| 4 March 2024, Monday |

World poverty to rise as climate change hits food supplies-UN panel

Climate change and extreme weather are already wreaking havoc on the global economy, and if left unchecked, would push millions more into poverty by driving up food costs and disrupting trade and labor markets, according to United Nations climate experts.

The conclusion came from a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which stated that there was only “a narrow and rapidly closing window of opportunity to assure a liveable and sustainable future for everybody.”

The study, which represents the most recent worldwide agreement on climate science, stated unequivocally that climate change was having a greater impact on the world than scientists had predicted, despite countries’ failure to curb carbon emissions, which are driving global warming.

The research summary stated, “Economic impacts from climate change have been observed in climate-exposed sectors, with regional consequences to agriculture, forestry, fishery, energy, and tourism, as well as through outdoor labor productivity.”

“Changes in agricultural production, consequences on human health and food security, destruction of homes and infrastructure, and loss of property and income have all had negative repercussions on individual livelihoods, with detrimental effects on gender and social equity,” it continued.

It elected not to quantify the impact in terms of global output, citing a broad variety of previous estimates based on different approaches, but stated that poorer, more vulnerable economies will suffer disproportionately.

“There is expected to be significant regional variation in aggregate economic costs from climate change,” it concluded, “with anticipated economic damages per capita for poor nations frequently larger as a fraction of GDP.”

It anticipated that by 2050, up to 183 million more people in low-income countries would be undernourished owing to climate change, based on a “high vulnerability-high warming scenario.”

The analysis comes as global fuel prices and inflation have spurred some politicians to oppose efforts to promote greener energy sources, claiming that doing so will just increase the cost of living for the poorest.

The IPCC study, on the other hand, emphasized on the inflationary dangers of doing nothing to address rising temperatures, providing examples such as how outdoor heat stress might reduce agricultural labor productivity or cause farm laborers to seek work in other industries.

“This would have negative repercussions such as lower agricultural output and higher food costs,” it added, adding that this would lead to increased poverty, economic inequities, and forced migration to cities.

  • Reuters