UN expert warns that world faces ‘climate apartheid’

The UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights is warning that climate change is leading to a ‘climate apartheid’ where the wealthy can better adapt to the effects of climate change.

In a new report that he will present to the UN Human Rights Council next week, Philip Alston says that we are facing a ‘climate apartheid’, a world where the wealthy can pay to escape the effects of a hotter planet while the poor is left to suffer the brunt of climate change.

As reported by AFP, Alston argues that climate change is threatening to undo the last 50 years of progress made in reducing poverty. He cites previous research that climate change could make 140 million people across the developing world homeless by 2050.

“Perversely, while people in poverty are responsible for just a fraction of global emissions, they will bear the brunt of climate change and have the least capacity to protection themselves,” Alston said.

According to the article, Alston criticised the human rights community for failing to act on the threat of climate change, and singled out the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for not devoting enough attention to the issue.

“As a full-blown crisis that threatens the human rights of vast numbers of people bears down, the usual piecemeal, issue-by-issue human rights methodology is woefully insufficient,” he said.

Image credit: © UNICEF / Mukwazhi


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