Climate Change and Poverty

In the recent times, Climate change has become an acute threat to human sustenance and existence. Increasing incidences of Climate change impacts- droughts, floods, extreme heat and natural disasters are not only causing fatalities but also severe economic losses and the most vulnerable are being hit the hardest. Climate change increases volatility and threatens global development and the efforts to end poverty.

Climate Change and Poverty

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On 25th September 2015, 193 countries of the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development which contains 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) .The first and the foremost Sustainable Development goal is to “End Poverty in all forms everywhere”. Each and every country of the world is looking forward to eradicate poverty so that even the poor and vulnerable people also enjoy equal rights to economic resources, healthy living conditions as well as access to basic infrastructure and technology. Moreover, there should not be any doubt that poor nations and poor people are most severely vulnerable also to effects of Environmental degradation and more distinctly Climate Change than the rich.

Let’s examine How future Climate change will affect the poor?

 Unpredictable weather-

 The frequent occurrence of floods, famines, droughts, and overall rise in the temperatures is severely affecting the poor people. These people live on meager incomes and having very less social security insurance and infrastructure, thus are the most unguarded individuals.

Impact on agriculture-

Agriculture is one of the most important economic sectors in developing countries like India where more than half of population is directly, indirectly or remotely dependent on agriculture for their income and unfortunately it is also one of the most sensitive to climate change given its dependence on weather conditions. Non-seasonal rainfalls and less rainfall in the required seasons cause a great distress on the agriculturalists and farmers, causing them to fall into the cycle of debts, pushing them towards Poverty.

Increase in Out-of-Pocket expenditure-

Poor people already spend more income on food and health than other classes. Climate change along with rising prices of basic necessities i.e. Bread, Cloth and Housing and along with Inflation and the increasing spread of communicable diseases and epidemics will drive the vulnerable households into the viscous cycle of poverty again.

Unpredictable weather-

Climate change is leading to the frequent droughts and floods, famines and other disaster hazards. Such natural phenomenon’s have more adverse impact on the poor people as their livelihood gets affected easily and more severely.

Water scarcity-

Water is going to be a depleted resource in the times to come, especially the people living in coastal areas are predicted to be suffering the most. This effect of climate change would also have a direct effect on the economically instable people. Approximately 22 million people faced water scarcity at the end of the twentieth century, and according to projections configured by the IPCC, the number of people likely to endure issues in water sanitation by 2050 is 79 to 178 million.

More strain on poor for mitigation strategies-

The climate risks and natural hazards, disasters also require preparedness but due to low levels of capacity development along with inadequate financial resources, the poor households will feel the extra pressure of mitigation and adaptation .As these people are the most vulnerable to Climate change shocks, it will be more difficult for them to escape poverty.

Climate change hits the poor people the hardest and it is becoming very difficult to eliminate poverty. Therefore, it is very important to have some safety nets and proper adaptation strategies to fight against Climate change keeping in mind its impact on the poorest people .The work underway right now, with a goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030, can help governments lead the way on combating climate change while also working to improve the lives and futures of the least well-off in their countries.

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