Written By: Emma Websdale
According to a new study from children’s charity Unicef, conditions brought on by global warming including boosts in food prices and heatwaves will put children at the forefront of climate change impacts.
The study, released last week warns that increased impacts of climate change including heat waves, malnutrition, disease and economic losses is one of the most pressing concerns facing children being born today.
Already 700 million children are living in the ten countries most vulnerable to climate change including Bangladesh, India and the Philippines, with 620 million of these being under 18 years of age.
“The legacy of climate change is no longer a distant projection, but will be felt by children born this year and beyond”, warns Unicef.
“A child born in 2013 will be 17 in 2030 and 37 in 2050, when the worst impacts of climate change will begin to be felt.”
Unicef’s study estimates that climate change will create an additional 25 million malnourished children by 2050. With a predicted 100 million families fleeing from their homes to escape the burdens of climate change, approximately 150-200 million of these will be children and are likely to suffer the most due to higher vulnerability to disease and lack of resources.
Unicef also predict that increased intensity and frequency of heatwaves are likely to result in higher occurrences of heatstroke induced deaths across babies and small children due to difficulties in regulating body temperature.
Furthermore, a report from Oxfam has warned that global warming could also rapidly increase food prices, causing severe consequences in poor countries. The study reported that by 2050, climate change could increase the number of people at the risk of hunger by 10-20%.
“We want a world in which everyone enjoys the right to affordable and nutritious food, and we cannot allow climate change to throw us off course”, said Tim Gore, International Policy Adviser on Climate Change for Oxfam.
He added, “Leaders listening to the latest findings from climate scientists this week must remember that a hot world is a hungry world. They must take urgent action to slash emissions and direct more resources to building a sustainable food system.”