Monday, November 12, 2012

Step up climate action to reduce poverty

Helen Clark in AlertNet: The devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy reminds us once again of the destructive potential of extreme weather - even in a developed country such as the United States, and even with ample warning and swift emergency response. From Kingston, Jamaica to Jamaica, Queens, this “perfect storm” exacted a deadly toll that New York’s mayor reckoned was even higher as a result of climate change.

But while developed countries dig ever deeper to fund elaborate flood defense systems, compensate farmers, and adjust thermostats to accommodate hotter summers, the consequences of climate change in Africa can be catastrophic: Crops fail. People go hungry. Girls spend less time in school and more time collecting increasingly scarce water for their families.

With little ability to plan for disasters or adjust to shifting weather patterns, poor people and poor countries bear the brunt of more frequent droughts, intense storms, and floods - dramatically undercutting hard-won gains in human development and productivity.

Without more coordinated global action to tackle climate change, now, addressing global poverty - and all its associated risks - will become exponentially more difficult, and costs associated with adapting to and mitigating climate change will rise sharply.

Significant finance already exists for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Applied to smart strategies, we could, as a global community, make the transition to green and inclusive economies that tackle inequality, advance development, and stop the ongoing assault on our ecosystem...

Women carrying water in Afghanistan in 1976, shot by Ian Alexander, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license 

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