In terms of consequences of the climate crisis, the poorest populations are also the ones that are paying the highest price. Due to the effects of global warming, the drought-related food crisis and climate disasters, the most fragile communities will be hit the hardest: by 2030, 100 million more people will live in conditions of extreme poverty. Despite the fact that the poorest half of the world population generates only 10% of global CO2 emissions, Developing countries will in fact take on at least 75% of the costs caused by the climate crisis.
Another effect of climate change on these populations will be a strong increase in economic inequalities: if we let the world temperature exceed the threshold of 2 degrees centigrade, between 100 and 400 million people worldwide will suffer the lack of food, making the number of deaths from malnutrition reach 3 million a year.
A serious commitment on the side of governments is essential to counteract the risks associated with climate change. In concomitance with the United Nations Climate Action Summit and the week of the Global Climate Strike, ActionAid calls for concrete action:
- Adoption of agro-ecological practices and reduction of emissions. The agroeconomics is a crucial point elaborated in the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which calls for a shift to more sustainable farming techniques and aims at achieving a green transition. Rich countries will have to abandon their dependence on fossil fuels and industrial agriculture and respect the funding goal of 100 billion a year for the climate adaptation of developing countries.
- Listening to and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples, with particular attention to women and rural communities, to protect the biodiversity of the various ecosystems on Earth. Act against deforestation caused by the overconsumption of land resources, for example by reducing the industrial production of meat on large scale and by adopting more plant-based diets while consuming less meat of better quality.
- Revealing and halting green washing attempts made by companies that spread disinformation, aiming at masking as sustainable and "green" their agricultural practices, which are actually harmful to the Earth and its inhabitants.
Another effect of the environmental crisis will be the worsening of natural disasters caused by rising temperatures. Even in this case, the most fragile populations will pay the highest price: at the beginning of this year, the passage of the tropical cyclone Idai, which destroyed entire regions in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, brought to its knees about 3 million people, causing hundreds of victims. Today, thousands of farmers in these regions are fighting to restore their businesses.
Countries like Bangladesh, Senegal and Vietnam are now fighting to survive floods caused by the monsoon rains as the inhabitants of entire villages have been forced to migrate because of the salinization process and the increase in sea level. More than 1.3 billion people, particularly in Developing countries, are increasingly exposed to drought, desertification and food insecurity. And that's not all: in the future, up to 600 million more people in Africa could be victims of malnutrition because of the impact of the environmental crisis on agricultural systems. In Asia, nearly 2 billion people will face a chronic water shortage.
The climate crisis has also started to affect Switzerland, where the rise in temperatures during the recent years has almost completely melted the Pizol glacier, in the Glarus Alps. In addition to glaciers, rising temperatures represent a real danger for Swiss ski resorts, where the number of days annually with sub-zero temperatures is decreasing. In general, climate change will cause dry summers, more violent storms, less snowy winters and more sultry days in Switzerland.
In addition, the environmental crisis will also directly influence internal and external migration phenomena. According to a World Bank report, by 2050, internal population migration could affect more than 140 million people in the three regions of sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America.
ActionAid also takes part in the fight against climate change: ActionAid
- Works with communities, women and the most vulnerable in the world, to defend their rights and reduce the effects of climate change on their lives, mobilizes for the adoption and financing of national adaptation plans;
- Emphasizes effective and rights-based adaptation strategies, such as agroecology;
- Participates in risk mapping activities at the community level and implement, particularly with women, emergency response strategies and resilience programs;
- Opposes false solutions, remote from people and functional to increased profits of multinationals such as "Climate Smart Agriculture", geoengineering or bioenergy on a large scale.