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How climate change worsens inequality


As we enter the last month of the year in a few days, countries who have joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will once again gather for the annual climate conference, or the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC.


This year’s COP 28 will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12, 2023. The conference will include the first Global Stocktake, where nations will assess the progress made towards the goals set in the Paris Agreement — which was signed in 2015 — and chart a course of action.


And while nations argue what needs to be done, who needs to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissionsmore, how much funding support should industrialized nations provide developing countries that are bearing the brunt of climate change, millions are experiencing the effects of this crisis on a daily basis.


For instance, developing countries and small island nations are among the worst-hit by the impacts of climate change. The poor do not have the means to cope with the effects of droughts that affect farming, sea level rise that threatens coastal communities, ocean acidification that is affecting fisheries yield, among others.


Moreover, women are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Studies have shown that women and girls often face disproportionately high health risks from the impacts of climate change when compared to men and boys.


A 2022 UN Women report revealed that rising temperatures have been linked to a higher incidence of stillbirth, and the spread of vector-borne diseases like malaria, dengue fever, and Zika virus which are associated with adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes. 


Moreover, women and girls are more vulnerable when there is displacement due to climate change. It is estimated that 80 percent of individuals displaced by climate change are women, exposing them to heightened risks of violence, including sexual violence.

 

What COP 28 must deliver


Unless, we all drastically cut down on GHG emissions, we will continue to experience warmer temperatures. In fact, according to the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the Himalayan glaciers are on track to lose up to 75 percent of their ice by the century’s end due to global warming.


Moreover, unless we forge gender-inclusive climate policies, women and girls will continue to bear the greater impact of this climate crisis.


At COP 28, nations are once again given a chance to make bold commitments that will yield exceptional results to combatting climate change and mitigating its effects. We hope this year’s conference will be extraordinarily productive, inspiring, and uplifting for everyone, especially for those seeking climate justice. 

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