel unit root approaches, first-generation panel cointegration estimators do not consider CD issues. ( Westerlund, 2007 ) A second-generation panel cointegration estimate was published to identify the cointegrating properties between the parameters in the presence of CD. The bootstrapped approach is used in this procedure to assess the standard errors of four statistical tests, which resolves the CSD: “Gt, GA, Pt, and Pa. Gt and Ga” are group-mean statistics that are calculated when the alternative hypothesis of cointegration between the variables in at least one cross-section is tested against the null hypothesis of non-cointegration. In contrast, a stringent alternative hypothesis of series cointegration in all cross-sections predicts the two panel-mean statistics Pt and Pa.

3.2.4 The long run estimation results

The Panel Dynamic PEMLOS and PDOLS are applied and used to estimate the model’s long-term coefficients. Some researchers claim that the PDOLS methodology not only helps assess robust results but also executes more reliably and produces enhanced characteristics of the respondents for small panel sizes ( Luo et al., 2021 ). Furthermore, FMOLS and DOLS approaches solve the issue of heterogeneity and heterogeneous cointegration ( Weimin et al., 2022 ). On the other hand, some researchers argue that the PFMOLS methodology is superior to the PDOLS technique since it addresses several data issues, such as simultaneity and autocorrelation, while also producing credible outcomes in smaller panel samples ( Luo et al., 2021 ). As a result, in order to avoid any contradictions in the results, we use more than one econometric approach to produce more consistent results. The CO2 function for panel data is:

The following Eqn. 7 is advocated by Pedroni (2004) to compute the α i Coefficients through the PFMOLS method:

Where z ¯ Reveals arithmetic mean of Z and COE * it is equals to ( C O E i t − C O E t * ) − [ ( ⋏ 21 ^ ⋏ 22 i ) ] where ⋏ ^ Indicates the covariance. C O E ^ is presented to determination the problem of inaccurate serial correlation.

Additionally, Pedroni signified the following Eqn. 8 by counting lead, and lag features for PDOLS estimators.

To evaluation the coefficients of β i ^ is:

Where δ i t = 2 ( k + 1 ) z 1 and δ ^ i t means z i t − z ¯ i .

3.2.5 The AMG and CCEMG

This work will also use two further approaches, AMG and CCEMG, to test the reproducibility of the PFMOLS and PDOLS results. CSD, heterogeneity, cointegration breakdowns, and non-stationarity are all handled in both of these approaches ( Luo et al., 2021 ). CCEMG and AMG use cross-sectional averages of both dependent and independent indicators.

4 Empirical results

4.1 pre-regression statistics.

The study analyzed to investigates the effect of HEX, ECG, EDU, and POP, on the CO 2 emissions for the panel of E-7 from 2000 to 2019. Table 1 shows the descriptive statistics and correlation matrix for all factors included in this study. The descriptive statistics for all indicators reveal various Min-Max values for all parameters. Similarly, the correlation matrix displays the positive relation of HEX, ECG, and POP, while the negative correlation of education indicators with CO 2 emissions.


TABLE 1 . The Descriptive statistics and Correlation.

Before examining the presence of the unit root and cointegration among the variables, it is required to explore the CSD among the sample nations. As a result, actions performed in one country may also impact another country. We used the Pesaran et al., 2004 , Breusch and Pagan, 1980 technique to determine CSD among the E-7 economies. The findings in Table 2 corroborated the CD among the countries in the study, showing that any change in the amount of HEX, ECG, EDU, and POP in one country of E-7 might have an impact on the other E-7 country. Table 3 summarizes the findings of the ( Hashem Pesaran and Yamagata, 2008 ) slope homogeneity test in the research, confirming that the model has a slope heterogeneity issue.The presence of CSD and SH in the data suggests that the indicators’ stationarity and long-run connection should be confirmed using second-generation unit root and cointegration. According to both the CIPS and CADF tests, the results in Table 4 demonstrate that all of the variables considered in the study are stationary at first difference I (1). As a consequence, to address the issues of CD and heterogeneity in the model, we employed the Westerlund Cointegration approach, and the findings shown in Table 5 demonstrate the (Westerlund-2007) Cointegration results in the presence of a long-run link between the variables in all three models at the 1% significant level.


TABLE 2 . The Pesaran et al., 2004 CSD test.


TABLE 3 . The Slope homogeneity test.


TABLE 4 . The ( Pesaran, 2007 ) Panel Unit-root test.


TABLE 5 . The (Westerlund-2007) Cointegration results.

4.2 Regression results

After confirming the long-term association between the indicators, we used the PFMOLS and PDOLS tests to determine the variables’ long-term coefficients. Table 6 presents the analysis using PFMOLS and PDOLS estimations. The findings reveal that CO 2 emissions have a positive and significant relationship with HEX. This result indicates that a 1% increase in CO 2 emissions leads in a (PFMOLS 0.16324% and PDOLS 0.26314%) rise in HEX. There are two potential effects of HEX on CO 2 . The important policy is that the government aggressively regulates CO 2 because pollution increases healthcare costs. Because the impact of health expenses is proportional to population expansion, an increase in energy consumption leads in increased pollution of the atmosphere ( Chaabouni et al., 2016 ; Chaabouni and Saidi, 2017 ). On the other hand, HEX raises people’s awareness of pollution and reduces CO 2 . The first effect is far more significant than the second ( Shah et al., 2021 ) . The findings support the claims made by Khan ( Mohmmed et al., 2019 ; I. Ullah et al., 2019 , 2020 ) that boosting CO 2 emissions raises health care costs.


TABLE 6 . PFMOLS and PDOLS results.

In table 6 , according to PFMOLS and PDOLS estimates, ECG increased CO 2 emissions in sample nations by PFMOLS 0.42142% and PDOLS 0.54328%, respectively. ECG has been identified as one of the key drivers of the rise in CO 2 emissions. As a result, it is realistic to conclude that, on average, chosen E-7 economies are on a sustainable path, in which greater ECG leads to enhanced CO 2 emissions up to a certain point due to fast industrialization ( Ali et al., 2021 ; Luo et al., 2021 ).

Third, the outcomes recommend that EDU has a favorable impact on environmental quality, The relationship of education and CO 2 emission is favorable, its mean education increase the environmental quality in E-7 nations, results are consistent with recent findings ( Balaguer & Cantavella, 2018 ). Our findings demonstrate that education alone, without an environmentally suitable curriculum, cannot reduce CO 2 emissions. Adding environmental content to EDU, promoting awareness through the media, and offering energy efficiency training to the workforce are all viable policy choices for promoting the environmental advantages of education. To reap any benefit from education, a comprehensive set of environmental protection laws is required; otherwise, education would raise people’s purchasing power, energy usage, and, as a result, environmental damage. Education spending allows the majority of the population to comprehend their environment better. Citizens with greater awareness of the world are more likely to live sustainably. As a result, the outcomes of panel-level and country causality studies primarily corroborate theoretical predictions. Furthermore, the associated empirical research has typically indicated that education significantly impacts the environment ( Balaguer & Cantavella, 2018 ; Li et al., 2021 ; Cui et al., 2022 ; Sart et al., 2022 ). As a result, education is one of the most important tools for improving environmental quality. Finally in table 6 findings show that, the sample nations, where a 1% rise in population growth resulted in PFMLOS 0.63471% and PDOLS 0.36489% increase CO 2 emissions, as assessed by PFMOLS and PDOLS, respectively. Population expansion has been identified as the primary cause of rising CO 2 emissions, raising energy consumption ( Luo et al., 2021 ). A large body of evidence confirms the positive relationship between population and CO 2 emissions ( Luo et al., 2021 ), and this is notably true in the context of E-7 countries, given their huge percentage of the global population. The population’s position as a CO 2 augmenting factor may be seen from various perspectives. Higher use of resources, such as energy, fossil fuels, transportation, and other products and services, results in more significant CO 2 emissions as the population grows.

4.3 Robustness tests

Tables 7 show the results of the CCEMG and AMG tests, respectively. The CCEMG and AMG findings in Table 7 are identical to those obtained using PFMOLS and PDOLS in Table 6 , confirming the consistency of our results. The CCEMG and AMG results also indicated the importance of the overall model, as the Wald test value was significant. Similarly, the Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) for both tests is approximately identical; however, the RMSE number for CCEMG is higher than that of the AMG model. However, ( Luo et al., 2021 ) highlighted whether the tests CCEMG and AMG have a unit root problem, CSD, and cointegration or not.


TABLE 7 . AMG and CCEMG results.

5 Conclusion and policy suggestions

The effects of environmental quality are significantly mitigated by physical activity, education and health care systems. This study adds to the body of knowledge about the dynamic link between CO 2 emissions, healthcare expenditure, economic development, education, and population for the E-7 countries between 2000 and 2019. The CSD test was used to investigate cross-sectional dependence, CIPS and CADF tests to determine variable integration order, Westerlund cointegration test to validate variable cointegration, and PFMOLS and PDOLS to provide long-run coefficients of parameter estimates and also used AMG and CCEMG techniques for robustness checks. PFMOLS and PDOLS showed that education had a negative and substantial effect on CO 2 emissions in E-7, whereas health spending, economic growth, and population increase had a positive and significant influence. CO 2 emissions have severe repercussions for environmental quality and environmental health, resulting in health-related concerns and increased healthcare costs at both the individual and public levels. The outcomes of our study are validated and robust by applying AMG and CCEMG tests. As a result, the findings of this study are beneficial for E-7 nations in revising their policies to improve environmental quality.

Our paper makes recommendations for reducing CO 2 emissions and increasing environmental quality in E-7 economies based on the research findings. Government law for CO 2 control might be an acceptable instrument, and the government could reduce CO 2 emissions to a desirable level, particularly in the exporting industry, balancing healthcare costs and CO 2 emissions in the economy. Additionally, regulatory framework for CO 2 control may be a useful instrument. The government may reduce CO 2 emissions to the desired level, particularly in the exporting sector, which will balance healthcare costs and CO 2 emissions in the economy. Education may efficiently address environmental deterioration by using market-based environmental instruments, promoting environmental awareness, physical education, and producing green or energy-efficient technology. The econometric findings provide recommendations for environmental quality, physical education and a more efficient allocation of health spending to attain excellent health outcomes in the region. Education expenditure is ecologically friendly, hence more investments should be made in this area.

The research has some limitations since it only considers one component of a rise in HEX caused by CO 2 emissions using a case study of an emerging seven bloc, which may be expanded to other regions such as G-7, MENA, BRICS, etc. Both theoretical and empirical models may extend further to other factors, like life expectancy. Although the current study has significant outcomes, future research should be done using diverse environmental sustainability parameters, such as urbanization, financial development, trade, globalization, and industrialization, etc. This study employed CO 2 as a proxy for environmental deterioration; future research should use different proxies.

Data availability statement

The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation.

Author contributions

JB: conceptualization; supervision; writing—original draft preparation and editing. KA: conceptualization; formal analysis; validation; methodology; review and editing.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher’s note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

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Keywords: CO 2 emissions, health expenditure, education, economic growth, PFMLOS, PDOLS

Citation: Bu J and Ali K (2022) Environmental degradation in terms of health expenditure, education and economic growth. Evidence of novel approach. Front. Environ. Sci. 10:1046213. doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2022.1046213

Received: 16 September 2022; Accepted: 04 October 2022; Published: 19 October 2022.

Reviewed by:

Copyright © 2022 Bu and Ali. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Junqin Bu, [email protected] ; Kishwar Ali, [email protected] , [email protected]

This article is part of the Research Topic

Clean Energy Transition and Load Capacity Factors: Environmental Sustainability Assessment through Advanced Statistical Methods

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Top 100 Environmental Research Paper Topics for Your Inspiration

Why taking care of our environment is essential.

Ever since humans first appeared, our planet has provided us with all basic needs like food, air, water, and energy. However, our environment can sometimes harm us too, with natural disasters like droughts, earthquakes, landslides, and floods. In such cases, we give our best to try and figure out the leading causes for their occurrence. 

The more we learn about why something happens in nature, the better we can understand how to enhance or prevent it. As human beings, we all have some basic knowledge of the environment we live in. However, it’s essential to broaden those understandings daily and learn more about ecology and the environment. It’s the only way for us to stop the hazardous side-effects of our industrial growth from damaging the planet we live on.

environmental research paper topics

Environmental Research for Better Living

We can also help prevent the extinction of endangered or endemic species, which are an essential part of our ecosystem and could cause a disbalance in their local environment if they were to disappear. Environmental research is not just a technique for survival – it’s much more.

It is now a separate field of study led by environmental sciences to positively impact the world around us. This type of research is extensive, and there are numerous environmental research paper topics college students can choose from and explore.

Some overlap with other disciplines, and based on your preferences – be it law research paper , health, biology, chemistry, science, debate, or other – you can choose yours and explore it in great detail. Writing about the environment in research papers is yet another step to a better environment.

Not only do these environmental research paper topics dig deeper into particular burning issues, their causes, and effects, but they also provide possible solutions that could help deal with them once and for all.

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Environmental research paper topics cover numerous issues which usually overlap with chemistry, biology, oceanography, civil engineering, water resources engineering, zoology, and the gas and oil industry. Simply put, there’s a great variety of topics you can choose from.

What makes one topic better than the other, though?

  • First of all, it’s always better to choose a topic from an area of research you’re particularly interested in. For example, if you are more of a biologist, you should opt for topics covering plants, e.g., deforestation and afforestation.
  • Secondly, that would always be an advantage if you’re able to reflect on a topic from a bystander perspective. 
  • And last but not least, a powerful topic should offer solutions to a particular modern-day problem in our environment. That way, your topic will have a clear purpose.

List of the top 100 environment research paper topics

The following list of 100 environment research topics will help you find inspiration, so you’ll be able to design your topic faster and start writing your paper without further delays. 

The topics have been divided into groups for you to narrow down your search easier.

Environmental Health Topics

  • Endemic wildlife – their unique importance for nature as a whole
  • National parks and their significance for our health 
  • The global impact of tectonic movements on the world’s ecosystems
  • Lung cancer and radon – analysis and potential solutions
  • Acid rain and the harmful effects on aquatic life
  • Killing wildlife with acid rain – what can we do to prevent it?
  • How vital was prehistoric wildlife for the ecosystems we have today?
  • Air pollution and its destructive impact on health
  • Can recycling help improve the health of people worldwide?
  • What can we do to minimize the depletion of the ozone layer?
  • The depletion of the ozone layer and its harmful impacts on health?
  • GMOs, herbicides, and pesticides in food and their impact on health

Environmental Debates Topics

  • Can life on Earth co-exist with radiation? Artificial vs. natural radioactivity
  • How essential is oil for the ecosystem? Oil pollution and the oil industry
  • Is there anything we can do to reverse the ozone layer depletion?
  • Will using red lights make a significant difference in our environment?
  • When we say green energy, what do we mean? Is it green?
  • Can we redeem our planet with the use of green energy?
  • How far should humans go into meddling with extinction? Is it a natural cause?

Environmental Justice Topics

  • Does the government have the most significant impact on the recycling effort of the country?
  • Do we use the total capacity of science to impact climate change?
  • Nuclear power – the importance for the environment and its role in foreign policies
  • Freight transport is a major cause of greenhouse gases emission – how can we reduce it?
  • The hospitality industry and the environmental management

Environmental Science Topics

  • Industrial plants and their connection to water resources – are they a great cause for human diseases?
  • Switching to hydrogen from fossil fuels – why is it beneficial for the world?
  • How can we stop the destruction of coral reefs?
  • The contamination of our soil – to what extent are wastes and pesticides responsible for it?
  • The acidification of the ocean – how big a problem is it?
  • The melting of permafrost and its impact on climate change
  • Global warming – busting all myths about it
  • The increased concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere – downsides
  • Small water resources and their importance for the environment
  • Acid rains and industrialization – what’s the link?

Environmental Controversial Topics

  • The impact of toxic waste on our environment
  • The causes and effects of global warming – what can we expect in the next decade?
  • Can people make use of the greenhouse effect?
  • The depletion of the ozone layer, the current situation, and prospects
  • If all ice glaciers in the world melt from global warming – what can we expect?
  • How important is recycling? Is it a safety strategy or a business?

Environmental Persuasive Speech Topics

  • What strategic actions can we implement to save our environment?
  • Conservation – an analysis
  • How can Donald Trump help save our planet?
  • To what extent should humans be concerned about endangered species, and how can they help stop their extinction?
  • Deforestation – causes, dangers, and effects on our modern world
  • The destruction of wildlife in the Amazon forest – impacts
  • Afforestation – is it possible? Can it help save a dying planet?

Environmental Biology Topics

  • Asthma attacks and the environmental influence on them
  • The effects of genetic diseases on humans
  • Roots of plants – a comparative study
  • Photosynthesis is different in some plants – a comparative study
  • Crustaceans and their importance for the environment
  • Why do we call Earth a living organism?
  • Invasive species and their impact on the environment
  • Soil composition – is it the same everywhere, and why not?
  • Viruses in nature – an analysis of how they work
  • The different types of trees in your local area
  • If honey bees become extinct, what would the effects on nature be? 

Environmental Chemistry Topics

  • The scientific standpoint for climate change 
  • Scientific examination and critic reviews on climate change
  • The spread of harmful and dangerous microorganisms and farm chemicals
  • How does farming affect the environment? Are there dangers to it?
  • The contamination of groundwater – causes and risks
  • The destruction of the forest ecosystem and its coping mechanisms
  • Bush burning – the hazardous effects on the environment
  • GMOs, pesticides, and herbicides – how do they impact our lives
  • Spraying vegetables with chemicals – pros and cons
  • The oil pollution and the dangers for wildlife 

Environmental Economic Topics

  • Air pollution and urban migration – is there a link?
  • Modernization and noise pollution
  • If we harness solar energy, will we make a good impact on the environment?
  • The Gulfstream and its importance in the world’s economy
  • The impact of the technological advancements on the environment
  • Technology and the environment – benefits & downsides
  • Ecology in the world today and prospects for the next decade

Environmental Argument Topics

  • The impact of the environmental issues on the world as a whole 
  • Our planet Earth and its desertification – causes & effects
  • Can we make a significant change in the environment with sustainable consumption?
  • The implementation of sustainable consumption and prospects
  • PET bottles – what’s unsafe about them? Can they kill you?
  • The parameters for the quality of the sol and the impact of drought on it
  • Cattle grazing and GMOs – their effect on the production of greenhouse gas

Environmental History Topics

  • EPA – the hazardous waste
  • Exxon Valdez and Santa Barbara oil spills
  • The Love Canal Case and the Eastman Kodak Case
  • The 1978 Three Mile Island
  • A comparative analysis of the most prominent earthquakes throughout history
  • A comparative analysis of the most prominent floods throughout history
  • A comparative study of the most prominent landslides throughout history
  • Norman Borlaug and the Rockefeller Foundation in the Green Revolution
  • The SARE/LISA and the USDA programs on sustainable agriculture
  • The emergence of agricultural biotechnology

Environmental Law Topics 

  • Human vs. animal rights
  • Would implementing tax payments for carbon emissions help minimize them?
  • Making vegetarianism mandatory – pros and cons
  • If governments ban GMOs, what can we expect?
  • The future of agriculture and organic farming
  • Exports of animals – should governments ban them?
  • Zoos – should governments ban them?
  • Selling fur – should the government of each country ban it?
  • Should we make the selling of plastic bags illegal?
  • The impacts of tourism on our environment

We hope that these classified lists of environment project topics will help you find your most suitable pick. Whichever option you choose from, be it from the group of environmental science research topics or a research connected to environmental justice, you should always present both the supporting and opposing views.

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research papers on environmental destruction

A review of the global climate change impacts, adaptation, and sustainable mitigation measures

  • Review Article
  • Published: 04 April 2022
  • volume  29 ,  pages 42539–42559 ( 2022 )
  • Kashif Abbass 1 ,
  • Muhammad Zeeshan Qasim 2 ,
  • Huaming Song 1 ,
  • Muntasir Murshed   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-9872-8742 3 , 4 ,
  • Haider Mahmood   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-6474-4338 5 &
  • Ijaz Younis 1  

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Climate change is a long-lasting change in the weather arrays across tropics to polls. It is a global threat that has embarked on to put stress on various sectors. This study is aimed to conceptually engineer how climate variability is deteriorating the sustainability of diverse sectors worldwide. Specifically, the agricultural sector’s vulnerability is a globally concerning scenario, as sufficient production and food supplies are threatened due to irreversible weather fluctuations. In turn, it is challenging the global feeding patterns, particularly in countries with agriculture as an integral part of their economy and total productivity. Climate change has also put the integrity and survival of many species at stake due to shifts in optimum temperature ranges, thereby accelerating biodiversity loss by progressively changing the ecosystem structures. Climate variations increase the likelihood of particular food and waterborne and vector-borne diseases, and a recent example is a coronavirus pandemic. Climate change also accelerates the enigma of antimicrobial resistance, another threat to human health due to the increasing incidence of resistant pathogenic infections. Besides, the global tourism industry is devastated as climate change impacts unfavorable tourism spots. The methodology investigates hypothetical scenarios of climate variability and attempts to describe the quality of evidence to facilitate readers’ careful, critical engagement. Secondary data is used to identify sustainability issues such as environmental, social, and economic viability. To better understand the problem, gathered the information in this report from various media outlets, research agencies, policy papers, newspapers, and other sources. This review is a sectorial assessment of climate change mitigation and adaptation approaches worldwide in the aforementioned sectors and the associated economic costs. According to the findings, government involvement is necessary for the country’s long-term development through strict accountability of resources and regulations implemented in the past to generate cutting-edge climate policy. Therefore, mitigating the impacts of climate change must be of the utmost importance, and hence, this global threat requires global commitment to address its dreadful implications to ensure global sustenance.

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Worldwide observed and anticipated climatic changes for the twenty-first century and global warming are significant global changes that have been encountered during the past 65 years. Climate change (CC) is an inter-governmental complex challenge globally with its influence over various components of the ecological, environmental, socio-political, and socio-economic disciplines (Adger et al.  2005 ; Leal Filho et al.  2021 ; Feliciano et al.  2022 ). Climate change involves heightened temperatures across numerous worlds (Battisti and Naylor  2009 ; Schuurmans  2021 ; Weisheimer and Palmer  2005 ; Yadav et al.  2015 ). With the onset of the industrial revolution, the problem of earth climate was amplified manifold (Leppänen et al.  2014 ). It is reported that the immediate attention and due steps might increase the probability of overcoming its devastating impacts. It is not plausible to interpret the exact consequences of climate change (CC) on a sectoral basis (Izaguirre et al.  2021 ; Jurgilevich et al.  2017 ), which is evident by the emerging level of recognition plus the inclusion of climatic uncertainties at both local and national level of policymaking (Ayers et al.  2014 ).

Climate change is characterized based on the comprehensive long-haul temperature and precipitation trends and other components such as pressure and humidity level in the surrounding environment. Besides, the irregular weather patterns, retreating of global ice sheets, and the corresponding elevated sea level rise are among the most renowned international and domestic effects of climate change (Lipczynska-Kochany  2018 ; Michel et al.  2021 ; Murshed and Dao 2020 ). Before the industrial revolution, natural sources, including volcanoes, forest fires, and seismic activities, were regarded as the distinct sources of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as CO 2 , CH 4 , N 2 O, and H 2 O into the atmosphere (Murshed et al. 2020 ; Hussain et al.  2020 ; Sovacool et al.  2021 ; Usman and Balsalobre-Lorente 2022 ; Murshed 2022 ). United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) struck a major agreement to tackle climate change and accelerate and intensify the actions and investments required for a sustainable low-carbon future at Conference of the Parties (COP-21) in Paris on December 12, 2015. The Paris Agreement expands on the Convention by bringing all nations together for the first time in a single cause to undertake ambitious measures to prevent climate change and adapt to its impacts, with increased funding to assist developing countries in doing so. As so, it marks a turning point in the global climate fight. The core goal of the Paris Agreement is to improve the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise this century well below 2 °C over pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5° C (Sharma et al. 2020 ; Sharif et al. 2020 ; Chien et al. 2021 .

Furthermore, the agreement aspires to strengthen nations’ ability to deal with the effects of climate change and align financing flows with low GHG emissions and climate-resilient paths (Shahbaz et al. 2019 ; Anwar et al. 2021 ; Usman et al. 2022a ). To achieve these lofty goals, adequate financial resources must be mobilized and provided, as well as a new technology framework and expanded capacity building, allowing developing countries and the most vulnerable countries to act under their respective national objectives. The agreement also establishes a more transparent action and support mechanism. All Parties are required by the Paris Agreement to do their best through “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) and to strengthen these efforts in the coming years (Balsalobre-Lorente et al. 2020 ). It includes obligations that all Parties regularly report on their emissions and implementation activities. A global stock-take will be conducted every five years to review collective progress toward the agreement’s goal and inform the Parties’ future individual actions. The Paris Agreement became available for signature on April 22, 2016, Earth Day, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. On November 4, 2016, it went into effect 30 days after the so-called double threshold was met (ratification by 55 nations accounting for at least 55% of world emissions). More countries have ratified and continue to ratify the agreement since then, bringing 125 Parties in early 2017. To fully operationalize the Paris Agreement, a work program was initiated in Paris to define mechanisms, processes, and recommendations on a wide range of concerns (Murshed et al. 2021 ). Since 2016, Parties have collaborated in subsidiary bodies (APA, SBSTA, and SBI) and numerous formed entities. The Conference of the Parties functioning as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA) convened for the first time in November 2016 in Marrakesh in conjunction with COP22 and made its first two resolutions. The work plan is scheduled to be finished by 2018. Some mitigation and adaptation strategies to reduce the emission in the prospective of Paris agreement are following firstly, a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, secondly, to aim to limit the rise to 1.5 °C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change, thirdly, on the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognizing that this will take longer for developing countries, lastly, to undertake rapid reductions after that under the best available science, to achieve a balance between emissions and removals in the second half of the century. On the other side, some adaptation strategies are; strengthening societies’ ability to deal with the effects of climate change and to continue & expand international assistance for developing nations’ adaptation.

However, anthropogenic activities are currently regarded as most accountable for CC (Murshed et al. 2022 ). Apart from the industrial revolution, other anthropogenic activities include excessive agricultural operations, which further involve the high use of fuel-based mechanization, burning of agricultural residues, burning fossil fuels, deforestation, national and domestic transportation sectors, etc. (Huang et al.  2016 ). Consequently, these anthropogenic activities lead to climatic catastrophes, damaging local and global infrastructure, human health, and total productivity. Energy consumption has mounted GHGs levels concerning warming temperatures as most of the energy production in developing countries comes from fossil fuels (Balsalobre-Lorente et al. 2022 ; Usman et al. 2022b ; Abbass et al. 2021a ; Ishikawa-Ishiwata and Furuya  2022 ).

This review aims to highlight the effects of climate change in a socio-scientific aspect by analyzing the existing literature on various sectorial pieces of evidence globally that influence the environment. Although this review provides a thorough examination of climate change and its severe affected sectors that pose a grave danger for global agriculture, biodiversity, health, economy, forestry, and tourism, and to purpose some practical prophylactic measures and mitigation strategies to be adapted as sound substitutes to survive from climate change (CC) impacts. The societal implications of irregular weather patterns and other effects of climate changes are discussed in detail. Some numerous sustainable mitigation measures and adaptation practices and techniques at the global level are discussed in this review with an in-depth focus on its economic, social, and environmental aspects. Methods of data collection section are included in the supplementary information.

Review methodology

Related study and its objectives.

Today, we live an ordinary life in the beautiful digital, globalized world where climate change has a decisive role. What happens in one country has a massive influence on geographically far apart countries, which points to the current crisis known as COVID-19 (Sarkar et al.  2021 ). The most dangerous disease like COVID-19 has affected the world’s climate changes and economic conditions (Abbass et al. 2022 ; Pirasteh-Anosheh et al.  2021 ). The purpose of the present study is to review the status of research on the subject, which is based on “Global Climate Change Impacts, adaptation, and sustainable mitigation measures” by systematically reviewing past published and unpublished research work. Furthermore, the current study seeks to comment on research on the same topic and suggest future research on the same topic. Specifically, the present study aims: The first one is, organize publications to make them easy and quick to find. Secondly, to explore issues in this area, propose an outline of research for future work. The third aim of the study is to synthesize the previous literature on climate change, various sectors, and their mitigation measurement. Lastly , classify the articles according to the different methods and procedures that have been adopted.

Review methodology for reviewers

This review-based article followed systematic literature review techniques that have proved the literature review as a rigorous framework (Benita  2021 ; Tranfield et al.  2003 ). Moreover, we illustrate in Fig.  1 the search method that we have started for this research. First, finalized the research theme to search literature (Cooper et al.  2018 ). Second, used numerous research databases to search related articles and download from the database (Web of Science, Google Scholar, Scopus Index Journals, Emerald, Elsevier Science Direct, Springer, and Sciverse). We focused on various articles, with research articles, feedback pieces, short notes, debates, and review articles published in scholarly journals. Reports used to search for multiple keywords such as “Climate Change,” “Mitigation and Adaptation,” “Department of Agriculture and Human Health,” “Department of Biodiversity and Forestry,” etc.; in summary, keyword list and full text have been made. Initially, the search for keywords yielded a large amount of literature.

figure 1

Source : constructed by authors

Methodology search for finalized articles for investigations.

Since 2020, it has been impossible to review all the articles found; some restrictions have been set for the literature exhibition. The study searched 95 articles on a different database mentioned above based on the nature of the study. It excluded 40 irrelevant papers due to copied from a previous search after readings tiles, abstract and full pieces. The criteria for inclusion were: (i) articles focused on “Global Climate Change Impacts, adaptation, and sustainable mitigation measures,” and (ii) the search key terms related to study requirements. The complete procedure yielded 55 articles for our study. We repeat our search on the “Web of Science and Google Scholars” database to enhance the search results and check the referenced articles.

In this study, 55 articles are reviewed systematically and analyzed for research topics and other aspects, such as the methods, contexts, and theories used in these studies. Furthermore, this study analyzes closely related areas to provide unique research opportunities in the future. The study also discussed future direction opportunities and research questions by understanding the research findings climate changes and other affected sectors. The reviewed paper framework analysis process is outlined in Fig.  2 .

figure 2

Framework of the analysis Process.

Natural disasters and climate change’s socio-economic consequences

Natural and environmental disasters can be highly variable from year to year; some years pass with very few deaths before a significant disaster event claims many lives (Symanski et al.  2021 ). Approximately 60,000 people globally died from natural disasters each year on average over the past decade (Ritchie and Roser  2014 ; Wiranata and Simbolon  2021 ). So, according to the report, around 0.1% of global deaths. Annual variability in the number and share of deaths from natural disasters in recent decades are shown in Fig.  3 . The number of fatalities can be meager—sometimes less than 10,000, and as few as 0.01% of all deaths. But shock events have a devastating impact: the 1983–1985 famine and drought in Ethiopia; the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami; Cyclone Nargis, which struck Myanmar in 2008; and the 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquake in Haiti and now recent example is COVID-19 pandemic (Erman et al.  2021 ). These events pushed global disaster deaths to over 200,000—more than 0.4% of deaths in these years. Low-frequency, high-impact events such as earthquakes and tsunamis are not preventable, but such high losses of human life are. Historical evidence shows that earlier disaster detection, more robust infrastructure, emergency preparedness, and response programmers have substantially reduced disaster deaths worldwide. Low-income is also the most vulnerable to disasters; improving living conditions, facilities, and response services in these areas would be critical in reducing natural disaster deaths in the coming decades.

figure 3

Source EMDAT ( 2020 )

Global deaths from natural disasters, 1978 to 2020.

The interior regions of the continent are likely to be impacted by rising temperatures (Dimri et al.  2018 ; Goes et al.  2020 ; Mannig et al.  2018 ; Schuurmans  2021 ). Weather patterns change due to the shortage of natural resources (water), increase in glacier melting, and rising mercury are likely to cause extinction to many planted species (Gampe et al.  2016 ; Mihiretu et al.  2021 ; Shaffril et al.  2018 ).On the other hand, the coastal ecosystem is on the verge of devastation (Perera et al.  2018 ; Phillips  2018 ). The temperature rises, insect disease outbreaks, health-related problems, and seasonal and lifestyle changes are persistent, with a strong probability of these patterns continuing in the future (Abbass et al. 2021c ; Hussain et al.  2018 ). At the global level, a shortage of good infrastructure and insufficient adaptive capacity are hammering the most (IPCC  2013 ). In addition to the above concerns, a lack of environmental education and knowledge, outdated consumer behavior, a scarcity of incentives, a lack of legislation, and the government’s lack of commitment to climate change contribute to the general public’s concerns. By 2050, a 2 to 3% rise in mercury and a drastic shift in rainfall patterns may have serious consequences (Huang et al. 2022 ; Gorst et al.  2018 ). Natural and environmental calamities caused huge losses globally, such as decreased agriculture outputs, rehabilitation of the system, and rebuilding necessary technologies (Ali and Erenstein  2017 ; Ramankutty et al.  2018 ; Yu et al.  2021 ) (Table 1 ). Furthermore, in the last 3 or 4 years, the world has been plagued by smog-related eye and skin diseases, as well as a rise in road accidents due to poor visibility.

Climate change and agriculture

Global agriculture is the ultimate sector responsible for 30–40% of all greenhouse emissions, which makes it a leading industry predominantly contributing to climate warming and significantly impacted by it (Grieg; Mishra et al.  2021 ; Ortiz et al.  2021 ; Thornton and Lipper  2014 ). Numerous agro-environmental and climatic factors that have a dominant influence on agriculture productivity (Pautasso et al.  2012 ) are significantly impacted in response to precipitation extremes including floods, forest fires, and droughts (Huang  2004 ). Besides, the immense dependency on exhaustible resources also fuels the fire and leads global agriculture to become prone to devastation. Godfray et al. ( 2010 ) mentioned that decline in agriculture challenges the farmer’s quality of life and thus a significant factor to poverty as the food and water supplies are critically impacted by CC (Ortiz et al.  2021 ; Rosenzweig et al.  2014 ). As an essential part of the economic systems, especially in developing countries, agricultural systems affect the overall economy and potentially the well-being of households (Schlenker and Roberts  2009 ). According to the report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, i.e., CH 4, CO 2 , and N 2 O, are increased in the air to extraordinary levels over the last few centuries (Usman and Makhdum 2021 ; Stocker et al.  2013 ). Climate change is the composite outcome of two different factors. The first is the natural causes, and the second is the anthropogenic actions (Karami 2012 ). It is also forecasted that the world may experience a typical rise in temperature stretching from 1 to 3.7 °C at the end of this century (Pachauri et al. 2014 ). The world’s crop production is also highly vulnerable to these global temperature-changing trends as raised temperatures will pose severe negative impacts on crop growth (Reidsma et al. 2009 ). Some of the recent modeling about the fate of global agriculture is briefly described below.

Decline in cereal productivity

Crop productivity will also be affected dramatically in the next few decades due to variations in integral abiotic factors such as temperature, solar radiation, precipitation, and CO 2 . These all factors are included in various regulatory instruments like progress and growth, weather-tempted changes, pest invasions (Cammell and Knight 1992 ), accompanying disease snags (Fand et al. 2012 ), water supplies (Panda et al. 2003 ), high prices of agro-products in world’s agriculture industry, and preeminent quantity of fertilizer consumption. Lobell and field ( 2007 ) claimed that from 1962 to 2002, wheat crop output had condensed significantly due to rising temperatures. Therefore, during 1980–2011, the common wheat productivity trends endorsed extreme temperature events confirmed by Gourdji et al. ( 2013 ) around South Asia, South America, and Central Asia. Various other studies (Asseng, Cao, Zhang, and Ludwig 2009 ; Asseng et al. 2013 ; García et al. 2015 ; Ortiz et al. 2021 ) also proved that wheat output is negatively affected by the rising temperatures and also caused adverse effects on biomass productivity (Calderini et al. 1999 ; Sadras and Slafer 2012 ). Hereafter, the rice crop is also influenced by the high temperatures at night. These difficulties will worsen because the temperature will be rising further in the future owing to CC (Tebaldi et al. 2006 ). Another research conducted in China revealed that a 4.6% of rice production per 1 °C has happened connected with the advancement in night temperatures (Tao et al. 2006 ). Moreover, the average night temperature growth also affected rice indicia cultivar’s output pragmatically during 25 years in the Philippines (Peng et al. 2004 ). It is anticipated that the increase in world average temperature will also cause a substantial reduction in yield (Hatfield et al. 2011 ; Lobell and Gourdji 2012 ). In the southern hemisphere, Parry et al. ( 2007 ) noted a rise of 1–4 °C in average daily temperatures at the end of spring season unti the middle of summers, and this raised temperature reduced crop output by cutting down the time length for phenophases eventually reduce the yield (Hatfield and Prueger 2015 ; R. Ortiz 2008 ). Also, world climate models have recommended that humid and subtropical regions expect to be plentiful prey to the upcoming heat strokes (Battisti and Naylor 2009 ). Grain production is the amalgamation of two constituents: the average weight and the grain output/m 2 , however, in crop production. Crop output is mainly accredited to the grain quantity (Araus et al. 2008 ; Gambín and Borrás 2010 ). In the times of grain set, yield resources are mainly strewn between hitherto defined components, i.e., grain usual weight and grain output, which presents a trade-off between them (Gambín and Borrás 2010 ) beside disparities in per grain integration (B. L. Gambín et al. 2006 ). In addition to this, the maize crop is also susceptible to raised temperatures, principally in the flowering stage (Edreira and Otegui 2013 ). In reality, the lower grain number is associated with insufficient acclimatization due to intense photosynthesis and higher respiration and the high-temperature effect on the reproduction phenomena (Edreira and Otegui 2013 ). During the flowering phase, maize visible to heat (30–36 °C) seemed less anthesis-silking intermissions (Edreira et al. 2011 ). Another research by Dupuis and Dumas ( 1990 ) proved that a drop in spikelet when directly visible to high temperatures above 35 °C in vitro pollination. Abnormalities in kernel number claimed by Vega et al. ( 2001 ) is related to conceded plant development during a flowering phase that is linked with the active ear growth phase and categorized as a critical phase for approximation of kernel number during silking (Otegui and Bonhomme 1998 ).

The retort of rice output to high temperature presents disparities in flowering patterns, and seed set lessens and lessens grain weight (Qasim et al. 2020 ; Qasim, Hammad, Maqsood, Tariq, & Chawla). During the daytime, heat directly impacts flowers which lessens the thesis period and quickens the earlier peak flowering (Tao et al. 2006 ). Antagonistic effect of higher daytime temperature d on pollen sprouting proposed seed set decay, whereas, seed set was lengthily reduced than could be explicated by pollen growing at high temperatures 40◦C (Matsui et al. 2001 ).

The decline in wheat output is linked with higher temperatures, confirmed in numerous studies (Semenov 2009 ; Stone and Nicolas 1994 ). High temperatures fast-track the arrangements of plant expansion (Blum et al. 2001 ), diminution photosynthetic process (Salvucci and Crafts‐Brandner 2004 ), and also considerably affect the reproductive operations (Farooq et al. 2011 ).

The destructive impacts of CC induced weather extremes to deteriorate the integrity of crops (Chaudhary et al. 2011 ), e.g., Spartan cold and extreme fog cause falling and discoloration of betel leaves (Rosenzweig et al. 2001 ), giving them a somehow reddish appearance, squeezing of lemon leaves (Pautasso et al. 2012 ), as well as root rot of pineapple, have reported (Vedwan and Rhoades 2001 ). Henceforth, in tackling the disruptive effects of CC, several short-term and long-term management approaches are the crucial need of time (Fig.  4 ). Moreover, various studies (Chaudhary et al. 2011 ; Patz et al. 2005 ; Pautasso et al. 2012 ) have demonstrated adapting trends such as ameliorating crop diversity can yield better adaptability towards CC.

figure 4

Schematic description of potential impacts of climate change on the agriculture sector and the appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures to overcome its impact.

Climate change impacts on biodiversity

Global biodiversity is among the severe victims of CC because it is the fastest emerging cause of species loss. Studies demonstrated that the massive scale species dynamics are considerably associated with diverse climatic events (Abraham and Chain 1988 ; Manes et al. 2021 ; A. M. D. Ortiz et al. 2021 ). Both the pace and magnitude of CC are altering the compatible habitat ranges for living entities of marine, freshwater, and terrestrial regions. Alterations in general climate regimes influence the integrity of ecosystems in numerous ways, such as variation in the relative abundance of species, range shifts, changes in activity timing, and microhabitat use (Bates et al. 2014 ). The geographic distribution of any species often depends upon its ability to tolerate environmental stresses, biological interactions, and dispersal constraints. Hence, instead of the CC, the local species must only accept, adapt, move, or face extinction (Berg et al. 2010 ). So, the best performer species have a better survival capacity for adjusting to new ecosystems or a decreased perseverance to survive where they are already situated (Bates et al. 2014 ). An important aspect here is the inadequate habitat connectivity and access to microclimates, also crucial in raising the exposure to climate warming and extreme heatwave episodes. For example, the carbon sequestration rates are undergoing fluctuations due to climate-driven expansion in the range of global mangroves (Cavanaugh et al. 2014 ).

Similarly, the loss of kelp-forest ecosystems in various regions and its occupancy by the seaweed turfs has set the track for elevated herbivory by the high influx of tropical fish populations. Not only this, the increased water temperatures have exacerbated the conditions far away from the physiological tolerance level of the kelp communities (Vergés et al. 2016 ; Wernberg et al. 2016 ). Another pertinent danger is the devastation of keystone species, which even has more pervasive effects on the entire communities in that habitat (Zarnetske et al. 2012 ). It is particularly important as CC does not specify specific populations or communities. Eventually, this CC-induced redistribution of species may deteriorate carbon storage and the net ecosystem productivity (Weed et al. 2013 ). Among the typical disruptions, the prominent ones include impacts on marine and terrestrial productivity, marine community assembly, and the extended invasion of toxic cyanobacteria bloom (Fossheim et al. 2015 ).

The CC-impacted species extinction is widely reported in the literature (Beesley et al. 2019 ; Urban 2015 ), and the predictions of demise until the twenty-first century are dreadful (Abbass et al. 2019 ; Pereira et al. 2013 ). In a few cases, northward shifting of species may not be formidable as it allows mountain-dwelling species to find optimum climates. However, the migrant species may be trapped in isolated and incompatible habitats due to losing topography and range (Dullinger et al. 2012 ). For example, a study indicated that the American pika has been extirpated or intensely diminished in some regions, primarily attributed to the CC-impacted extinction or at least local extirpation (Stewart et al. 2015 ). Besides, the anticipation of persistent responses to the impacts of CC often requires data records of several decades to rigorously analyze the critical pre and post CC patterns at species and ecosystem levels (Manes et al. 2021 ; Testa et al. 2018 ).

Nonetheless, the availability of such long-term data records is rare; hence, attempts are needed to focus on these profound aspects. Biodiversity is also vulnerable to the other associated impacts of CC, such as rising temperatures, droughts, and certain invasive pest species. For instance, a study revealed the changes in the composition of plankton communities attributed to rising temperatures. Henceforth, alterations in such aquatic producer communities, i.e., diatoms and calcareous plants, can ultimately lead to variation in the recycling of biological carbon. Moreover, such changes are characterized as a potential contributor to CO 2 differences between the Pleistocene glacial and interglacial periods (Kohfeld et al. 2005 ).

Climate change implications on human health

It is an understood corporality that human health is a significant victim of CC (Costello et al. 2009 ). According to the WHO, CC might be responsible for 250,000 additional deaths per year during 2030–2050 (Watts et al. 2015 ). These deaths are attributed to extreme weather-induced mortality and morbidity and the global expansion of vector-borne diseases (Lemery et al. 2021; Yang and Usman 2021 ; Meierrieks 2021 ; UNEP 2017 ). Here, some of the emerging health issues pertinent to this global problem are briefly described.

Climate change and antimicrobial resistance with corresponding economic costs

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an up-surging complex global health challenge (Garner et al. 2019 ; Lemery et al. 2021 ). Health professionals across the globe are extremely worried due to this phenomenon that has critical potential to reverse almost all the progress that has been achieved so far in the health discipline (Gosling and Arnell 2016 ). A massive amount of antibiotics is produced by many pharmaceutical industries worldwide, and the pathogenic microorganisms are gradually developing resistance to them, which can be comprehended how strongly this aspect can shake the foundations of national and global economies (UNEP 2017 ). This statement is supported by the fact that AMR is not developing in a particular region or country. Instead, it is flourishing in every continent of the world (WHO 2018 ). This plague is heavily pushing humanity to the post-antibiotic era, in which currently antibiotic-susceptible pathogens will once again lead to certain endemics and pandemics after being resistant(WHO 2018 ). Undesirably, if this statement would become a factuality, there might emerge certain risks in undertaking sophisticated interventions such as chemotherapy, joint replacement cases, and organ transplantation (Su et al. 2018 ). Presently, the amplification of drug resistance cases has made common illnesses like pneumonia, post-surgical infections, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, etc., too difficult and costly to be treated or cure well (WHO 2018 ). From a simple example, it can be assumed how easily antibiotic-resistant strains can be transmitted from one person to another and ultimately travel across the boundaries (Berendonk et al. 2015 ). Talking about the second- and third-generation classes of antibiotics, e.g., most renowned generations of cephalosporin antibiotics that are more expensive, broad-spectrum, more toxic, and usually require more extended periods whenever prescribed to patients (Lemery et al. 2021 ; Pärnänen et al. 2019 ). This scenario has also revealed that the abundance of resistant strains of pathogens was also higher in the Southern part (WHO 2018 ). As southern parts are generally warmer than their counterparts, it is evident from this example how CC-induced global warming can augment the spread of antibiotic-resistant strains within the biosphere, eventually putting additional economic burden in the face of developing new and costlier antibiotics. The ARG exchange to susceptible bacteria through one of the potential mechanisms, transformation, transduction, and conjugation; Selection pressure can be caused by certain antibiotics, metals or pesticides, etc., as shown in Fig.  5 .

figure 5

Source: Elsayed et al. ( 2021 ); Karkman et al. ( 2018 )

A typical interaction between the susceptible and resistant strains.

Certain studies highlighted that conventional urban wastewater treatment plants are typical hotspots where most bacterial strains exchange genetic material through horizontal gene transfer (Fig.  5 ). Although at present, the extent of risks associated with the antibiotic resistance found in wastewater is complicated; environmental scientists and engineers have particular concerns about the potential impacts of these antibiotic resistance genes on human health (Ashbolt 2015 ). At most undesirable and worst case, these antibiotic-resistant genes containing bacteria can make their way to enter into the environment (Pruden et al. 2013 ), irrigation water used for crops and public water supplies and ultimately become a part of food chains and food webs (Ma et al. 2019 ; D. Wu et al. 2019 ). This problem has been reported manifold in several countries (Hendriksen et al. 2019 ), where wastewater as a means of irrigated water is quite common.

Climate change and vector borne-diseases

Temperature is a fundamental factor for the sustenance of living entities regardless of an ecosystem. So, a specific living being, especially a pathogen, requires a sophisticated temperature range to exist on earth. The second essential component of CC is precipitation, which also impacts numerous infectious agents’ transport and dissemination patterns. Global rising temperature is a significant cause of many species extinction. On the one hand, this changing environmental temperature may be causing species extinction, and on the other, this warming temperature might favor the thriving of some new organisms. Here, it was evident that some pathogens may also upraise once non-evident or reported (Patz et al. 2000 ). This concept can be exemplified through certain pathogenic strains of microorganisms that how the likelihood of various diseases increases in response to climate warming-induced environmental changes (Table 2 ).

A recent example is an outburst of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Republic of China, causing pneumonia and severe acute respiratory complications (Cui et al. 2021 ; Song et al. 2021 ). The large family of viruses is harbored in numerous animals, bats, and snakes in particular (livescience.com) with the subsequent transfer into human beings. Hence, it is worth noting that the thriving of numerous vectors involved in spreading various diseases is influenced by Climate change (Ogden 2018 ; Santos et al. 2021 ).

Psychological impacts of climate change

Climate change (CC) is responsible for the rapid dissemination and exaggeration of certain epidemics and pandemics. In addition to the vast apparent impacts of climate change on health, forestry, agriculture, etc., it may also have psychological implications on vulnerable societies. It can be exemplified through the recent outburst of (COVID-19) in various countries around the world (Pal 2021 ). Besides, the victims of this viral infection have made healthy beings scarier and terrified. In the wake of such epidemics, people with common colds or fever are also frightened and must pass specific regulatory protocols. Living in such situations continuously terrifies the public and makes the stress familiar, which eventually makes them psychologically weak (npr.org).

CC boosts the extent of anxiety, distress, and other issues in public, pushing them to develop various mental-related problems. Besides, frequent exposure to extreme climatic catastrophes such as geological disasters also imprints post-traumatic disorder, and their ubiquitous occurrence paves the way to developing chronic psychological dysfunction. Moreover, repetitive listening from media also causes an increase in the person’s stress level (Association 2020 ). Similarly, communities living in flood-prone areas constantly live in extreme fear of drowning and die by floods. In addition to human lives, the flood-induced destruction of physical infrastructure is a specific reason for putting pressure on these communities (Ogden 2018 ). For instance, Ogden ( 2018 ) comprehensively denoted that Katrina’s Hurricane augmented the mental health issues in the victim communities.

Climate change impacts on the forestry sector

Forests are the global regulators of the world’s climate (FAO 2018 ) and have an indispensable role in regulating global carbon and nitrogen cycles (Rehman et al. 2021 ; Reichstein and Carvalhais 2019 ). Hence, disturbances in forest ecology affect the micro and macro-climates (Ellison et al. 2017 ). Climate warming, in return, has profound impacts on the growth and productivity of transboundary forests by influencing the temperature and precipitation patterns, etc. As CC induces specific changes in the typical structure and functions of ecosystems (Zhang et al. 2017 ) as well impacts forest health, climate change also has several devastating consequences such as forest fires, droughts, pest outbreaks (EPA 2018 ), and last but not the least is the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities. The rising frequency and intensity of another CC product, i.e., droughts, pose plenty of challenges to the well-being of global forests (Diffenbaugh et al. 2017 ), which is further projected to increase soon (Hartmann et al. 2018 ; Lehner et al. 2017 ; Rehman et al. 2021 ). Hence, CC induces storms, with more significant impacts also put extra pressure on the survival of the global forests (Martínez-Alvarado et al. 2018 ), significantly since their influences are augmented during higher winter precipitations with corresponding wetter soils causing weak root anchorage of trees (Brázdil et al. 2018 ). Surging temperature regimes causes alterations in usual precipitation patterns, which is a significant hurdle for the survival of temperate forests (Allen et al. 2010 ; Flannigan et al. 2013 ), letting them encounter severe stress and disturbances which adversely affects the local tree species (Hubbart et al. 2016 ; Millar and Stephenson 2015 ; Rehman et al. 2021 ).

Climate change impacts on forest-dependent communities

Forests are the fundamental livelihood resource for about 1.6 billion people worldwide; out of them, 350 million are distinguished with relatively higher reliance (Bank 2008 ). Agro-forestry-dependent communities comprise 1.2 billion, and 60 million indigenous people solely rely on forests and their products to sustain their lives (Sunderlin et al. 2005 ). For example, in the entire African continent, more than 2/3rd of inhabitants depend on forest resources and woodlands for their alimonies, e.g., food, fuelwood and grazing (Wasiq and Ahmad 2004 ). The livings of these people are more intensely affected by the climatic disruptions making their lives harder (Brown et al. 2014 ). On the one hand, forest communities are incredibly vulnerable to CC due to their livelihoods, cultural and spiritual ties as well as socio-ecological connections, and on the other, they are not familiar with the term “climate change.” (Rahman and Alam 2016 ). Among the destructive impacts of temperature and rainfall, disruption of the agroforestry crops with resultant downscale growth and yield (Macchi et al. 2008 ). Cruz ( 2015 ) ascribed that forest-dependent smallholder farmers in the Philippines face the enigma of delayed fruiting, more severe damages by insect and pest incidences due to unfavorable temperature regimes, and changed rainfall patterns.

Among these series of challenges to forest communities, their well-being is also distinctly vulnerable to CC. Though the detailed climate change impacts on human health have been comprehensively mentioned in the previous section, some studies have listed a few more devastating effects on the prosperity of forest-dependent communities. For instance, the Himalayan people have been experiencing frequent skin-borne diseases such as malaria and other skin diseases due to increasing mosquitoes, wild boar as well, and new wasps species, particularly in higher altitudes that were almost non-existent before last 5–10 years (Xu et al. 2008 ). Similarly, people living at high altitudes in Bangladesh have experienced frequent mosquito-borne calamities (Fardous; Sharma 2012 ). In addition, the pace of other waterborne diseases such as infectious diarrhea, cholera, pathogenic induced abdominal complications and dengue has also been boosted in other distinguished regions of Bangladesh (Cell 2009 ; Gunter et al. 2008 ).

Pest outbreak

Upscaling hotter climate may positively affect the mobile organisms with shorter generation times because they can scurry from harsh conditions than the immobile species (Fettig et al. 2013 ; Schoene and Bernier 2012 ) and are also relatively more capable of adapting to new environments (Jactel et al. 2019 ). It reveals that insects adapt quickly to global warming due to their mobility advantages. Due to past outbreaks, the trees (forests) are relatively more susceptible victims (Kurz et al. 2008 ). Before CC, the influence of factors mentioned earlier, i.e., droughts and storms, was existent and made the forests susceptible to insect pest interventions; however, the global forests remain steadfast, assiduous, and green (Jactel et al. 2019 ). The typical reasons could be the insect herbivores were regulated by several tree defenses and pressures of predation (Wilkinson and Sherratt 2016 ). As climate greatly influences these phenomena, the global forests cannot be so sedulous against such challenges (Jactel et al. 2019 ). Table 3 demonstrates some of the particular considerations with practical examples that are essential while mitigating the impacts of CC in the forestry sector.

Climate change impacts on tourism

Tourism is a commercial activity that has roots in multi-dimensions and an efficient tool with adequate job generation potential, revenue creation, earning of spectacular foreign exchange, enhancement in cross-cultural promulgation and cooperation, a business tool for entrepreneurs and eventually for the country’s national development (Arshad et al. 2018 ; Scott 2021 ). Among a plethora of other disciplines, the tourism industry is also a distinct victim of climate warming (Gössling et al. 2012 ; Hall et al. 2015 ) as the climate is among the essential resources that enable tourism in particular regions as most preferred locations. Different places at different times of the year attract tourists both within and across the countries depending upon the feasibility and compatibility of particular weather patterns. Hence, the massive variations in these weather patterns resulting from CC will eventually lead to monumental challenges to the local economy in that specific area’s particular and national economy (Bujosa et al. 2015 ). For instance, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report demonstrated that the global tourism industry had faced a considerable decline in the duration of ski season, including the loss of some ski areas and the dramatic shifts in tourist destinations’ climate warming.

Furthermore, different studies (Neuvonen et al. 2015 ; Scott et al. 2004 ) indicated that various currently perfect tourist spots, e.g., coastal areas, splendid islands, and ski resorts, will suffer consequences of CC. It is also worth noting that the quality and potential of administrative management potential to cope with the influence of CC on the tourism industry is of crucial significance, which renders specific strengths of resiliency to numerous destinations to withstand against it (Füssel and Hildén 2014 ). Similarly, in the partial or complete absence of adequate socio-economic and socio-political capital, the high-demanding tourist sites scurry towards the verge of vulnerability. The susceptibility of tourism is based on different components such as the extent of exposure, sensitivity, life-supporting sectors, and capacity assessment factors (Füssel and Hildén 2014 ). It is obvious corporality that sectors such as health, food, ecosystems, human habitat, infrastructure, water availability, and the accessibility of a particular region are prone to CC. Henceforth, the sensitivity of these critical sectors to CC and, in return, the adaptive measures are a hallmark in determining the composite vulnerability of climate warming (Ionescu et al. 2009 ).

Moreover, the dependence on imported food items, poor hygienic conditions, and inadequate health professionals are dominant aspects affecting the local terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity. Meanwhile, the greater dependency on ecosystem services and its products also makes a destination more fragile to become a prey of CC (Rizvi et al. 2015 ). Some significant non-climatic factors are important indicators of a particular ecosystem’s typical health and functioning, e.g., resource richness and abundance portray the picture of ecosystem stability. Similarly, the species abundance is also a productive tool that ensures that the ecosystem has a higher buffering capacity, which is terrific in terms of resiliency (Roscher et al. 2013 ).

Climate change impacts on the economic sector

Climate plays a significant role in overall productivity and economic growth. Due to its increasingly global existence and its effect on economic growth, CC has become one of the major concerns of both local and international environmental policymakers (Ferreira et al. 2020 ; Gleditsch 2021 ; Abbass et al. 2021b ; Lamperti et al. 2021 ). The adverse effects of CC on the overall productivity factor of the agricultural sector are therefore significant for understanding the creation of local adaptation policies and the composition of productive climate policy contracts. Previous studies on CC in the world have already forecasted its effects on the agricultural sector. Researchers have found that global CC will impact the agricultural sector in different world regions. The study of the impacts of CC on various agrarian activities in other demographic areas and the development of relative strategies to respond to effects has become a focal point for researchers (Chandioet al. 2020 ; Gleditsch 2021 ; Mosavi et al. 2020 ).

With the rapid growth of global warming since the 1980s, the temperature has started increasing globally, which resulted in the incredible transformation of rain and evaporation in the countries. The agricultural development of many countries has been reliant, delicate, and susceptible to CC for a long time, and it is on the development of agriculture total factor productivity (ATFP) influence different crops and yields of farmers (Alhassan 2021 ; Wu  2020 ).

Food security and natural disasters are increasing rapidly in the world. Several major climatic/natural disasters have impacted local crop production in the countries concerned. The effects of these natural disasters have been poorly controlled by the development of the economies and populations and may affect human life as well. One example is China, which is among the world’s most affected countries, vulnerable to natural disasters due to its large population, harsh environmental conditions, rapid CC, low environmental stability, and disaster power. According to the January 2016 statistical survey, China experienced an economic loss of 298.3 billion Yuan, and about 137 million Chinese people were severely affected by various natural disasters (Xie et al. 2018 ).

Mitigation and adaptation strategies of climate changes

Adaptation and mitigation are the crucial factors to address the response to CC (Jahanzad et al. 2020 ). Researchers define mitigation on climate changes, and on the other hand, adaptation directly impacts climate changes like floods. To some extent, mitigation reduces or moderates greenhouse gas emission, and it becomes a critical issue both economically and environmentally (Botzen et al. 2021 ; Jahanzad et al. 2020 ; Kongsager 2018 ; Smit et al. 2000 ; Vale et al. 2021 ; Usman et al. 2021 ; Verheyen 2005 ).

Researchers have deep concern about the adaptation and mitigation methodologies in sectoral and geographical contexts. Agriculture, industry, forestry, transport, and land use are the main sectors to adapt and mitigate policies(Kärkkäinen et al. 2020 ; Waheed et al. 2021 ). Adaptation and mitigation require particular concern both at the national and international levels. The world has faced a significant problem of climate change in the last decades, and adaptation to these effects is compulsory for economic and social development. To adapt and mitigate against CC, one should develop policies and strategies at the international level (Hussain et al. 2020 ). Figure  6 depicts the list of current studies on sectoral impacts of CC with adaptation and mitigation measures globally.

figure 6

Sectoral impacts of climate change with adaptation and mitigation measures.

Conclusion and future perspectives

Specific socio-agricultural, socio-economic, and physical systems are the cornerstone of psychological well-being, and the alteration in these systems by CC will have disastrous impacts. Climate variability, alongside other anthropogenic and natural stressors, influences human and environmental health sustainability. Food security is another concerning scenario that may lead to compromised food quality, higher food prices, and inadequate food distribution systems. Global forests are challenged by different climatic factors such as storms, droughts, flash floods, and intense precipitation. On the other hand, their anthropogenic wiping is aggrandizing their existence. Undoubtedly, the vulnerability scale of the world’s regions differs; however, appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures can aid the decision-making bodies in developing effective policies to tackle its impacts. Presently, modern life on earth has tailored to consistent climatic patterns, and accordingly, adapting to such considerable variations is of paramount importance. Because the faster changes in climate will make it harder to survive and adjust, this globally-raising enigma calls for immediate attention at every scale ranging from elementary community level to international level. Still, much effort, research, and dedication are required, which is the most critical time. Some policy implications can help us to mitigate the consequences of climate change, especially the most affected sectors like the agriculture sector;

Seasonal variations and cultivation practices

Warming might lengthen the season in frost-prone growing regions (temperate and arctic zones), allowing for longer-maturing seasonal cultivars with better yields (Pfadenhauer 2020 ; Bonacci 2019 ). Extending the planting season may allow additional crops each year; when warming leads to frequent warmer months highs over critical thresholds, a split season with a brief summer fallow may be conceivable for short-period crops such as wheat barley, cereals, and many other vegetable crops. The capacity to prolong the planting season in tropical and subtropical places where the harvest season is constrained by precipitation or agriculture farming occurs after the year may be more limited and dependent on how precipitation patterns vary (Wu et al. 2017 ).

New varieties of crops

The genetic component is comprehensive for many yields, but it is restricted like kiwi fruit for a few. Ali et al. ( 2017 ) investigated how new crops will react to climatic changes (also stated in Mall et al. 2017 ). Hot temperature, drought, insect resistance; salt tolerance; and overall crop production and product quality increases would all be advantageous (Akkari 2016 ). Genetic mapping and engineering can introduce a greater spectrum of features. The adoption of genetically altered cultivars has been slowed, particularly in the early forecasts owing to the complexity in ensuring features are expediently expressed throughout the entire plant, customer concerns, economic profitability, and regulatory impediments (Wirehn 2018 ; Davidson et al. 2016 ).

Changes in management and other input factors

To get the full benefit of the CO 2 would certainly require additional nitrogen and other fertilizers. Nitrogen not consumed by the plants may be excreted into groundwater, discharged into water surface, or emitted from the land, soil nitrous oxide when large doses of fertilizer are sprayed. Increased nitrogen levels in groundwater sources have been related to human chronic illnesses and impact marine ecosystems. Cultivation, grain drying, and other field activities have all been examined in depth in the studies (Barua et al. 2018 ).

The technological and socio-economic adaptation

The policy consequence of the causative conclusion is that as a source of alternative energy, biofuel production is one of the routes that explain oil price volatility separate from international macroeconomic factors. Even though biofuel production has just begun in a few sample nations, there is still a tremendous worldwide need for feedstock to satisfy industrial expansion in China and the USA, which explains the food price relationship to the global oil price. Essentially, oil-exporting countries may create incentives in their economies to increase food production. It may accomplish by giving farmers financing, seedlings, fertilizers, and farming equipment. Because of the declining global oil price and, as a result, their earnings from oil export, oil-producing nations may be unable to subsidize food imports even in the near term. As a result, these countries can boost the agricultural value chain for export. It may be accomplished through R&D and adding value to their food products to increase income by correcting exchange rate misalignment and adverse trade terms. These nations may also diversify their economies away from oil, as dependence on oil exports alone is no longer economically viable given the extreme volatility of global oil prices. Finally, resource-rich and oil-exporting countries can convert to non-food renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro, coal, wind, wave, and tidal energy. By doing so, both world food and oil supplies would be maintained rather than harmed.

IRENA’s modeling work shows that, if a comprehensive policy framework is in place, efforts toward decarbonizing the energy future will benefit economic activity, jobs (outweighing losses in the fossil fuel industry), and welfare. Countries with weak domestic supply chains and a large reliance on fossil fuel income, in particular, must undertake structural reforms to capitalize on the opportunities inherent in the energy transition. Governments continue to give major policy assistance to extract fossil fuels, including tax incentives, financing, direct infrastructure expenditures, exemptions from environmental regulations, and other measures. The majority of major oil and gas producing countries intend to increase output. Some countries intend to cut coal output, while others plan to maintain or expand it. While some nations are beginning to explore and execute policies aimed at a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuel production, these efforts have yet to impact major producing countries’ plans and goals. Verifiable and comparable data on fossil fuel output and assistance from governments and industries are critical to closing the production gap. Governments could increase openness by declaring their production intentions in their climate obligations under the Paris Agreement.

It is firmly believed that achieving the Paris Agreement commitments is doubtlful without undergoing renewable energy transition across the globe (Murshed 2020 ; Zhao et al. 2022 ). Policy instruments play the most important role in determining the degree of investment in renewable energy technology. This study examines the efficacy of various policy strategies in the renewable energy industry of multiple nations. Although its impact is more visible in established renewable energy markets, a renewable portfolio standard is also a useful policy instrument. The cost of producing renewable energy is still greater than other traditional energy sources. Furthermore, government incentives in the R&D sector can foster innovation in this field, resulting in cost reductions in the renewable energy industry. These nations may export their technologies and share their policy experiences by forming networks among their renewable energy-focused organizations. All policy measures aim to reduce production costs while increasing the proportion of renewables to a country’s energy system. Meanwhile, long-term contracts with renewable energy providers, government commitment and control, and the establishment of long-term goals can assist developing nations in deploying renewable energy technology in their energy sector.

Availability of data and material

Data sources and relevant links are provided in the paper to access data.

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Kashif Abbass, Huaming Song & Ijaz Younis

Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution Control and Resources Reuse, School of Environmental and Biological Engineering, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Xiaolingwei 200, Nanjing, 210094, People’s Republic of China

Muhammad Zeeshan Qasim

School of Business and Economics, North South University, Dhaka, 1229, Bangladesh

Muntasir Murshed

Department of Journalism, Media and Communications, Daffodil International University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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KA: Writing the original manuscript, data collection, data analysis, Study design, Formal analysis, Visualization, Revised draft, Writing-review, and editing. MZQ: Writing the original manuscript, data collection, data analysis, Writing-review, and editing. HS: Contribution to the contextualization of the theme, Conceptualization, Validation, Supervision, literature review, Revised drapt, and writing review and editing. MM: Writing review and editing, compiling the literature review, language editing. HM: Writing review and editing, compiling the literature review, language editing. IY: Contribution to the contextualization of the theme, literature review, and writing review and editing.

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Abbass, K., Qasim, M.Z., Song, H. et al. A review of the global climate change impacts, adaptation, and sustainable mitigation measures. Environ Sci Pollut Res 29 , 42539–42559 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-022-19718-6

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Received : 26 August 2021

Accepted : 10 March 2022

Published : 04 April 2022

Issue Date : June 2022

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-022-19718-6

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