Climate Change and Poverty

Topics: Greenhouse gas, Poverty, United Nations Pages: 5 (1726 words) Published: May 1, 2012
Climate Change and Poverty

Over the past few decades, a major concern is the threat climate change possess for today’s economy. Millions of people are affected each and every day by climate change but this is just the beginning of the worst. One thing that seems to go unharmed by climate change is social status; how long will money last as a barrier to the effects of Mother Nature? How does poverty increase the risks associated the devastating powers of climate change? When speaking in terms of poverty many different categories arise. Poverty in America is different than poverty in Asia or Africa. Every country has faced poverty. It is inevitable; some countries however, face a disproportionately high percentage of poverty. Climate change affects many different aspects of each country. Each country is at risk of poverty due to climate change; however, poverty stricken areas are more economically, socially, and politically unprepared.

Country’s economic standings are greatly affected by climate change Many people are confused as to how the changing climates affect the economy. Every country depends on agriculture and specific levels of water to generate specific revenues. The more poverty stricken areas rely on farming and water levels more so than well off countries. Most of these countries have not yet been fully developed like USA, Europe or some parts of Asia. Climate change threatens the potential future crop yields. Climate change could place an additional 5 to 170 million people at risk of hunger by the 2080’s (Rosenzwig and Parry). We are talking about a vicious never ending cycle of devastation. Countries depend on rain fall for agricultural growth; climate change affects the amount of rain fall from droughts to monsoon levels. Farming is at the mercy of water, leaving communities with the threat of possible starvation. Most of the poverty stricken areas rely solely on farming, not only for revenue, but also for nutrition. This being said, climate change drastically threatens a country’s economic status not just for the more poverty stricken areas but every country as well. Climate change and agriculture are intertwined processes; both take place on a global scale. The problem about climate change is that it has a very slow increase, such as one or two degrees a year. This does not seem to be that devastating. However, many crops are climate based such as grains and coffee, grapes used for wine production, and other fruits; even the slightest increase of temperature will and can affect these crops. Thus climate change is leaving already poverty stricken areas like India and northern Africa to await their drastic fate.

Although low and middle income countries are only responsible for a small percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, the adverse health effects associated with climate change will fall disproportionately on the lower income countries; this inequity will further exacerbate global health disparities. The greatest social peril of climate change is how it affects health issues, especially those in poverty stricken areas. The changing of temperatures will further effect the ecology of diseases such as yellow fever, malaria, and dengue fever; socially the people most at risk are the elderly, very young, and the poor (McMichael). Millions of people below the poverty line and those in rural areas represent high risk populations who are exposed to myriad health risks, including poor sanitation, pollution, malnutrition, and a constant shortage of clean drinking water (Dhiman). Climate change is already taking a toll on the economical standings of poverty stricken countries; proceeding with the vicious cycle of social destruction, climate change seems to have no weakness. For instance, the summer of 2010 was the hottest summer on record in India, with temperatures reaching a record average of 122 degrees Fahrenheit. The effects were limitless: crops perish, livestock were...

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