‘Climate change is a disability rights issue’

University of Konstanz

“Global environmental change should be considered a disability rights issue”, first author Dr Aleksandra Kosanic and her colleagues Dr Mialy Razanajatovo (also University of Konstanz), Dr Jan Petzold (Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), University of Hamburg) and Dr Amy Dunham (Rice University, USA) argue in their recently published Letter in Science, which has since been picked up on by Forbes and Scientific American. The researchers believe that climate change and the resulting loss of ecosystem services will affect the world’s disabled populations disproportionately by exacerbating inequalities and increasing marginalization. Not only may disabled communities experience limited access to knowledge, resources and services, which may prevent them from effectively responding to climate change, they write. Disabled populations may also prove more vulnerable to extreme climate events, as research on Hurricane Katrina has revealed, to the loss of ecosystem services or to infectious diseases.


Read the full story in the University of Konstanz’s online magazine, campus.kn: https://www.campus.uni-konstanz.de/en/science/climate-change-is-a-disability-rights-issue


  • University of Konstanz researchers publish high-profile Letter on the topic of climate change in Science.
  • Global environmental change should be considered a disability rights issue, climate scientist and first author Dr Aleksandra Kosanic, an Associate Fellow of the University of Konstanz’s Zukunftskolleg, writes.
  • Original publication: Aleksandra Kosanic, Jan Petzold, Amy Dunham, Mialy Razanajatovo, Climate concerns and the disabled community, Science, Vol 366, Issue 6466, pp. 698-699, 8 November 2019 (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaz9045).
  • The Letter highlights the fact that disabled populations have mostly been absent from international climate change debates.
  • More research urgently required.
  • campus.kn is the University of Konstanz’s online magazine. We use multimedia approaches to provide insights into science and research at the university, study and teaching as well as life on campus.


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November 27, 2019 2:07 am

Seems like they did not consider vulnerability to climate events when it reverts to their snow and ice filled 2C colder climate, which certainly would marginalize more people unable to stay warm, grow food or being snow locked for long periods during the winter.

Curious George
Reply to  Silversurfer
November 27, 2019 8:10 am

“The researchers believe that climate change and the resulting loss of ecosystem services will affect the world’s disabled populations.” Let’s look at future problems; today’s problems are too dangerous to speculate about.

Unbelievable, how taxpayer’s money can be used. By the way, the idea of “ecosystem as a service” feels very arrogant.

Charles Higley
Reply to  Curious George
November 27, 2019 8:54 am

In environmental science, they talk about ecosystem services as any as sect of nature or that land from which we benefit. Soil, water, oxygen, and such, including crops, I imagine.

Bryan A
Reply to  Curious George
November 27, 2019 9:59 am

Just how many ways are there to Wash a Pig?
+1 more

a happy little debunker
November 27, 2019 2:29 am

Oh come on, we all know climate change is a tans-rights problem!

Reply to  a happy little debunker
November 27, 2019 5:53 am

I sense a demarcation dispute brewing amongst the usual suspects-

I understand it’s a devil of a job trying to rank the world’s oppressed in order of victimhood but call me when you’ve sorted them all out lefties. Just a friendly tip. What did the old bearded dead white guy have to say about it in his manual on such matters?

Bryan A
Reply to  observa
November 27, 2019 10:01 am

Careful what you intone about “Old Bearded White Guys” they are a Minority as they make up Less than Half the population

Reply to  a happy little debunker
November 27, 2019 8:28 am

All that hot temperature definitely messes with gender fluidity and has an impact on there Human Rights.

November 27, 2019 2:57 am

I’m afraid the word “b****cks” comes instantly to mind.

As it so often does when obscure researchers from relatively obscure universities suddenly discover yet one more teat on the climate milch cow!

Reply to  Newminster
November 27, 2019 6:10 am

Discover or fabricate?

Carl Friis-Hansen
November 27, 2019 3:00 am

Disabled populations may also prove more vulnerable to extreme climate events

Strange term: “disabled populations”. At what level of capability is a population disabled?

Take the Dutch, a rich industrialized population. They have mastered living below sea level and build land in the ocean outside Rotterdam.
Take Bangladesh, a far less industrialized nation, probably what these authors would put in the category “disabled population”. They have difficulties fighting the weather.

It is logic that “disabled populations” have less defense against Climate Change, but the underlying logic here is, that industrialization and the use of cheap and reliable energy is building block for good defense against Climate Change, where as CO₂ tax just makes everyone more “disabled”

But, the real purpose of the paper is as usual: “More research is urgently needed”.

Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
November 27, 2019 8:01 am

YES! my first question as well: WTF is a disabled population?

My first thought ran towards: a population of disabled persons?, must be a living home or something like that, so I read the article.
PISH! The authors are merely attempting to “rebrand” impoverished and undeveloped communities (what is commonly known as “3rd world”) as “disabled”.
Well, that’s using a pretty broad brush to include them into a subgroup that has an entirely different context in the rest of the world and I suspect intentionally disingenuous.
Over the years we have dallied with euphemisms to describe those with developmental delays (the current usage). They were once called merely delayed, or slow…or even the most un-PC term:
retarded (which actually means delayed or slowed)
“Once more into the breach!”

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  Rocketscientist
November 27, 2019 4:08 pm

Replace the word “disabled” with the word “disarmed”, and it’ll become clear.

Charles Higley
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
November 27, 2019 8:58 am

A disabled population would be more susceptible of everything, as they disabled. Let’s see a list of those things they are subject to. Eating and surviving day to day would be a whole lot higher on the last than nonexistent climate change.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
November 27, 2019 11:12 am

I don’t see why it’s all so hard to understand.

The University of Konstanz folks and their allies want to ameliorate the disproportionate impact of climate change on disabled populations, by removing fossil fuels and other cheap energy (nuclear), thereby making all populations disabled.

When all populations are disabled, no disabled populations are disproportionately affected. See? Problem solved. It’s easy once you grasp the logic.

Reply to  Pat Frank
November 27, 2019 1:01 pm

By that logic, you can prevent all health issues just by killing everybody.

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  niceguy
November 27, 2019 4:10 pm

Would save money too.

Reply to  Pat Frank
November 27, 2019 7:59 pm

The gcd postulate of planned population and other sociopolitical schemes.

November 27, 2019 3:08 am

Blimey! Talk about unhinged.

Aleksandra Kosanic: My PhD research focused on the use of climatic and vegetation historical records in order to investigate climate change at the local/regional scales (West Cornwall)

Maybe, she can tell us why there are no trees on Bodmin Moor without invoking ‘the climate crisis’, but I doubt it.

Dan Sudlik
Reply to  fretslider
November 27, 2019 6:30 am

“More research urgently required “ says it all. I want my money. Where is my money.

David Chappell
Reply to  fretslider
November 27, 2019 6:45 am

Was there nowhere suitable closer to Konstanz than West Cornwall to carry out the research?

November 27, 2019 3:14 am

Has any academic considered how the Green New Deal, so enthusiastically adopted by many States in the US and by all political parties in the UK, will impact those mentally or bodily disabled? With a reduction in efficient transportation, the loss of so many medical products derived from petrochemicals, much higher utility bills and a bann on high protein, vitamin rich meat in favour of high carbohydrate alternatives, this sector of society will be, arguably, seriously disadvantaged.
For example, good food (as currently considered by many) will by the example of the Prohibition years be banned legally, but available to those with criminal contacts and plenty of money on the black market. The same will apply also for some drugs, lotions, walking aids, prosthetics ,etc with the loss of oil derived organic chemicals and plastics. In the upcoming struggle for survival the disabled may find themselves at a significant disadvantage, far more so than in the supposed struggle against the effects of climate change.

Reply to  mikewaite
November 27, 2019 4:40 am

not being able to afford heat or cooling alone as is happening now thanks to the co2 zealots is disadvantaging the disabled and hte frail aged and the poor already.
idiots like this “team” need a good boot in the butts!

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
Reply to  mikewaite
November 27, 2019 6:53 am

You are right to raise this inconvenient question but I suspect that the believers in the Green New Ordeal deep down know and prefer to stay silent since any issue will quickly be solved because anyone with any kind of disability or illness will rapidly be dead if they get their way. Problem solved – it’s only the fossil fuel era that has allowed more and more of mankind to live longer and prosper.

To make it clear, it is not their sanity I doubt, it is their real intentions towards the disadvantaged worldwide; for Green New Deal read eugenicist, neo-colonialist imperialism.

Reply to  mikewaite
November 27, 2019 6:55 am

Some will have to be sacrificed at the altar of the green god! As in Soylent Green they will be able to view the world as it once was before they become food for the masses. 😉

Greg Woods
November 27, 2019 3:22 am

It is obvious: More money for ‘research’ is required….

November 27, 2019 3:23 am

At least the blind won’t see it coming

Reply to  Paul
November 27, 2019 4:22 am

Holy crapola, my coffee just came out my nose!

+ 1 x 10^lots

Reply to  Dean
November 27, 2019 5:45 am

Thanks, Dean., for the laugh.


Hans Erren
November 27, 2019 3:27 am

Fact: A disabled community will progress more by building a coal fired power plant for the direct benefit of that community, than by shutting down a coal fired power plant in the western world.

November 27, 2019 3:52 am

What ever happened to academic rigour and intellectual integrity? This paper is devoid of actual substance, and is merely speculation and wishful thinking.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Graemethecat
November 27, 2019 9:54 am

You asked, “What ever happened to academic rigour and intellectual integrity?” That is the question of the day and is at the heart of the unsupported alarmist concerns. It says a lot about what has happened to our public education systems.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
November 27, 2019 11:15 am

Rather, our scientific societies, Clyde.

Samuel C Cogar
November 27, 2019 4:33 am

Global environmental change should be considered a disability rights issue” …… claims Dr Aleksandra K, …. Dr Mialy R, ….. Dr Jan P, ….. and Dr Amy D, ….. in their recently published Letter in Science, …….

Well now, …… SURPRISE, SURPRISE. …… now just ‘who’ would have ever thought that four (4) Degreed females would succumb to their inherited “survival trait” to make emotional decisions contrary to the science of the natural world?

“HA”, …… one ‘who’ is me, …… cause I know that females are more likely to make “emotional” decisions, ….. rather than “logical” decision when having to make a “tuff” choice.

November 27, 2019 4:35 am

An editor at Fine Homebuilding magazine told the story of someone who called him worried about the cancer causing potential of wood dust. That person had to interrupt the call to light a cigarette. The editor hung up in disgust.

People are lousy at calculating risk. That’s the problem with the present story.

What’s the biggest hazard for disabled people in Britain? How about government austerity? link If disabled folks don’t get the support they need, they die early. We know that. Speculation about the climate is just that.

November 27, 2019 4:49 am

These so called ‘scientists’ are clearly disabled. Mentally.

David Hartley
November 27, 2019 4:53 am

Problem being that every time another bunch of dodgy academics jump aboard the gravy train it reinforces this nonsense for the intellectually challenged. No one thinks of those poor sots do they, research that you money grubbers!

John the Econ
November 27, 2019 5:17 am

Climate change. What can’t it do?

David Chappell
Reply to  John the Econ
November 27, 2019 6:48 am

Ah, but it is now “Global environmental change”.

Steve Keohane
November 27, 2019 5:44 am

Whew, at first glance I thought they were going to declare the earth disabled by climate. At least they found something to be serious about./sarc

Ed Zuiderwijk
November 27, 2019 5:56 am

Climate change belief is a disability.

November 27, 2019 6:15 am

NYT: “World Ends, Women and Minorities Hit Hardest”

November 27, 2019 6:19 am

My wife reads over my shoulder and suggest it will exacerbate hot flashes !

Right-Handed Shark
November 27, 2019 6:49 am

Listen, it’s obvious that the hardest hit are whichever category I fit in to. How dare you! Send more money now!

November 27, 2019 7:08 am

Apocryphal NYT’s headline:

World to End, Women and Children hit hardest.

November 27, 2019 7:35 am

the resulting loss of ecosystem services — umm….what??

Dontcha just love it when people who are grubbing around for ways to increase their cash flow use terms that appear threatening on the surface, but when held up to the light fail to make any sense?

And how do these conniving broads** think that no one will see through their gobbledygook?

**broads is old slang for adult females of a certain age. And it’s my turf, so anyone who doesn’t like it can grab a box of tissues and howl at the Moon or at Mercury or something.

November 27, 2019 9:33 am

‘Climate change is a disability rights issue’

Good grief……

ht/ Charlie Brown

November 27, 2019 9:51 am

The polls must demonstrate a negative consensus if they are resorting to an empathetic appeal in order to sell their prophecy.

Pat Frank
November 27, 2019 10:50 am

I have just now sent them the following email:

Dear University of Konstanz Communications and Marketing,

New in Frontiers in Earth Sciences: Atmospheric Sciences, “Propagation of Error and the Reliability of Global Air Temperature Projections”


From the Abstract: “The reliability of general circulation climate model (GCM) global air temperature projections is evaluated for the first time, by way of propagation of model calibration error. … Propagation of [longwave cloud forcing] thermal energy flux error … uncovers a ±15 C uncertainty in air temperature at the end of a centennial-scale projection. … The unavoidable conclusion is that an anthropogenic air temperature signal cannot have been, nor presently can be, evidenced in climate observables.”

Please inform Dr Aleksandra Kosanic, Dr Mialy Razanajatovo, Dr Jan Petzold, and Dr Amy Dunham of the good news that there is no evidence of human-caused global climate change. It was all a misunderstanding due to overconfidence in false precision. There is no new threat to disabled communities or populations.

I am happy to convey this good news.

Yours sincerely,

Pat Frank

Tom Burk
Reply to  Pat Frank
November 27, 2019 12:59 pm

I would love to see their heads explode after they read this!

November 27, 2019 12:27 pm

”The Letter highlights the fact that disabled populations have mostly been absent from international climate change debates.”…
Um, which international climate change debate would that be?? I didn’t even know there was even allowed to be a debate. I thought the consensus told us there is no debate needed and we all should believe that man made climate change is happening and we are all going to die.
If anything the CAGW theory is creating ‘mental’ disabilities.

November 27, 2019 1:52 pm

Rice University is lost. Glad my child did not go there for an education.

Tom Burk
November 27, 2019 2:19 pm

This “climate change and disability” grievance meme is exactly the kind of identity politics “join in solidarity” movement that flourishes on the left. In the latest Claremont Review of Books, Angelo M. Codevilla nails it:

“For example, though the issue of global warming is irrelevant to blacks as blacks or to women as women, each of these identity groups has taken up that issue as part of their own revolutionary rationale. … [E]very multicultural identity group has taken up every other’s grievance as its own. Effectively, the rest of us are faced by a front—indeed by a party. It should escape no one that this party is merging with, influencing, and may be remaking the Democratic Party into an instrument of revolution.” (CRB Correspondence, Summer 2019)

Reply to  Tom Burk
November 27, 2019 6:21 pm

Disabled-American is comparable to the fractional American (e.g. hyphenated) status. Notably: Fetal-American. Identity is a subset of diversity (i.e. color judgment) and [selective] exclusion.

Charles Donaldson
November 27, 2019 2:35 pm

A famous quote “World Ends, poor affected the most” New York times Note that the ecologists puts everyone in a cave, then complains the lowest rungs will be affected the most.

November 27, 2019 2:48 pm

Users of electric wheelchairs depend on affordable electricity. Users of hand-propelled wheelchairs still depend on affordable energy for the wheelchair-manufacturing plant. Also, lifts.

Blind people use computers and smartphones with screen-readers to know the news, communicate via e-mail, listen to audiobooks, take notes and everything else. Take away reliable electricity and they’re back in the Braille age where a booklet like The Little Prince took up a brick-sized tome and where writing a ten-word-note took ten minutes. They’ll depend on somebody else to read their mail, keep their calendar, read them books, even take care of their bank account. Take away electricity and you take away their freedom.

The deaf-blind can communicate by typing words into a little Braille device connected to their smartphone, which shows the words on the screen for other people to read. Other people can then type text into the smartphone and the secondary device converts them to Braille for the deaf-blind person to feel. Take away reliable, affordable electricity and they’re cut off, unable even to ask for help.

Yes, the climate discussion is a disability rights issue: If the alarmists win, the disabled will suffer like the rest of us and then some.

Gordon Dressler
November 27, 2019 4:04 pm

OK, the time has now come to ask this one simple question: Is there anything . . . anything at all . . . that we CANNOT tie to—and, in some circuitous manner, blame on—“climate change”?

I will not be so bold as to first ask for a clear definition of what “climate change” actually means in context.

Reply to  Gordon Dressler
November 27, 2019 5:08 pm

Yes climate change won’t be blamed for anything good that happens it is the lefts version of the devil.

nw sage
November 27, 2019 5:35 pm

It is a law of nature that the authors seem to have forgotten: Any species that cannot change to adapt to/ accomodate physical changes in the environment will die. Period!
Look at the fossil record of species which no longer exist. That is all you need to know.

November 27, 2019 6:21 pm

I wonder how the marginalized disabled will have their lives enhanced by the dumbing down of society as it is shackled and force marched back to the Dark Age. Oh, I forgot. The elites would find them disposable, along with the elderly, the preborn, and anyone else who is inconvenient.

Reply to  Richard
November 27, 2019 8:05 pm

It’s already happened. In some societies, life deemed unworthy by a minority regime. In other societies, life deemed unworthy by a minority of one. All in the pursuit of wealth, pleasure, leisure, narcissistic indulgence, social progress, social justice, medical progress, taxable commodities, barefoot and available, and democratic leverage. A wicked solution, albeit to a hard problem.

Steven Curtis Lohr
November 27, 2019 6:29 pm

Stop using the words: sustainable, sustainability, “eco-whatever”, climate, and “center”, there, now that’s disabled.

Tom in Florida
November 27, 2019 6:59 pm

If you eliminate electric pin ball machines, what are the deaf, dumb and blind kids to do?

Serge Wright
November 28, 2019 1:37 am

considering the entire green alarmist community has an intellectual disability, you can see where this is going …

Reply to  Serge Wright
November 28, 2019 5:41 pm

These people are certainly un-able to get real jobs.

December 3, 2019 5:27 am

“Global environmental change should be considered a disability rights issue”

Climate change is god’s gift to all goofy leftist issues searching for a reason why….

Johann Wundersamer
December 3, 2019 7:50 am
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