UNICEF report finds that virtually no child will escape the impact of global warming

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Aug 20, 2021, 01:36 PM(IST)

Climate change activists take part in a demonstration of the Fridays for Future movement in Lausanne, Switzerland January 17, 2020. (File Photo) Photograph:( Reuters )

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This report highlights the necessity of involving young people in negotiations and decisions on climate 

Globally, nearly half of the 2.2 billion children are at serious risk due to climate change, according to a new UNICEF report.

The report found that almost every child today faces the threat of one of these events; heatwaves, floods, cyclones, disease, droughts, and air pollution.

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1 billion children in 33 countries, however, are experiencing more than one of these simultaneously. Among the most vulnerable countries are India, Nigeria, the Philippines, and most of sub-Saharan Africa.

This report is the first one to combine high-resolution maps of environmental impacts with maps depicting child vulnerability such as poverty, health care access, access to clean water and education. 

Nick Rees, one of the report's authors, said that it essentially shows the likelihood of children surviving climate change.

The report was released on the third anniversary of Greta Thunberg's historic first school strike that ignited the global climate movement.

A key aspect of this report is that it emphasises the necessity of involving young people in all climate negotiations and decisions, including during the Cop26 summit in Glasgow in November.

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Thunberg, 18, said the UNICEF index confirmed children would be the worst affected, and when world leaders meet in Glasgow in November for COP26 they needed to act rather than just talk.

The report stated that climate crisis impacts were deeply inequitable, with a high chance of getting worse. 

Rees estimates that the top ten countries at extremely high risk account for 0.5 per cent of global emissions.

Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director highlighted a survey by the organisation which found 9 out of 10 young people in 21 countries felt it was their responsibility to help tackle climate change. 

Young people were leading by example, she said, adding that, compared to adults, children faced greater risks in the "increasingly unrecognisable" world they would inherit. They are less likely to be able to withstand extreme weather events and will be more susceptible to toxic chemicals, diseases and temperature changes.

(With inputs from agencies)

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