climate change - inequality, poverty & development

Climate change will be one of the defining forces shaping prospects for human development during the 21st century. Through its impact on ecology, rainfall, temperature and weather systems, global warming will directly affect all countries. Nobody will be immune to the effects of climate change. However, it will be the world's poor who will feel the effects first and hardest, even though they have done the least to cause the problem. The world's poorest are the most vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters and ecological emergencies brought about by climate change as they do not have assets to fall back on, or defence systems to rely on. Such vulnerability raises questions for the whole future of human development, in health, education and nutrition, as rapidly changing ecological conditions pose serious challenges to the poorest countries and their people. It has been estimated that on a global scale, climate change and global warming will cause 360 million people to become refugees. These ‘climate change refugees' will also pose serious challenges to human development. Thus the short-term effects of climate change will create long-term development setbacks.