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Because of relentless global warming, the world risks plunging into a ‘climate apartheid’—a scenario in which the rich will buy themselves out of the worst effects of climate change, while the poor will be left to suffer the greatest consequences, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, said in a report released on Tuesday.
Climate change not only threatens people living in poverty more than other groups, but it also threatens democracy and human rights, Alston said in the report, in which he criticizes governments for failing to adequately address the problem with carbon emissions.
According to the UN expert, countries around the world are “failing to meet even their current inadequate commitments to reduce carbon emissions and provide climate financing,” while at the same time they continue to subsidize the fossil fuel industry with US$5.2 trillion every year.
If governments continue to keep the current course of somber speeches not leading to meaningful actions, this would be a “recipe for economic catastrophe,” according to Alston.
“Perversely, while people in poverty are responsible for just a fraction of global emissions, they will bear the brunt of climate change, and have the least capacity to protect themselves,” Alston said.
“We risk a ‘climate apartheid’ scenario where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger, and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer,” the UN expert added.
The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said in a report last year that climate change was among the leading causes of rising global hunger. Climate change—with extreme weather, desertification, land degradation, water scarcity, and rising seas—is already undermining efforts to eradicate hunger, FAO experts said last September.
A month later, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that the world needs to spend US$2.4 trillion every year through 2035 to slow down the effects of climate change.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.