Climate change is inextricably linked to global inequality patterns. The most vulnerable individuals suffer the brunt of the consequences of climate change while contributing the least to the problem.
Millions of vulnerable people face increased problems as the effects of climate change worsen in terms of severe events, health implications, food security, livelihood security, water security, and cultural identity.
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According to a recent study, children born in high-income nations experience twice as many catastrophic climatic events as their grandparents.
However, it will be far worse for youngsters in low-income countries. According to experts at the University of Brussels, they will view three times as many.
Social Inequality Worsened by Climate Change
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Poor, marginalized, and underprivileged people are speaking up to demand more aggressive action on climate change, discrimination, and other global concerns.
Climate change is more than an environmental catastrophe; it is also a social crisis that requires us to confront inequality on many levels: between rich and developing nations, within countries, between men and women, and between generations.
The expenses of tackling climate change frequently fall disproportionately on the most disadvantaged.
In the absence of well-designed and inclusive policies, climate change mitigation measures can impose a greater financial burden on poor households; for example, policies to expand public transportation or carbon pricing may result in higher public transportation fares, which will disproportionately affect more impoverished families.
Similarly, limiting forestry activities to specific periods of the year, if not adequately managed, might impact indigenous people who rely on trees for their livelihoods all year.
In addition to addressing the distributional effects of decarbonizing economies, there is a need to understand and address the social inclusion, cultural, and political economy aspects – such as deciding on the types of transitions required (economic, social, etc.) and identifying opportunities to address social inequality during these processes.
Efforts to Combat Climate Change
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While much progress has been made in terms of the science and the types of policies needed to support a transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient development, many countries are still grappling with how to engage citizens who may not understand climate change and how to gain support from those who are concerned that climate policies will unfairly affect them.
Lawmakers must include average citizens in the decision-making process, which necessitates transparency, access to information, and citizen engagement on climate risk and green growth to build coalitions of support or public demand to reduce climate impacts, overcome behavioral and political inertia to decarbonization, and generate new ideas for and ownership of solutions.
Furthermore, communities contribute to increasing resilience and tackling climate change unique views, skills, and a wealth of information. Rather than being viewed just as recipients, they should be included as collaborators in the resilience-building process.
Community leaders may define goals, influence ownership, and develop and administer investment programs that are responsive to their community’s needs, according to research and experience.
Communities and marginalized people may be connected to higher-level policy, technical, and financial support for locally relevant and successful development outcomes through innovations in climate finance architecture.
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