Reference work entry
Environmental effect, environmental damage, and environmental consequence are sometimes used as synonyms of environmental impact although they are located later in the causality chain that links an activity to its consequences. The activity (e.g., burning of fossil fuels) may cause an impact (e.g., increase of the concentration of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) that leads to an effect (increased radiative forcing of the atmosphere) that as a consequence has an increased global average temperature in the atmosphere which as a consequence has sea-level rise leading to damage to coastal land ecosystems (Hauschild and Wenzel 1998). Some confusion about the terms stems from the fact that the effect of one impact becomes in itself an impact with other effects and so forth along the cause-effect chain (see example of cause-effect chain in Fig. 1).
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