World poverty to rise as climate change hits food supplies

Updated: Mar 01, 2022, 05:41 PM(IST)

UN experts on Monday (February 28) warned about the extreme weather and climate change that is hurting the world economy. Here's a report (Source: Reuters)

Climate change impacting faster than scientists anticipated

The latest global consensus on climate science has stated that climate change was impacting the world faster than scientists anticipated, even as countries failed to rein in carbon emissions driving the rise in global temperatures.

"Economic damages from climate change have been detected in climate-exposed sectors, with regional effects to agriculture, forestry, fishery, energy and tourism and through outdoor labour productivity," the report summary said. 


Climate changes affects individual livelihood

The report added: "Individual livelihoods have been affected through changes in agricultural productivity, impacts on human health and food security, destruction of homes and infrastructure, and loss of property and income, with adverse effects on gender and social equity." 


Vulnerable economies

It chose not to quantify the impact in global output terms, pointing to the wide range of existing estimates based on differing methodologies but said disproportionate harm would be felt by poorer, more vulnerable economies. 

"Significant regional variation in aggregate economic damages from climate change is projected with estimated economic damages per capita for developing countries often higher as a fraction of income," it concluded. 


Millions to be undernourished by 2050

Under what is called a "high vulnerability-high warming scenario", the report estimated that up to 183 million additional people would become undernourished in low-income countries due to climate change by 2050. 


More investments with growing climate change

Samuel Abettan, an economist at ING bank, said the report, in particular, highlighted that more investment was urgently needed to help the world deal with the growing impact of climate change, known as "adaptation" in climate finance jargon.

"That is the main point that is currently lacking: how to drive private climate finance towards adaptation goals," he said, adding that many investors deemed the short-term investment returns in this area not sufficiently attractive. 


Rising world fuel prices and Inflation

The report comes amid rising world fuel prices and inflation that have prompted some politicians to resist efforts to promote cleaner energy sources, arguing that doing so will only add to the overall cost of living for the poorest.


Agriculture wokers might shift to another sector

The IPCC report, however, focused on the inflationary risks of doing nothing to combat rising temperatures, citing notably how outdoors heat stress would make agricultural labour less productive, or prompt farmworkers to shift to other sectors.

"This would cause negative consequences such as reduced food production and higher food prices," it said, adding this would, in turn, lead to increased poverty, economic inequalities and involuntary migration to cities.


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