Climate would send 100 million to poverty, warns World Bank

Climate would send 100 million to poverty, warns World Bank

But the devastating consequences that climate change will have on the world's poorest people could thwart those ambitious goals, warns the UN's sister institution, the World Bank, in a new study published Monday.

“And without rapid, inclusive and climate-smart development, coupled with (greenhouse gas) emission reduction measures that protect the poor, there could be more than 100 million additional people (living) in poverty by 2030, "warns the report" Great Cataclysms: Addressing the Effects of Climate Change on Poverty. "

The study, released before the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will be held in Paris from this month to December 11, concludes that the poor population it is already at high risk of climate-related impacts.

Those impacts include crop failure due to decreased rainfall, sudden increase in food prices after extreme weather events, and increased incidence of disease after heat waves and floods.

The World Bank warns that these consequences could wipe out hard-earned gains, leading to irreversible losses and driving people back into poverty, especially in Africa and South Asia.

According to the report, the poorest people are more exposed than the average population to extreme weather events, such as floods, droughts and heat waves, and lose much more of their wealth when they happen.

In the 52 countries where data are available, 85 percent of the population lives in places where the poor are more exposed to drought than the average for society.

They are also more exposed to higher temperatures and live in countries where food production is expected to decline due to climate change, according to the World Bank.

"This report makes it clear that ending poverty will be impossible if we do not take strong action to reduce the threat of climate change ... and radically reduce harmful emissions," said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

"The poor are the most affected by climate change, and our challenge right now is to protect tens of millions of people from falling into extreme poverty due to climate change," he added.

Harjeet Singh, climate policy manager for the independent organization ActionAid, told IPS that the World Bank's analysis of the vulnerability of the poor to climate shocks is not new, but it rightly emphasizes that poverty cannot be tackled without cope with climate change.

Poor people and countries are the most vulnerable to climate change, as they have limited resources and knowledge to overcome its consequences, he recalled.

"However, the World Bank is late to the game with its speech to improve social protection to combat the effects of climate change," added the activist.

In reality, the World Bank has a long and dubious history of forcing developing countries to cut public spending to provide basic services and provide social protection to economically weaker populations, Singh stressed.

The Washington-based multilateral institution "will have to address this before it can reliably practice what the report preaches," he recommended.

Louise Whiting, an analyst with the British organization WaterAid, told IPS that the poorest are most at risk from climate change and receive less funds to help them adapt to extreme weather events.

"Our research tells us that in Bangladesh alone, some 38 million lives are at risk by 2050 from disasters stemming from climate change," he warned.

"The climatic path we are on now means ending development, the end of all progress with respect to extreme poverty," he said.

For families living in extreme poverty with fragile access to safe water, good sanitation and hygiene, these increasingly arid seasons and increasingly intense monsoons will end years of work and further strengthen the cycle of poverty, according to Whiting.

"Ensuring basic services, including clean water, sanitation and hygiene, helps communities recover more quickly and makes them more resistant to extreme weather conditions," he argued.

Whiting said national governments in developing countries need more support in the design and implementation of projects to help eradicate poverty while building the resilience of communities to climate change.

The leaders who will participate in the COP21 in Paris at the end of this month must not forget the poorest population in the world, he urged.

Translated by Álvaro Queiruga

IPS News

Video: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty (May 2021).