The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report last week detailing the risks people will face around the world as climate change worsens.

“Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability” from Working Group II of the IPCC summarizes scientific literature from hundreds of authors to identify vulnerable populations, ecosystems, and industries. It warns of coming problems linked to climate change, including a reduction in food security, an increase in the risk of violent conflicts, and the worsening of poverty. IPCC Chairperson Rajendra K. Pachauri also discussed a rise in vector-borne diseases and an increase in extreme climate events during a press conference.

According to the report, “People who are socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally, or otherwise marginalized are especially vulnerable to climate change and also to some adaptation and mitigation responses.”

Women are especially vulnerable. According to an earlier UN report released in 2009, women’s traditional role as homemaker along with their greater participation in the agricultural work force directly relates to increased vulnerability. Caring for family members can limit women’s mobility, and drought and erratic rainfall force women to work harder to secure food, water and energy for their homes.

“To reduce these risks, substantial reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions must be made, along with smart strategies and actions to improve disaster preparedness and reduce exposure to events caused by climate change,” said United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in a statement.

To learn more, check out Feminist Majority Foundation’s toolkit on women and the environment. 

Media Resources: United Nations News Centre 3/31/14; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; ThinkProgress 3/30/14; Feminist Newswire 11/19/09

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