Climate Change, Too Lethal For The Poor

Climate change and poor are deeply intertwined, climate change disproportionately affects the poor people in low-income communities in developing countries across the world.

Changes in long term weather patterns or averages due to natural or external forces attributed directly or indirectly to human activity are referred to as climate change.

More than 2 billion people which is approximately one third of the global population are living in poverty and they face persistent threats to their livelihoods especially from climate changes.

Globally, 75% of people living in poverty in rural areas depend on natural resources such as forests, dames, lakes and oceans for their livelihoods, hence they are on the frontliners of more frequent bushfires, droughts, cyclones and other disasters driven by climate change.

Despite gaining worldwide recognition over the past decade, climate change is frequently understood differently by different communities.

Estimates by UNDP indicates that by 2030 more than 100 million people could be displaced due to more frequent and severe climatic disasters.

Climate Change causes people to lose their means of subsistence, compels families to change their lives and derives people deeper into poverty.

“Born Too Soon” Report

The report is calling for global action to prevent preterm births . Statistics in the report highlight that 1 in 10 babies are born prematurely worldwide. Contributing to this is the imminent threat of climate change- the report indicates that extreme heat exposure increases the risk of preterm birth by 16 percent.

In 2020, almost 1 million newborns died due to complications of preterm birth. Those that survive face an increased risk of disabilities such as epilepsy, learning disabilities and cardiovascular conditions which have lifelong impacts on them and their families.

The intersection of extreme heat with inequality and coverage of health services also impacts on the management of preterm birth.

Despite this, maternal newborn health is under represented in climate policy documentation.

An analysis of 50 national and international climate policy documents showed that only 12 percent referred to maternal health.

“Climate change and especially higher ambient temperatures, is a clear evidence based threat that will have increasing adverse health impacts, including on preterm birth”, says Professor Stanely Lutchters.

COP 24 held recently in Poland highlight that unless urgent action is taken under the Paris Agreement, climate change will catalyse a resurgence of poverty and decelerate progress across sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Arab Region Is the world’s most food import dependent and water insecure region.

More than 40 percent of its 357 million population is already exposed to drought and other climatic disasters and this will increase as temperatures rise faster than the global average by as much as five Degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

Social Protection systems play a key role in combating poverty and help build climate resilience of the poor.

Adaptive Social Protection (ASP)

These approaches help communities anticipate, absorb and adapt to climate risk through solutions like:

  1. cash transfers before and after climate disasters
  2. subsidies to enhance food and water security for affected communities
  3. employment generating programmes around climate resilient infrastructure
  4. use of weather indexed insurance for farmers and
  5. systems to facilitate mobility and effective resettlement for climate affected communities.

The negative impacts of climate change are felt more severely by low-income countries and people living in poverty.

This is because they tend to depend on natural resources for their day-to-day survival and they have limited capacity to cope with the extremes climate change brings.

It is critical for communities to comprehend climate change because human activity is the primary driver of the emissions and atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Understanding how climate change is perceived and how to adapt to it is crucial because it may be used to support specific policies that target issues in vulnerable sectors.

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