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.
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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 killed, and thousands of people were hospitalized or killed (Burke). A study of 12 globally urban areas noted a 2. 80 – 5. 08 percent increase in mortality rate for each one degree increase above 29 degrees Celsius (Hajat).
India has the highest amount of people living and suffering with AIDS; climate change affects the research and possible solutions of fighting off AIDS and other diseases. With limited resources such as water available not only would it be hard to make vaccines and cures it opens up an unprecedented amount of possible deaths. When looking at the corporate businesses and the undoing of the human habitat; the United Nations has sanctioned many organizations to track climate change such as the UNEP, the World Meteorological Organization and the IPCC.
Since the mid-eighties, these agencies have monitored the changes, yet have failed o convey the significance. Studies done by these agencies have concluded that the last fifty years are attributable to human activities and big corporations which lead to the changing in the compositions of the atmosphere throughout the 21st century (Saltori). These activities that are mentioned are those by means of businesses that grew into national conglomerates. Concurrent with business growth, the greenhouse gas emissions have grown seventy percent from 1970 to 2004 (Lehner). Recent studies have shown that 122 corporations produce eighty percent of greenhouse gases (IPCC).
The climate is going to drastically change the world forever, but at whose expense? What exactly does the political eminence of these companies have to do with climate change and poverty? The answer lies in yet another vicious never ending cycle. Corporations employ millions of people enabling the stimulation of the economy. The people in return purchase and live off of the money from the corporations. However, not only are people living off the companies, but they are also contributing to and enabling to the production of greenhouse gas emissions.
Globally, we as a civilization have become accustomed to these conglomerates to survive, or so we ruminate. Poverty stricken areas lack these 122 multinational companies, yet they still feel their wrath. There is, however, undoubtedly a silver lining; the businesses and their bringing of our destruction may also be the key to our survival. We know that these 122 companies have in a way sealed our fate; yet they also bring many more attributes to the table. These companies are capable of stimulating the economy, advancing technology and are accomplished enough to lead the world to better health conditions.
The UN established an adaption fund to help developing countries cope with climate change. With all these efforts only eighty million dollars was raised, which was miniscule to the actual amount needed. The United Nations and their sanctions also developed a refugee program for these underdeveloped countries; becoming a refugee country is harder than conquering world peace. They developed a three level program to help these countries with rules and regulations in place that become more drastic at each level. This program has developed these strict rules, so as to not have a recurrence of the refugees after World War II.
The revenue from the businesses would easily be able to help the disadvantages they have created. Once these sanctions made from the UN and conglomerates can realize that they are the bringer of destruction and also the possible savior, the world may be able to breathe more easily. These companies are reporting constant growth in income. The company’s net worth is constantly on the rise while the poverty stricken areas are in need of help and rendered useless to the businesses devastating effects on climate change. The abundance of revenue would be a great help if donated to those sanctions created by the UN.
In today’s world we face a harsh time ahead. Poverty stricken areas are more economically, socially and politically unprepared. The world is changing and it is for the worse. Climate change is affecting every national resource we as a global community need to survive. Underdeveloped countries are limited to their amount of resources and depend on those to survive. With the climate in the rise the production of many fruits, vegetables, grains and every country’s staples are all at risk. Countries’ livestock are included under the climate change’s pressure.
The changing of the weather affects not only the heat, but also the rain fall from droughts to monsoons’ and floods and leads to unstable clean drinking water supplies. Poverty stricken areas are not able to produce certain health vaccines; climate change and the changing of waterfall seriously hinder their abilities to create more vaccines and provide accurate health care. Many viruses and illnesses “power countries” have and are able to treat and even cure are not as easily treatable in those underdeveloped countries. The most devastating aspect is realizing how the companies we take for granted are leading us to our doom.
Producing eighty percent of greenhouse gases is unimaginable. What is more mind-boggling is that these 122 conglomerates hold the key to our salvation. These companies have the power, the wealth and time to fix their undoing and help right their wrongs. Millions of people are at risk to the effects of climate change. Going “green” is a simple yet wonderful way to help save our planet however, our efforts are useless to those in severely poverty stricken areas. The time to make awareness is now; the time to stand up is now; the time to act is now!