Unless we act now: The impact of climate change on children
November 2015 :: 81 pages ISBN: 978-92-806-4826-3
Today’s children, and their children, are the ones who will live with the consequences of climate change. This report looks at how children, and particularly the most vulnerable, are affected and what concrete steps need to be taken to protect them.
Key Messages [Excerpt]
…Now is the time for action
The world must embark on low carbon development to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and needs to adapt to the impacts of climate change that cannot be halted. We can take steps now to safeguard our children’s future, notably:
:: Cutting greenhouse gas emissions so that the average rise in the global temperature is limited to a maximum of 2º Celsius, and ideally to 1.5ºC.
:: Prioritizing the needs of the most vulnerable in climate change adaptation efforts, particularly children – who will bear the brunt of climate change far longer than adults.
:: Reducing inequities among children now to promote their future resilience to climate change and other disasters or crises.
:: Listening to and acting on children’s perspectives on climate change.
:: Providing children and youth with climate change education, awareness raising and training.
:: Aligning and coordinating work on climate change adaptation, preparedness and disaster risk reduction at national and sub-national levels.
:: Protecting children and their families who are forced to move as a result of climate change.
:: Investing in children as part of national climate plans on mitigation and adaptation.
:: Scale-up proven approaches to address the changing needs of children.
Children deserve to live in a world free from the life-threatening effects of climate change. Given the overwhelming scientific evidence on the dangers of climate change, and the clear opportunities we have for altering its course, there is no excuse for not acting ambitiously.
Children will bear the brunt of climate change: UNICEF
More than half a billion children live in areas with extremely high flood occurrence, 160 million live in high drought severity areas
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 24 November 2015 – More than half a billion children live in areas with extremely high flood occurrence and 160 million in high drought severity zones, leaving them highly exposed to the impacts of climate change, UNICEF said in a report released ahead of the 21st United Nations climate change conference, known as COP21.
Of the 530 million children in the flood-prone zones, some 300 million live in countries where more than half the population lives in poverty – on less than $3.10 a day. Of those living in high drought severity areas, 50 million are in countries where more than half the population lives in poverty.
“The sheer numbers underline the urgency of acting now,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Today’s children are the least responsible for climate change, but they, and their children, are the ones who will live with its consequences. And, as is so often the case, disadvantaged communities face the gravest threat.”
Climate change means more droughts, floods, heatwaves and other severe weather conditions. These events can cause death and devastation, and can also contribute to the increased spread of major killers of children, such as malnutrition, malaria and diarrhoea. This can create a vicious circle: A child deprived of adequate water and sanitation before a crisis will be more affected by a flood, drought, or severe storm, less likely to recover quickly, and at even greater risk when faced with a subsequent crisis.
The vast majority of the children living in areas at extremely high risk of floods are in Asia, and the majority of those in areas at risk of drought are in Africa…