Climate Change and the Poor

How severe are the threats posed by climate change?

1. Climate change has become an emergency affecting the planet and its inhabitants- human, plant, and animals.

2. The poor and developing nations have faced a greater impact of this phenomenon.

3. A 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations, Global Warming of 1.5OC estimates that “even a 1.5degree rise could push tens of millions of people into poverty.”

What are the negative consequences of climate change? 

1. Shortage of water and food among people.

2. Increased competition to access basic needs.

3. Existing conflicts get intensified and new ones are created.

4. Frequent floods and droughts that lead to food shortages and the rise in food prices. This causes hunger and malnutrition.

5. Floods and storms cause displacement of lakhs of people creating ‘climate refugees.’

Which areas in the world have witnessed the effects of climate change?

1. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, shifts in the timing and patterns of rainfall have led to lower food production, increasing ethnic tensions, and conflicts in the country. Such conflicts increase poverty and displacement.

2. According to World Food Programme’s 2018 Global Report on Food Crises, “climate disasters triggered food crises across 23 countries, mostly in Africa, with shocks such as drought leaving more than 39 million people in need of urgent assistance”.

3. Climate refugees can be found all over the world, displaced by coastal flooding in Dhaka, by hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, or due to the desertification of Lake Chad in West Africa.

Who is getting affected in India by climate change?

1. India ranks 5th globally for the losses it has experienced due to climate change.

2. A majority of the Indian population lives in rural areas and depends on agriculture and natural resources for their livelihood. As half of the farmlands in the country are rainfed, changes in the patterns of monsoons affect them severely.

3. Climate change has lowered the wheat yields, for example.

4. Small farmers are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change as they lack access to credit and other means of insurance.

5. Climate change will make the existing problems of poverty, malnutrition, and farmer suicides worse.

Where shall focus be made?

1. India called out at the Katowice Climate Conference in 2018, the developed nations for keeping on their promises to provide developing countries with financial support to combat climate change.

2. Steps have to be taken quickly, otherwise, climate change may reverse decades of growth and development world over, and particularly in India.

3. Effects of climate change are visible clearly and it needs to be controlled urgently by the combined efforts of intergovernmental organizations, nations, governments, and citizens.