In December 2015, world leaders gathered in Paris, France to come up with the first-ever legally binding global agreement to tackle climate change.
Hundreds of groups of children under various banners and from many countries gave testimony at the conference about their fears for the future.
To mark the occasion, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) produced a report entitled Unless We Act Now: The Impact of Climate Change on Children, to show what
life is like for children living in countries severely affected by climate change.
Yaki Martins, 14, from Honduras, spoke about rising temperatures: “In 2011 a tidal wave completely destroyed my house. It was a day I still remember. The sea flooded hundreds of
metres inland and my family and I only had time to find safety while carrying our basic necessities.”
“I last saw rain many months ago. I am not happy because we are not eating well because all our crops have dried up. There is very little to harvest and it is not enough,” said Nakiru, eight years old, from Uganda.
UNICEF has warned that children will suffer disproportionately from climate change. They will encounter food insecurity, rising pollution, an increased risk of vector-borne diseases, respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases and malnutrition.
Some of the most dense child population areas in the world are likely to suffer from flooding, drought and water and heat stress. These include parts of South Asia; particularly coastal South Asia and south of the Himalayas; the Mekong Delta; the Nile river basin; the Pacific Islands; equatorial Africa and the Pacific coast of Latin America,” says the report.
Writing for the Financial Times in December 2015, journalist Pilita Clark stated: “More than 180 of the countries involved in the talks have each volunteered an initial pledge to limit their emissions for the Paris accord, which is not due to take effect until 2020.
“Together, those commitments do not add up to enough cuts in heat-trapping greenhouse gases to stop temperatures warming beyond 2C from pre-industrial times, a level governments have
already agreed should not be breached.”
Category: Autumn 2016