(TELESUR) – Climate change will have the greatest impact on those living in poverty, as the wealthy will afford to escape overheating, hunger and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer, according to a United Nations (U.N.) report.
“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,” U.N. Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, said in a report released Tuesday.
As the effects of global warming begin to take its irreversible toll on certain parts of the world, the report warns that extreme temperatures in many regions will cause food insecurity, lost incomes and worse health for millions, resulting in many opting between starvation and migration.
In 2018 a report for the World Bank, the first to model migration due to climate change on a large scale, estimated that as many as 143 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America could become climate refugees by 2050.
“We risk a ‘climate apartheid’ scenario … climate change threatens to undo the last 50 years of progress in development, global health and poverty reduction,” Alston warned, adding that “it could push more than 120 million more people into poverty by 2030.”
A study by the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) revealed that almost 60 million children in Africa do not have enough food, one of the top reasons climate change and desertification.
Yet despite many international organizations, leaders, and governments calling for a global rethinking of the situation, the consumption of fossil fuels and the current economic system continues to drive the world on a downward spiral.
“States have marched past every scientific warning and threshold, and what was once considered catastrophic warming now seems like a best-case scenario,” the expert stated.
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) study shows that US$5.2 trillion was spent globally on fossil fuel subsidies in 2017 and the trend is not changing.