Chapter 3: Poverty and climate change
This chapter analyses the distributive impacts of climate change. Estimates of the economic costs of climate change tend to focus on the impacts on country-level or global gross domestic product. But such estimates do not capture the full impact of climate change on people’s well-being, given that the worst effects of climate change will be felt by the poorest members of society. The chapter outlines three main mechanisms through which the poor are disproportionately affected by climate change. Climate impacts on agriculture and ecosystems hit the poor hardest, given their reliance on primary production to sustain their livelihoods. The poor also suffer disproportionately the effects of natural hazards such as storms and floods. Finally, climate change will magnify some threats to health, especially for poor and vulnerable people – such as children. The chapter ends with a reflection on how policies can be designed to help alleviate the worst of these effects on the poor, with a view to achieving climate-resilient development.
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