A new preliminary report by the United Nations Human Rights Council has suggested that climate change may result in hundreds of millions of people being pushed back into poverty, thus potentially cancelling the past fifty years of progress in worth health and poverty reduction. Climate change, according to the report, can easily result in food shortages, forced migration, diseases and more.
The authors of the report make the claim that 120 million people will be pushed into poverty by 2030 as a result of climate change. It gives some rather shocking statistics, including that since 2000 poor people were 7 times as likely to die of natural disasters than rich people, and that while 3.5 billion people are responsible for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, the wealthiest 10% of people in the world is responsible for half of the emissions.
“In a perverse way,” the report points out, “the richest, who have greater capacity to adapt and are responsible for the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions, will be the best placed to deal with climate change, while the poorest, who have contributed less to emissions and have less reaction capacity, will be the most affected. A simple fact: a person in the top 1% of the richest on the planet generates 175 times more CO2 than one who is among the 10% poorest.”
The report concludes as follows: “The human rights community, with some notable exceptions, has been as accommodating as most governments in the face of the challenge to humanity represented by the climate change. The steps taken by most United Nations human rights bodies have obviously been inadequate given the urgency and magnitude of the threat. This report has identified a series of steps that must be taken to begin rectifying this fact that human rights cannot survive the coming turmoil. It has also sought to highlight the fact that the most affected will be those living in poverty. Climate change is, among other things, an excessive assault on the poor.”
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