The Meek Shall Inherit the Dearth
Climate change threatens to reverse progress on fighting poverty
Global warming will disproportionately harm the world’s poorest people and “perpetuate injustices unprecedented in human history,” says Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth. Such is the conclusion of a sobering report called “Up in Smoke,” released this week by a 17-member coalition of environmental and international aid groups. Climate change, it says, threatens to make the Millennium Development Goals — focused on halving world poverty by 2015 — unattainable. When it comes to recommendations, the report pulls no punches: It says developed countries need to reduce their carbon-dioxide emissions by 60 to 80 percent from 1990 levels, well beyond Kyoto targets, and stop subsidizing fossil-fuel industries to the tune of tens of billions of dollars a year. It also urges that plans be made to relocate communities hit particularly hard by warming, and asks developed countries to spend more on education and small-scale renewable-energy projects in poor countries.