Countries across the world have largely left people with disabilities out of their climate policies, according to a report published on Friday. As a result of that oversight, when climate disasters like hurricanes and heat waves strike, those with disabilities are among the most vulnerable.
“Climate change has a disproportionate impact on persons with disabilities, but this is not inevitable,” said International Disability Alliance advisor Elham Youssefian in a release on the report, co-published with McGill University’s Disability Inclusive Climate Action Research Program. “It is the result of the systematic failure of states to engage with persons with disabilities.”
Those failures can be a matter of life and death. Evacuating from hurricanes and flood waters, and finding accessible shelter, is fraught with danger for people who use wheelchairs. Rolling power outages during the California wildfires of 2017 endangered people with chronic illnesses who rely upon medical devices like respirators. And when a heat wave struck Montreal in 2018, killing 66, people with schizophrenia — whose medication commonly makes them sensitive to heat — repre... Read more