Climate Change And Poverty - A Double Whammy

Climate change and poverty go hand in hand where those already vulnerable become more so through global warming.

They also go hand in hand as global warming is not assisted by slash and burn farming in tropical forests by poor farmers, removing valuable ecosystems, also functioning as carbon sinks. To be fair here, it must be said that commercial forest rape is a far greater villain in this piece and one of the causes of global warming.

Climate change and poverty - a double burden.

The latest report in a long string of similar documents is the United Nations Report: The Other Half Of Climate Change. It warns that Indonesia, where 80 million people live under or on the poverty line will be among the hardest hit by effects of global warming

And we should also remember that a major proportion of poor people is made up of disabled people who find it hard to make a living – and "physically" are unable to outrun climate disasters just as poor people cannot economically afford to move to relatively unaffected areas.

Climate Change And Poverty Impacts

Such impacts include

  • spread of lethal diseases, inluding water-borne and mosquito-borne
  • major flooding in below-sealevel Jakarta
  • severe malnutrition
  • unreliable weather patterns
  • undoubtedly many more

Indonesia is an even greater greenhouse gas emitter than any nation bar the US or China – and that's saying something!

In addition it compounds the impacts of climate change and poverty through

  • major deforestation of its beautiful rainforests
  • peatland and cleared forest fires

Climate Change And Poverty Impacts Links With Bioenergy

 Climate change and poverty are a cruel pincer for already disadvantaged people It is a cruel irony that subsistence villagers living off traditional rotational forest farming practices, now have to seek work on the palm oil plantations that replaced the forest.

It is even more crazy when you think that palm oil production produces huge atmospheric carbon emissions, while planted in anticipation of the biofuel boom that is supposed to reduce global warming problems caused by fossil fuels. Money on the brain perhaps?

An added layer of complexity to links between bioenergy, climate change and poverty is that the same UN, in 2005, has also identified that many rural poor people would benefit from bioenergy produced from products such as sugarcane, maize and manure.

Climate Change And Poverty Impacts in India

As per 2008 India is the fourth largest global greenhouse gas emitter, after the US, Australia (OUCH!), and China. BUT the US still emits 20 times more per capita than the Indians do!

So, we shouldn't we REALLY start at home? Anyone?

Helloooo... world leaders and consumers!

As everywhere else Indians already experience reduced wheat crops leading to chronic hunger and malnutrition, mostly and firstly for the poor.

Climate Change And Poverty Mitigation

Eliminating poverty without causing more rampant consumerism and greenhouse gas emissions requires a re-evaluation of how we globally share our incredible wealth, now concentrated in a tiny minority in a minority of countries.

Hard - politically? Oh yes, in many ways. But think of how much harder it will be if we don't. Climate change refugees, conflict, greater emissions, greater global warming fall-out...

I guess that's in part what underlies UN recommendations for India and China to reduce emissions by 20% by 2050 and the rich industrialised countries by 80%.

No-one is immune from climate change and poverty, including poverty of a different sort. In a landmark decision the Australian Land and Environment Court stopped a $250 million housing and aged care development from going ahead close to Sydney, because of the possible impact of coastal flooding caused by climate change!

It's real. And not just for those faraway, out-of-mind folk, folks...

So what to do? The same old thinking about more is good, and technology to solve any problems doesn't work any more.

We must change our thinking to decide what is enough for wellbeing and what wellbeing really is.

We must start taking real care of the most vulnerable people and environments in order to learn to live well as a whole community on a whole planet. Climate change and poverty ,it's one of those challenges wherein lie powerful lessons how to live with global warming.

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Poor to bear brunt of warming.

Biofuels can cut poverty, provide energy and mitigate climate change – UN

UN focuses carbon burden

Climate change to affect India: UN Report

Climate change ruling 'sets precedent for developers

Further links:

The Cause Of Global Warming At Four Levels

The Health Effects Of Global Warming - What Are They?

Effects Of Global Warming - Affecting Everyone

Disability And Global Warming Have Much In Common

Global Warming Impacts On Disabled People. Tell Your Story Here

There Are As Many Ways To Save Energy As You Can Think Of