Guest essay by Eric Worrall
A climate concerned journalist has accidentally hi-lighted the common factor uniting poor people suffering horrendously from a succession of severe weather disasters; lack of resources.
Climate change reinforces the world’s inequalities
Climate change exacerbates inequalities, not only in poor, developing countries, but also in industrialized, wealthy ones. The poor should be given special importance when planning, experts say.
As drought, flooding and fires lay claim to headlines and landscapes across the world, and as countries and cities grapple with the cost of it all, the highest price is already being paid — by those who are poor or marginalized.
Such are the findings of a recent study by researchers Noah S. Diffenbaugh and Marshall Burke. It reveals that the economic gap between rich and poor countries would have been smaller without the climate crisis.
“India’s per capita GDP [gross domestic product] is approximately 30% lower than it would have been without warming,” Noah Diffenbaugh, co-author of the study, told DW, adding that Brazil’s per capita GDP has taken a 25% hit as a result of climate change.
“Regions like Southeast Asia are very vulnerable, not only because they are often hit, but because they lack resources to deal with the impact,” David Eckstein, co-author of the Index, told DW.
In the Spanish capital, Madrid, over 20% of households are at risk of energy poverty — the lack of capacity to keep homes warm in winter and cool in summer, a study requested by regional authorities shows.
“People with fewer resources can’t afford to pay for heating or air conditioning and often live in much older buildings without proper insulation,” Cristina Linares, researcher at Spain’s National School of Public Health, told DW. That makes extreme temperatures particularly threatening.
…Read more: https://www.dw.com/en/climate-change-reinforces-the-worlds-inequalities/a-50596957
The common factor behind all of these tragedies is lack of resources.
Imagine if the world really was more equal, if all those poor people had the fossil fuel powered industrial might to cope with bad weather, like rich people do.
Rich people suffering severe weather can hold back storm surges with massive concrete seawalls, pump flood water out of river systems or trap it in dams before it threatens their cities, elevate entire buildings and streets to reduce flood risk (see raising Chicago), and laugh at the worst weather nature can produce from the security of their well insulated strongly constructed steel frame houses.
The poor people in Spain cited by one of the quoted studies could afford home improvements and air conditioning, if they had jobs which paid decent money. But they are unlikely to find such jobs in the economic wasteland a succession of incompetent climate concerned Southern European governments has created.