World faces ‘climate apartheid’ risk, 120 more million in poverty: UN expert

UNICEF/Wikus De Wet Two young men walk in the flooded Shibaburi area of Pemba after heavy rains poured down in the Pemba region of Mozambique (April 2019).

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Climate change “threatens to undo the last 50 years” of development, global health and poverty reduction, a United Nations expert said on Tuesday, citing the risk of a new era of “climate apartheid” where the rich buy their way out of rising heat and hunger.

“Even if current targets are met, tens of millions will be impoverished, leading to widespread displacement and hunger,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston.

Underscoring that climate change will have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable, he added that “it could push more than 120 million more people into poverty by 2030 and will have the most severe impact in poor countries, regions, and the places poor people live and work.”

Even in the best-case scenario of a 1.5°C temperature increase by 2100, extreme temperatures in many regions will leave disadvantaged populations food insecure, with less incomes and worsening health.

Moreover, many will have to choose between starvation and migration, he said.

“Perversely, while people in poverty are responsible for just a fraction of global emissions, they will bear the brunt of climate change, and have the least capacity to protect themselves,” Mr. Alston flagged.

“We risk a ‘climate apartheid’ scenario where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer.”

Climate change carries immense implications for human rights, including to life, food, housing and water. It will also impact democracy said Mr. Alston, as governments struggle to cope with climate consequences and persuade constituents to accept the major social and economic transformations required – rendering civil and political rights vulnerable.

“Most human rights bodies have barely begun to grapple with what climate change portends for human rights, and it remains one on a long laundry list of ‘issues’, despite the extraordinarily short time to avoid catastrophic consequences,” he asserted.

“As a full-blown crisis that threatens the human rights of vast numbers of people bears down, the usual piecemeal, issue-by-issue human rights methodology is woefully insufficient”, the UN expert added.

“States have marched past every scientific warning and threshold, and what was once considered catastrophic warming now seems like a best-case scenario,” Mr. Alston forecast. “Even today, too many countries are taking short-sighted steps in the wrong direction.”

States are even failing to meet their current carbon emissions reduction and climate financing commitments and continue to subsidize the fossil fuel industry with $5.2 trillion per year.

“Maintaining the current course is a recipe for economic catastrophe,” Mr. Alston spelled out, noting that while economic prosperity and environmental sustainability are “fully compatible”, they require “decoupling economic well-being and poverty reduction from fossil fuel emissions.”

This transition needs local policies to support displaced workers and ensure quality jobs.

“A robust social safety net will be the best response to the unavoidable harms that climate change will bring,” Mr. Alston explained, saying that this “should be a catalyst” for states to fulfil “long ignored and overlooked economic and social rights”, including to social security and access to food, healthcare, shelter, and decent work.

“If climate change is used to justify business-friendly policies and widespread privatization, exploitation of natural resources and global warming may be accelerated rather than prevented,” argued the UN expert.

“There is no shortage of alarm bells ringing over climate change, and an increase in biblical-level extreme weather events appear to be finally piercing through the noise, misinformation, and complacency, but these positive signs are no reason for contentment,” Mr. Alston concluded. “A reckoning with the scale of the change that is needed is just the first step.”

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Appalling overall unemployment in Eurozone at 20.6%

UN condemns deadly attack on Burkina Faso church

Iran-US attack in Iraq: Guterres pledges ‘active engagement’ in further de-escalation efforts

Peace operations benefit from improved cooperation between the UN and troop-providing countries, says peacekeeping chief

Here’s how we make the internet safer for children

A 3-step path to securing critical infrastructure

EU-Turkey leaders’ meeting, 9 March 2020

Davos on Climate Change: citizens demanding more actions while CEOs tried to balance profit with sustainability

4 key steps towards a circular economy

Central American migrants must be protected, urge UN experts

New skills needed for medical students in Industry 4.0

Sudan military committed to ‘ensuring stability’ and ‘peaceful transition’ says senior diplomat, as UN rights chief appeals for protesters’ rights to be upheld

Thousands returning to Nigeria’s restive Borno state ‘at risk’; UN ‘gravely concerned’

GSMA announces first speakers for Mobile 360 Series-Middle East and North Africa

AI-powered automation will have an ethnic bias

From farms to supermarkets: MEPs approve new EU rules against unfair trading

Parliament approves €500 million for schooling of refugee children in Turkey

Romanian Presidency priorities discussed in committees

Reading the smoke signals: The long-term consequences of Amazon wildfire on global health

Global hunger is on the rise. These simple steps could help eradicate it

$1.4 billion needed this year to fund UN’s agency for Palestine refugees

Threat from petty criminals who turn to terrorism, a growing concern, Security Council hears

Gender parity can boost economic growth. Here’s how

Suicide Prevention: Using Graduation as a Transformative Tool

G20 starts to tackle inequality

COVID-19: MEPs debate how to best protect cross-border and seasonal workers

Universal basic income is the answer to the inequalities exposed by COVID-19

At Davos, UN chief urges ‘big emitters’ to take climate action

Rising inequality affecting more than two-thirds of the globe, but it’s not inevitable: new UN report

Third Facebook-Cambridge Analytica hearing: data breach prevention and cures

These social entrepreneurs are lighting up Africa

European Youth Forum welcomes the European Commission’s proposed revision of the Union Code on Visas, however it does not go far enough

Coronavirus: Commission boosts urgently needed research and innovation with additional €122 million

Easing fears and promoting gender equality in Chad’s girls-only classrooms

European Semester Autumn Package: Creating an economy that works for people and the planet

A UN-backed boost for women-run businesses in the developing world

FROM THE FIELD: Green shoots of peace in South Sudan

Reinforcing EU border security: Visa-exempt travelers will be pre-screened

This is what Belgium’s traffic-choked capital is doing about emissions

EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey: €6 billion to support refugees and local communities in need fully mobilised

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: #NoTobacco Day, China’s economy, family farming, #ClimateAction

What if Trump wins the November election and Renzi loses the December referendum?

When did globalization begin? The answer might surprise you

Rising number of young people excluded from jobs, education and training

The AI doctor won’t see you now

How digital can transform healthcare in Asia for millions of people

How Finland is fighting fake news – in the classroom

How to change the world at Davos

Freshwater is saltier – and it’s bad for the planet and our health

On International Youth Day the European Youth Forum calls for true youth participation

This ‘hidden killer’ is responsible for one in five deaths, and you might never have heard of it

Four ways Artificial Intelligence can make healthcare more efficient and affordable

Energy: EU priority projects should be aligned with 2050 climate objectives

Combatting antisemitism requires ‘solidarity in the face of hatred’, says UN chief

We need to talk about integration after migration. Here are four ways we can improve it

Secretary-General upholds value of UN Charter for a world in turmoil

How revealing the cost of coal makes us all better off

MWC 2016 LIVE: Under Armour learns from “robust community of data”

What is adversarial artificial intelligence and why does it matter?

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s