Climate Change Could Push 100 Million Into Poverty

A new study by the World Bank claims that climate change could do more than cause rising ocean levels and higher temperatures across the global. The trend also could drive 100 million people into poverty, which is just shy of a third of the total population of the United States.

The World Bank’s Climate Change and Development Series has added a new study titled “Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty.” The study tackles two issues. The first is that rising temperatures will trigger “higher agricultural prices” that may affect food security. The worst of the affect will be in poor areas, such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The other problem is that climate change will increase the incidence of flooding.

According to the study’s authors:

Climate change also will magnify many threats to health, as poor people are more susceptible to climate-related diseases such as malaria and diarrhea. As the report points out, poverty reduction is not a one-way street. Many people exit or fall back into poverty each year. The poor live in uncertainty, just one natural disaster away from losing everything they have.


We need good, climate-informed development to reduce the impacts of climate change on the poor. This means, in part, providing poor people with social safety nets and universal health care. These efforts will need to be coupled with targeted climate resilience measures, such as the introduction of heat resistant crops and disaster preparedness systems.

The report shows that without this type of development, climate change could force more than 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030. But with rapid, inclusive development that is adapted to changing climate conditions, most of these impacts can be prevented.

Reports of this sort have a history of being ignored. There is no reason to believe this one will be any different.

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