Under current global climate policies, children born in 2021 around the world face a dire future of climate disasters with disproportionate rates of floods, heatwaves, droughts, forest fires and poor harvests. report to their grandparents, according to a study released Sunday.
The study, published in the journal Science, found that children born in 2021 will, on average, live on an Earth with seven times as many heat waves, twice as many forest fires and nearly three times as many droughts, river floods and crop failures than people born 60 years old. years ago.
“This essentially means that people under 40 today will live unprecedented lives, even under the most stringent climate change mitigation scenarios,” lead author Wim Thiery said in a statement. “Our results highlight a serious threat to the safety of younger generations and call for drastic reductions in emissions to safeguard their future.”
The Vrije Universiteit Brussel, a Belgian public university, led the study, which included an international team of more than 30 researchers from universities including Imperial College London and the University of Nottingham in England.
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Children who experience “climate extremes” unfairly suffer the consequences of inaction by adults today, study co-author Joeri Rogelj said in the statement.
Reducing emissions can make a difference, Rogelj added.
“With this study, we lay bare the fundamental injustice of climate change across generations, as well as the responsibilities of adults and elders in power today,” he said.
These extreme weather events will also disproportionately affect children in developing countries, said researchers who calculated lifetime exposures to weather events for each generation born between 1960 and 2020 in all countries around the world.
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In sub-Saharan Africa, 172 million children face a six-fold increase in extreme events during their lifetime and 50 times more heat waves. That compares to 53 million children of the same age born in Europe and Central Asia, who will face about four times as many extreme events as their grandparents, according to the statement.
As current policies put the world on track to 3 degrees Celsius warming above pre-industrial temperatures, researchers say, meet Paris Agreement target of limiting warming to 1.5 degree would greatly reduce the burden of extreme weather events on the next generation.
Co-author Simon Gosling supported establishing more ambitious plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Our research shows very clearly the responsibility of the present generation to future generations in terms of climate change,” said Gosling in a statement, which praised the efforts of the youth of the world to increase awareness of climate change by the through strikes and demonstrations in schools.
Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.