If our global climate change catastrophe continues unchecked, vast swaths of the world will likely become harsher and far less hospitable for humanity.
When that happens, an even greater rift will appear between the global haves and have-nots, as many people will be left without the means to escape the worst effects of the climate crisis, according to a new report published Tuesday by the U.N.’s Human Rights Council that describes an impending “climate apartheid.”
While the rich hire private firefighters or move to more expensive habitable areas, the report predicts that 120 million people will be pushed into poverty by 2030 by climate change. Many more will die.
The report describes how the poorest 3.5 billion people in the world are responsible for ten percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, while the richest ten percent of the global population is responsible for half.
“Perversely, the richest, who have the greatest capacity to adapt and are responsible for and have benefitted from the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions, will be the best placed to cope with climate change,” U.N. poverty and human rights official Philip Alston wrote in the report, “while the poorest, who have contributed the least to emissions and have the least capacity to react, will be the most harmed.”
In the report, Alston writes how the wealthy’s access to lifesaving resources has caused humanity to adapt to the climate crisis in the wrong direction — instead of acting to prevent or reverse the worst of climate change, the rich can afford to personally avoid the problem.
“An over-reliance on the private sector could lead to a climate apartheid scenario in which the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger, and conflict, while the rest of the world is left to suffer,” writes Alston.
More on climate change: Doomsday Report Author: Earth’s Leaders Have Failed