Climate Dividing our People
by Frederique Laprise on September 23, 2017 - 9:46pm
By Christine Vo, Frederique Laprise, Viviane Nguyen, and Alexanne Beaulieu
Climate Dividing our People
From sea level rising, to flooding and crop failures, certain regions and groups are more at risk than others. In fact, climate change has divided our people because not all countries are suffering the same disastrous consequences, leaving many of the poorest countries in disaster because of the pollution emitted by the richer countries.
To begin with, global wealth inequality is an important cause for this separation. The richest countries act as the biggest polluters and the developing countries are the most affected by their actions. Moreover, a recent report has shown that the richest 10% of the world population are accountable for 50% of global carbon emissions. It is convenient for them because they are not the most affected by their pollution and they forget about their consequences. However, the poorest 50% of the world population is responsible for 10% of emissions. Developing countries' plan for industrialization depends on fossil fuels so reducing their greenhouse gas emissions are not their number one priority. Thus, it isn't fair for the developed countries to ask developing countries to find alternatives when they don't do their own part.
How does this impact us geographically?
The year is 2013. Tycoon Haiyan makes its way into the Philippines, killing over 10 000 people. The death count can be explained by the country’s wealth. Being a poor country, Philippines didn’t necessarily have the right infrastructure and prevention plans to help their people. If the tycoon were to have been in the United States, the death toll would’ve been much lower as plans for evacuation would have been made, and the infrastructure is built to be resilient.
It is said that climate change will hit the world’s poorest the hardest. In fact, the higher the latitude, the higher the temperature rise. This being said, generally, the farther a country is from the equator the richer that country is (Canada, USA, Europe, etc.). In the same logic, as the poorest countries are situated in higher altitude, they will be more likely to be badly affected by climate change. This being said, it is safe to say that the poorer a country is, the harder it will be for them to adapt quickly to climate change as they are limited by their weak economy.
Proof of this is that the sea levels in the tropics are 15% to 20% higher than in the rest of the world. Droughts are becoming more frequent in low altitude regions like Africa, Middle East, USA, and Australia. As cities in developing countries life Africa and Asia expand, the poorest residents are pushed aside to the edges of the liveable land, which are also the most exposed and dangerous zones. This creates a division between the rich and the poor, leaving the poor disadvantaged.
What about the United States?
Solomon Hsiang, professor of public policy in the University of California says that rise temperatures happen and hit harder if you’re already living in a hot place. For example, countries in the tropics are more affected by climate change because it’s where hurricanes and intense flooding happen already occur frequently.
Consequently, Ecosystems, like coral reefs, are in danger in Florida as this state is starting to go down as temperature rises. We actually see in the United States a great disparity in consequences as the Northeast and West of the country aren’t really affected by climate change, contrary to the Midwest and the Southeast which are greatly affected.
In the Midwest and Southeast of USA, there are great economic losses that could be reduced if these world’s nations cut their emissions drastically. A good example to help reduce the economic losses would be to promote migration, as there would be less people living in the very affected zones.
Climate change has different effects on the planet, an one of those effects is climate divide. However, climate divide can not only be seen throughout the globe, it also has an impact on different regions of a country.
Let’s take for example the United States. It is stipulated that the Southeast and the Midwest of the USA will have an economic loss, which means that the Southeastern counties are going to be poorer than the Northeastern and the coastal. It is estimate that, for every increase in degree Celsius in the US, it is equivalent to 1.2% of their GDP in cost.
Agriculture is also affecting their economy. Due to global warming, it is estimate that more than 50% of the yield will fall in the South and Southwest. ON the other side, the North, such as the Great Lake and the New England, will benefit from climate change. This is due to the fact that in the northern counties winter season is getting shorter and the growing season is getting longer, which will help the northern economy.
The economy is not the only victim of climate divide, human life is also affected. South counties like North Carolina, Texas, and Charlotte, might have a rise of mortality rate of more than 20 people on 100 000. Is polluting really worth all the division created in our world?