A new UN report warns of a climate apartheid scenario, where the rich pay to escape the worst effects of climate change

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Who would not have seen this scenario coming? You don’t have to think long that only the richer countries can do something about the longer-term effects that global warming brings. In other words, the poorer countries will feel the real effects with disastrous consequences.

The UN has published a new report detailing the dangers of climate change, with a particular focus on how it will shape the issue of poverty in the coming decades. It paints a grim picture for not just those suffering in the current day, but the millions upon millions that will be pushed into poverty as a result of a changing climate, which also has the potential to upend democracy and human rights.

The new report echoes the sentiments of past climate reports published by the UN, calling on governments to do more than the steps laid out in the Paris Agreement in order to limit warming to levels considered safe. These have highlighted the issues of climate refugees, diminishing natural resources and extreme weather events, but the latest puts the spotlight on inequality between rich and poor, and how global warming threatens to widen the divide.

“Even if current targets are met, tens of millions will be impoverished, leading to widespread displacement and hunger,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights and report author Philip Alston. “Climate change threatens to undo the last 50 years of progress in development, global health, and poverty reduction. It could push more than 120 million more people into poverty by 2030 and will have the most severe impact in poor countries, regions, and the places poor people live and work.”

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