- More than 1 billion children are at high risk for weather catastrophes. UNICEF report found.
- These children are mainly from countries that emit the least carbon.
- High-risk countries already face extreme heat, water scarcity and flooding, as well as other impacts.
We are sorry! We bumped into a system failure and couldn’t take your email this time.
We are grateful that you signed up!
Tahsin Uddin (23-year-old climate activist) lives in the southern city Barisal in Bangladesh. He has already lost his family home to coastal flooding due to rising sea levels. His current home will likely be submerged within the next few years.
Uddin is only one of the many millions of Bangladeshis, and others around the world, facing the terrible consequences of climate change.
According to the The, Bangladeshis will lose more than 20,000,000 people by 2050 and almost 20% of their land will be underwater due to rising sea levels. Natural Resources Defense Council,A nonprofit climate advocacy group.
Uddin explained to Insider that the rising sea levels have a ripple effect across the country. “I travel to different coastal areas. I saw the suffering of so many people. They are trying survive by drinking salty waters. Saline water can be very dangerous for their health.
Despite the fact that climate change is a serious problem in Bangladesh, Bangladesh contributes very little to carbon emissions.
2020 will see more than 34 billion metric tons of carbon (CO2) were emittedGlobally, the climate crisis has already had a significant impact on the countries that contributed least to the total.
A UNICEF reportAugust’s report found that more than 1,000,000 children lived in areas at high risk of severe weather events. This is nearly half of the world’s children. Only 9% of global carbon dioxide emissions were contributed by 33 countries where climate change poses the greatest risk to children. While 70% of emissions could be attributed to just 10 countries, 9% was the case in 33 countries.
A 2016 studyIt was found that 20 of the 36 countries with the highest emissions were the most vulnerable to the effects a warming climate. However, 11 of the 17 countries with low- or moderate emissions were the most vulnerable.
Some countries that have low emissions per capita are at high risk include Bangladesh and India, as well as multiple countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South America.
They are now facing heat waves and water scarcity, coastal flooding and water-borne diseases, among other hazards. This can lead, in turn, to poor sanitation, a lack of food, deteriorating living standards, and even income cuts. Many of these places are not equipped with the infrastructure or resources necessary to counter them.
Experts and climate activists agree that countries with the highest emissions need to reduce their emissions. However, countries that are poorer need immediate funding to address their current challenges.
In India, heat waves have claimed the lives of thousands of people in recent years.
In the summer 2019, large swathes India were scorched by temperaturesFast three weeks of temperatures exceeding 113 degrees Fahrenheit were recorded. Officials closed schools in some areas. Medical authorities canceled time off for doctorsTo ensure that hospitals can handle the influx of patients.
Four passengers fell ill on board an express trainThe train was without air conditioning, and died at the station in Jhansi (south of New Delhi).
“A few minutes after we left Agra the heat became unbearable, and some people complained of breathing problems and uneasiness. They collapsed before we could get any help,” a passenger said. India Today.
At the end of the summer heat wave, more than 200 people had died. The heat wave of 2015 was worse than the others, with more than 2,000 people dying from extreme heat. Over 6,000 Indians have died due to excessive heat over the past decade. according to government data.
“Climate Change is leading to more frequent and more intense heat waves around the globe,” Olga Wilhelmi, a scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research said, adding that the link has already been well-documented.
According to UNICEF’s report, an estimated 820,000,000 children worldwide are highly exposed to heat waves.
Wilhelmi stated that extreme heat is one of the most under-appreciated weather hazards, but it’s one of the most deadly weather hazards in the US and around the world. “Studies show that extreme heat causes death in the US every year for between 600-800 people on average, but that’s not something we read about in the news.
Extreme heat can cause heatstroke or dehydration, which can lead to serious health complications. Heat waves can also increase the risk of developing respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Children, older adults, and people with pre-existing conditions are at higher risk.
Heat waves can also cause electric grids to go down if they aren’t able to cope with the increased demand for air conditioners.
Lack of water can lead to poverty and hunger
Another way people feel the climate crisis is water scarcity, or the inability to access clean water.
Although scarcity can be caused by institutional failures to deliver water in some cases, it is often due to shrinking water resources or growing populations that require more water.
More than a third, or 920 million, of children worldwide, are currently extremely exposed to water scarcity.
This issue affects children in many parts of the globe, including Australia, South America, India, and the Middle East.
While parts of India are at risk of severe scarcity, India only contributed to 3.14% overall emissions in 2019.
Insider was told by Greg Pierce, co-director of the Water Resources Group: Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA, that the greatest impact could be felt in rural areas.
Pierce stated that rural areas tend not to have a water source and are generally poorer. People often have to walk long distances to reach the water, which may not always prove to be clean.
Water is not only necessary for drinking, but also for the production and sale of agriculture. Water is vital to our daily lives.
“The scarcity issue makes agriculture more difficult, which is what most rural communities rely on to make a living. Pierce told Insider that there’s a hunger and inability of farmers to produce food. “Lack of water leads to people starving, which will become more common in many parts the world, unfortunately.”
Residents would have to move or travel further if these resources run out.
Pierce said that although many parts in India are suffering from water scarcity and flooding, other areas are also facing it. The flooding, however, comes with additional complications and doesn’t reverse the effects of water scarcity.
Already, Bangladesh is suffering from the effects of coastal flooding that damages property and resources.
In Uddin’s homeland of Bangladesh, rising seas have led to extreme precipitation that has inundated many communities with flooding in recent decades.
Bonnotola, once home of more than 2,000 residents, now has less 500 inhabitants. The flooding and salt water-contaminated soil caused many people’s homes to be destroyed and their livelihoods to be affected. Associated Press reported.
Gabura village woman, one of the victims of salt water flooding, told AP that everyone used to grow food in their own backyards. However, many people now depend on freshwater and fertile lands.
She said, “We have water all around, but we don’t have any more to drink from the ponds or wells.”
According to William Sweet (an oceanographer at The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), almost all oceans are experiencing a sea-level increase.
UNICEF reports that coastal flooding affects one in ten children. This is a total of 240 million people. Extreme rainfall events, also a result of global warming, can exacerbate sea-level rise.
Sweet said that the same heating that causes oceans to rise and ice cap and ice sheet melts, and oceans expanding is also allowing more moisture in the atmosphere. He added that heavy rains are a result of the heating. “The combined effect is flooding with nowhere to go for that water.”
While rising sea levels are most often discussed as a threat to entire cities, there are many important issues that can be faced long before a city or property becomes underwater.
Sweet stated, “It’s not when it’s underwater, it’s whenever the system fails,” adding that flooding can cause infrastructure to collapse, destroy stormwater and wastewater systems, as well as personal property.
He said that by the time areas become underwater, people will be gone by then because of the flooding.
Pierce explained to Insider how coastal flooding creates more problems when there is no water infrastructure.
“Flooding doesn’t usually increase water supply. He said that flooding can have an impact on water-borne illnesses, especially if there is poor sanitation.
The climate crisis has made it more likely that diseases are spreading to sub-Saharan Africa as well as South America.
According to UNICEF’s report, 600 million children are now at risk of developing waterborne diseases as a result of rising temperatures, flooding cities, and the scarcity in water.
The most immediate effects can be felt in South America and sub-Saharan Africa.
Martin Muchangi, an AMREF water specialist and sanitation specialist based out of Kenya, told Insider that he studies waterborne illness across much of sub-Saharan Africa. He also said that water scarcity is driving up waterborne illnesses.
Muchangi explained that the issue is twofold. The changing temperature pushes mosquitoes into more places, which in turn increases the risk of disease like cholera or typhoid.
Insider heard from him that the problem is causing economic and social harm.
He said, “So, now at the end, if you add the sum total, then you realize that there is major economic loss, there are serious effects on the health, and there are serious effects on the thriving of kids.”
Many countries in the worst climate crisis are also the ones with the least resources.
Although the climate crisis will affect everyone on the planet, there are some countries that have the infrastructure and resources to be more prepared for it.
Pierce stated that there are many ways to mitigate the effects of climate change. Water filtration systems can help reduce the risk of water-borne diseases.
Uddin and Muchangi told Insider that they are citizens of countries where they work and live, but they don’t have enough money to address the problems they face.
Uddin stated that funding is needed in Bangladesh to research ways to remove saltwater from saltwater, and to build infrastructure that can withstand flooding. This includes fortifying schools and hospitals, as well as homes and other vital buildings.
Muchangi stated that while it was important to mitigate the immediate climate changes, limiting CO2 emission would significantly reduce the burden.
He stated, “If we can alleviate climate change ourselves, then the effects will become lessening and we will be able thrive in a better manner.”