Recently, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with Fridays for Future launched a report named ‘The Climate Crisis Is a Child Rights Crisis: Introducing the Children’s Climate Risk Index’.
GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Environmental Degradation and its Impact, Environmental Impact Assessment), GS-II: Social Justice (Issues related to Children)
Dimensions of the Article:
- ‘The Climate Crisis Is a Child Rights Crisis: Introducing the Children’s Climate Risk Index’
- Way Forwards/Recommendations in the UNICEF report
‘The Climate Crisis Is a Child Rights Crisis: Introducing the Children’s Climate Risk Index’
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released a report called ‘The Climate Crisis Is a Child Rights Crisis: Introducing the Children’s Climate Risk Index’ which is the first comprehensive analysis of climate risk from a child’s perspective.
Highlights of the Children’s Climate Risk Index report
- The Children’s Climate Risk Index ranks countries based on children’s exposure to climate and environmental shocks, such as Cyclones and Heatwaves, as well as their vulnerability to those shocks, based on their access to essential services.
- Pakistan (14th), Bangladesh (15th), Afghanistan (25th) and India (26th) are among four South Asian countries where children are at extremely high risk of the impacts of the climate crisis.
- Young people living in the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau are the most at risk of the impacts of climate change. These children face a deadly combination of exposure to multiple climate and environmental shocks with a high vulnerability due to inadequate essential services, such as water and sanitation, healthcare and education.
- Nearly every child around the world is at risk from at least one of the climate and environmental hazards which are Coastal Flooding, Riverine Flooding, Cyclones, Vector Borne Diseases, Lead Pollution, Heatwaves and Water Scarcity. An estimated 850 million children – 1 in 3 worldwide – live in areas where at least four of these climate and environmental shocks overlap.
- There is a disconnect between where GreenHouse gas (GHG) Emissions are generated, and where children are enduring the most significant climate-driven impacts.
- Climate change is deeply inequitable. While no child is responsible for rising global temperatures, they will pay the highest costs.
- Compared to adults, children require more food and water per unit of their body weight, are less able to survive extreme weather events, and are more susceptible to toxic chemicals, temperature changes and diseases, among other factors.
- The majority of the carbon emission reduction pledges for 2030 that 184 countries made under the Paris Agreement aren’t nearly enough to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.
- Some countries won’t achieve their pledges, and some of the world’s largest carbon emitters will continue to increase their emissions.
- India is among four South Asian countries where children are most at risk of the impacts of climate change threatening their health, education, and protection.
- It is estimated that more than 600 million Indians will face ‘acute water shortages’ in the coming years, while at the same time Flash Flooding is to increase significantly in the majority of India’s urban areas once the global temperature increase rises above 2 Celsius.
- Twenty-one of the world’s 30 cities with the most polluted air in 2020 were in India.
Way Forwards/Recommendations in the UNICEF report
- Increase investment in climate adaptation and resilience in key services for children.
- Countries must cut their emissions by at least 45% (compared to 2010 levels) by 2030 to keep warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
- Provide children with climate education and greens skills, critical for their adaptation to and preparation for the effects of climate change.
- Include young people in all national, regional and international climate negotiations and decisions, including at COP (Conference of the Parties- A climate Convention) 26 (It will be held in Glasgow, UK in November 2021).
- Ensure the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is green, low-carbon and inclusive, so that the capacity of future generations to address and respond to the climate crisis is not compromised.
-Source: Down to Earth Magazine