Justin Wise

United Nations says world may face 'climate apartheid' that pushes over 120 million into poverty by 2030

By Justin Wise

A United Nations report is warning that the world is risking a "climate apartheid" scenario in which the wealthy can pay to avoid the consequences of global warming while the rest of society suffers.

“Even if current targets are met, tens of millions will be impoverished, leading to widespread displacement and hunger,” U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, said in a report released last week.

The report says that extreme climate change threatens to push "more than 120 million more people into poverty by 2030," according to Alston, who added that it will "have the most severe impact in poor countries, regions, and the places poor people live and work.”
“Climate change threatens to undo the last 50 years of progress in development, global health, and poverty reduction,” Alston said.

“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 continued. “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 report also warns that many people will be forced to choose between starvation and migration as temperatures surge in the coming decades.

CNN noted that Alston used the aftermath of the Hurricane Sandy to describe how climate change would distinctly affect rich and poor communities. After the hurricane hit the New York region in 2012, many working-class people were without power or health care for an extended period of time.

Meanwhile, the Goldman Sachs headquarters in Manhattan remained safe thanks to a private generator and tens of thousands of sandbags.

The report says that slowing down temperature increases to the "unrealistic best-case scenario of 1.5 (degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit)" would still threaten poorer populations.

Almost 200 nations signed onto the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016 as part of a broad effort to combat greenhouse gas emissions and climate change in general. Countries signed onto a goal to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement shortly after becoming president.

Justin Wise is a reporter for The Hill, a top US political website, read by the White House and more lawmakers than any other site -- vital for policy, politics and election campaigns.

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