Climate Change Report Says The World's Poor Most At Risk

Among other risks to the global community, a report released by the U.N. highlighted the risks posed to poorer countries from climate change.
Posted at 11:37 PM, Mar 31, 2014

A United Nations report released Monday says some of the worst effects of climate change will have the strongest impact on the world's poor.

The report, released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warns that the world is ill-prepared to handle future climate change and that the results will have dire consequences on urban populations and poverty levels, saying:

"Throughout the 21st century, climate-change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and create new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hot spots of hunger."

The report claims higher temperatures will also impact agriculture in ways that will raise poverty rates. A segment aired on BBC supports that idea.

"This is soya, from Brazil where they just had a heatwave. So, the prices have gone up. And because this stuff is used for chicken feed, the prices of chicken will also rise." 

The New York Times notes this effect is already becoming commonplace, saying: 

"Several times in recent years, climatic disruptions in major growing regions have helped to throw supply and demand out of balance, contributing to price increases that have reversed decades of gains against global hunger, at least temporarily."

And in response to the U.N. report, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said in a press release, "More than ever, we need to embark on plausible – and adequately funded – early-warning and resilience-building measures, starting with the poorest and most vulnerable parts of the world."

The idea that climate change will drastically affect poorer populations is not a new one. Countries like Bangledesh, Burma and India have been well aware of the risks of climate change for quite some time now. 

The chair of an organization called the Least Developed Countries Group wrote an open letter to President Obama in 2012 asking for stronger steps to reduce climate change for the sake of the poorer areas hit hardest by the effects. (Via The Guardian)

But a writer for The Hill is pessimistic that any change will come about from the IPCC report – at least in Washington. 

A political science professor from the University of California, Santa Barbara told the D.C. paper: "Remarkable little will change, especially in the short term. The problem is that views on climate change are very partisan."

With 309 authors from more than 70 countries, this is the fifth assessment produced by the IPCC since 1990.