Climate Change affects the Poorest People in Developing Countries

Climate Change affects the Poorest People in Developing Countries

According to Oxfam, ‘The richest tenth of the world's people produce half of all carbon emissions, while the poorest half produce only one tenth.’

It’s a disturbing thought - The countries that have contributed the least to carbon dioxide emissions are the same countries that will be most affected by the impact of climate change. Although climate change affects the world that we all live in, there is no doubt that it is inextricably linked with social economic factors and has, as a result, a much greater impact on those who live in more impoverished and often isolated communities.

Although the level of carbon emissions produced by these poverty-stricken communities is low compared to their wealthier neighbours, their rates of mortality and illness are, conversely, much higher. The fact is that these communities are much more susceptible and vulnerable to climate change, which has a hugely detrimental effect on their livelihood, their food security and their health. In addition, poorer countries are unable to invest in cleaner and more renewable forms of energy. They are forced to rely on fossil fuels, one of the reasons why carbon emissions rates are rising fastest in developing countries.

This uncomfortable truth is one of the main obstacles that must be overcome during the climate change talks in Paris. 'Paris must be the start of building a more human economy for all - not just for the 'haves', the richest and highest emitters, but also the 'have-nots', the poorest people who are the least responsible for and most vulnerable to climate change,' says Tim Gore, Head of Oxfam’s Food and Climate Policy.

In order to reduce climate change, we have to work together. That said, richer countries have a duty to lead the way and to help developing countries break free from their reliance on fossil fuels and help them adapt better to climate change. We need to reduce the gap between rich and poor if we are going to avoid an environmental catastrophe.


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