World Bank: Climate change could result in 100 million poor

Climate Change Could Force 100 Million More Into Poverty


STOCKHOLM (AP) — Climate change could push more than 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030 by disrupting agriculture and fueling the spread of malaria and other diseases, the World Bank said in a report Sunday.

Released just weeks ahead of a U.N. climate summit in Paris, the report highlighted how the impact of global warming is borne unevenly, with the world's poor woefully unprepared to deal with climate shocks such as rising seas or severe droughts.

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"They have fewer resources and receive less support from family, community, the financial system, and even social safety nets to prevent, cope and adapt," the Washington-based World Bank said.

How to help poor countries — and poor communities within countries — deal with climate change is one of the crunch issues in talks on a global climate accord that's supposed to be adopted next month in Paris.

Those who say that rich countries aren't doing enough to help the poor said the report added emphasis to demands for billions of dollars in so-called climate finance to developing countries.

"The statistics in the World Bank report are suitably shocking and I hope they force world leaders to sit up and take notice," said Mohamed Adow of Christian Aid. "The Paris deal needs to support the poor and vulnerable communities to cope with unavoidable climate crises better, and to be more resilient to a changed climate."

Despite pledges to rein in emissions of carbon dioxide and other global warming gases, climate change isn't likely to stop anytime soon. Carbon emissions are expected to rise for many years as China, India and other developing countries expand the use of fossil fuels to power their economies.

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World Bank: Climate change could result in 100 million poor
Evening rush hour traffic comes to a standstill on a hazy and polluted day in Beijing on December 1, 2010. China has met its 2010 target to cut emissions of key pollutants and is on track to meet its energy efficiency goal, state media said, quoting the country's top climate change official as saying after China last week acknowledged it had become the world's biggest emitter of the greenhouse gases that are blamed for climate change and global warming, surpassing the United States, though not in terms of emissions per capita. China's efforts to improve energy efficiency allowed for savings of 490 million tonnes of coal and prevented carbon dioxide emissions totalling 1.13 billion tonnes in 2006-2009, state media reported. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
NEWBURG, MD - MAY 29: Emissions spew out of a large stack at the coal fired Morgantown Generating Station, on May 29, 2014 in Newburg, Maryland. Next week President Obama is expected to announce new EPA plans to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal fired power plants. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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But efforts to protect the poor, such as generally improving access to health care and social safety nets, and targeted measures to upgrade flood defenses and deploy more heat-tolerant crops could prevent most of the negative consequences of climate change on poverty, the bank said.

"Absent such good development, climate change could result in an additional 100 million people living in extreme poverty by 2030," the report said.

Stephane Hallegatte, one of the authors, told The Associated Press that one of the unique features of the report was that instead of analyzing the macro-economic impact of climate change it was based in part on surveys of 1.4 million people in 92 countries.

"When we ask people why they fall into poverty there are three major factors," he said. "Agricultural shocks, including an increase in food prices; natural disasters such as floods, droughts, storms; and health issues, including malaria, diarrhea."

The report referred to studies showing climate change could result in global crop yield losses as large as 5 percent by 2030 and 30 percent by 2080. It also referenced studies showing warming temperatures could increase the number of people at risk for malaria by 150 million.

Hallegatte said the "hotspots" for climate impacts on poor people were sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The U.S. and other countries have collectively pledged to scale up climate financing to developed countries to $100 billion annually by 2020 to help them adapt to climate change and reduce their emissions. Developing countries are calling for commitments beyond 2020 in the Paris agreement but rich nations are reluctant to make firm promises, in part due to budget uncertainties.

A recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated climate finance flows to developing countries reached $62 billion in 2014.

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NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: US President Barack Obama, who is in New York City for the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, delivers remarks at the Climate Summit at the United Nations on September 23, 2014 in New York City. World leaders, activists and protesters have converged on New York City for the annual UN event that brings together the global leaders for a week of meetings and conferences. This year 's General Assembly has highlighted the problem of global warming and how countries need to strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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