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Climate Change Directly Affects Global Poor

Last week, the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change released a report with the most recent update about climate change. After years of recognizing the effects of climate change, the committee is 95 percent certain that the effects of climate change are the direct result of human activity.

Climate change is not only the rising of temperatures and sea levels it also manifests itself in the forms of extreme weather patterns: heat waves, extreme monsoons, hurricanes, blizzards, etc. Every year, super-storms (such as Sandy from 2012 and Katrina from 2005) cost the U.S. government millions of dollars, while also claiming lives, homes, jobs, and stability.

This problem isn’t unique to the United States, either. All over the world, extreme weather patterns kill and displace millions of people every year. For instance, a powerful monsoon hit India’s northern regions in June and claimed the lives of nearly 1,000 people. The country was still recovering when it was hit by Cyclone Pahilin last weekend, a tropical storm as big as the Bay of Bengal,  with winds up to 140 miles per hour.

Millions of poor around the globe depend on predictable weather patterns for agricultural yields. These yields, which are the sole source of income for many families, make up most of the world’s food source, particularly in developing nations. Meanwhile, other environmental issues, like deforestation and oil drilling, are having an equally damaging effect. In Bangladesh, deforestation due to factory building has caused serious floods.

Climate change costs are immeasurable. While the consequences of climate change are unavoidable, the UN has claimed that stopping carbon emissions today will not prevent climate change or undo the damage – recognizing it as a problem and addressing the serious need for a solution will certainly ameliorate the situation. It is also important to take preventive measures.  Climate change is not only about sea levels and temperatures, it affects people, especially those living in poverty. That is why the solutions to climate change and global poverty can go hand-in-hand. In recognizing the serious threat of climate change and all its possible effects, we recognize that those living in poverty depend on means that are slowly diminishing because of human activities that harm the environment.

Aalekhya Malladi

Sources: Global Issues, CNN, Reuters, The Washington Post