It is nearly a cliché to declare that the failure of the world’s governments to respond to the repeated warnings by scientists and environmentalists about the perils of climate change is a crime against future generations.
However, as a new study released Monday by Oxfam International proves, clichés are born of facts and when it comes to the destructive impact that global warming will have on children—especially in developing nations and poverty-hit regions—the prospects are frightening.
“Leaders listening to the latest findings from climate scientists this week must remember that a hot world is a hungry world.” –Tim Gore, Oxfam
Contained in a new report, titled (pdf), the Oxfam study found that human-driven climate change will leave vulnerable families “caught in a vicious spiral of falling incomes, rising food prices, and declining quality of food, leading to a devastating impact on the health of millions.”
In that scenario, according to comments by experts at UNICEF, it is babies and young children who are most susceptible to malnutrition, starvation, and stunted development.
According to the Oxfam report, climate change “will reduce the nutritional value of both crops and livestock, worsen human health and lead to higher prices” of staple crops and key sources of nutrients.
“We’ve long known that climate change will mean lost crops, but increasingly we’re seeing its impacts through higher food prices, lower earnings, more health problems and lower quality food too,” said Tim Gore, Head of Policy for Oxfam’s GROW campaign said.
Not only that, but at a time when one in eight people in the world are already going hungry, changes in the climate will reduce production and increase food costs simultaneously, producing shocks which those already stressed by poverty will not be able to absorb, creating a dangerous and deadly spiral.
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