Accessing, Obtaining and Protecting
Elgar Law, Technology and Society series
Edited by Abbe E.L. Brown
Chapter 7: Access to essential environmental technologies and poor communities: why human rights should be prioritized
Climate change is commonly understood as a global phenomenon, but it is equally, even though it is rarely acknowledged, a particular phenomenon. It is particular phenomenon for some of the poorest communities in the world, given that their ability to respond to climate change is impeded by a combination of institutional, social, economic and geo- graphical factors. Many lives in Africa, Asia and Latin America (for purposes here, the Third World) are either already condemned or potentially condemned by the effects of climate crisis. Floods and droughts, which have in turn contributed to massive hunger, amongst other problems, in many parts of the Third World, constitute the most visible signs of climate change. The future for poor communities in the Third World is bleak if the implications of the available statistics on climate change from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are anything to go by. The UNFCCC predicts that a 20 to 30 per cent rise in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 will lead to a 3 per cent rise in temperature this century, and this will further lead to a number of anticipated consequences, including an increase in disease, reduction of crop yields and rise in hunger. Climate change, the UNFCCC says, would further exacerbate Third World food security by contributing to the destruction of 20 to 30 per cent of all plant and animal species. The existing levels and sources of water supply, however dismal they already may be, are also put at risk by climate change.
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