Blog Action Day: Poverty and Climate Change

Climate Change is Happening and Will Increasingly Affect the Poor

In honor of Blog Action Day to help alleviate poverty, I offer readers access to this 26–page pdf report prepared from a variety of international experts and edited by Frank Sperling of the World Bank.

Poverty and Climate Change: Reducing the Vulnerability of the Poor Through Adaptation

From the forward:

Climate change is a serious risk to poverty reduction and threatens to undo decades of development efforts. As the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development states, “the adverse effects of climate change are already evident, natural disasters are more frequent and more devastating and developing countries more vulnerable.” While climate change is a global phenomenon, its negative impacts are more severely felt by poor people and poor countries. They are more vulnerable because of their high dependence on natural resources,and their limited capacity to cope with climate variability and extremes.

Experience suggests that the best way to address climate change impacts on the poor is by integrating adaptation responses into development planning. This is fundamental to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, including the over-arching goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015, and sustaining progress beyond 2015.

The objective of this document is to contribute to a global dialogue on how to mainstream and integrate adaptation to climate change into poverty reduction efforts. We hope this will move the discussion further towards action.

While this joint paper focuses on adaptation to climate change in relation to poverty, we understand that adaptation has to go hand in hand with mitigation of climate change by limiting greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We also reaffirm that industrialized countries should take the lead in combating climate change and its adverse effects.

We share a commitment to assisting and working with poor people, partner governments, civil societies, and the private sector in coping with the vulnerability of the poor to climate change. We resolve to ensure that our own institutions support this commitment.

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Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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  1. Here is a real life illustration of how Global warming worsens the plight of the poor: Gustav destroyed many homes in Jamaica where I live. Most of these homes were shacks that did not stand a chance against the winds. The situation in Haiti was much worse. The poor suffer a whole lot more from the increase in the number of hurricanes, which is linked to global warming.

  2. indeed. global warming affects us all, and the poor disproportionately.

    for my part, i turn to sites like freerice (rice donation), kiva (microfinance), and goodsearch (donation per search), as ways to help alleviate poverty online. i also put up their banners on my blog. 🙂

    saw this post via the blog action day site. it’s great that you’re participating. 🙂

    [a comment from manila, the philippines]


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