More than 100 million people could lose their livelihoods by 2030 due to extreme weather and sea level rise, making it impossible to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of eliminating global poverty, the World Bank reported Sunday.
“Climate change hits the poorest the hardest, and our challenge now is to protect tens of millions of people from falling into extreme poverty because of a changing climate,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. Calling poverty and climate “the defining issues of our generation,” he told reporters the “best way forward is to tackle poverty alleviation and climate change in an integrated strategy.”
The Bank calculates that 702 million people around the world now live in poverty. That number will balloon to 900 million if development progresses slowly, a billion after factoring in the effects of climate change.
“Poor families are more vulnerable to climate stresses than the rich because their main assets are often badly built homes and degrading land, and their losses are largely uninsured,” Reuters reports. “The report warns that, between now and 2030, climate policies can do little to alter the amount of global warming that will happen, making it vital to invest in adaptation measures and broader ways to make people more resilient.”
Examples of that response already exist. Rowling cites Hurricane Pam in Vanuatu as an instance when “a payout from a regional catastrophe risk scheme helped speed the response.” In a 2011 famine in Ethiopia, “a national program providing food and cash in return for work on community projects was quickly expanded.” (h/t to InsideClimate News for first pointing us to this story)