CLIMATE CRISIS – Children in Asia face life with far more scorching heatwaves, floods, droughts than grandparents

Tuesday 28 September 2021

 

Pakistan, 28 September – Children born in the last year in Pakistan will live through 4.5 times more scorching heatwaves, 6.7 times more river floods, 1.8 times more droughts and 2.9 times more crop failures than their grandparents (people born in 1960), according to new research released today by Save the Children in their latest report, Born into the Climate Crisis – why we must act now to secure children’s rights.

The report outlines the devastating impact of the climate crisis on children if urgent action is not taken. It looks into how children in poorer communities will be worst affected, as they are already at a far greater risk of battling waterborne diseases, hunger and even facing death due to malnutrition, increased floods and cyclones. Moreover, these climate impacts risk trapping millions more children into long-term poverty.

Under current pledges, children born in 2020 will face 7% more wildfires, 26% more crop failures, 31% more droughts, 30% more river floods, and 65% more heatwaves than if global warming were stopped at 1.5°C.

Save the Children emphasised there is still time to turn this bleak future around. If the rise is kept to a maximum of 1.5 degrees, the on newborns is cut by 45% for heatwaves; by 39% for droughts; by 38% for river floods; by 28% for crop failures, and by 10% for wildfires.

Eisha Ayub, 17, a young climate activist from Islamabad represented Pakistan at the Youth4Climate Event held in Italy, Milan on Monday, 27th September as part of the series of international conferences being held in the eve of COP-26.  Speaking about the role of the youth in tackling the climate crisis, she said, “We look to world leaders as our hope and your support will help is in our mission to hand over a better planet to the next generation.”

For Born Into The Climate Crisis, Save the Children worked with an international team of climate researchers led by the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, which calculated the impact of a range of extreme climate-related events on children born in 2020 compared to people born in 1960. The findings painted a harrowing picture of devastating wildfires, river floods, droughts, crop failures and suffocating heatwaves for this and future generations.

“Our report shows the terrifying reality for this generation if we don’t act now,” said Shaheen Chughtai, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns for Save the Children in Asia. “Children in Asia will be among the worst affected, but every child will feel the ravaging impact of this climate emergency.

 “The recent heatwaves in the US and Canada, the wildfires in Australia, the recent floods in Europe and China, the multiple droughts driving food crises in countries like Afghanistan, have clearly shown that nowhere is safe. Without urgent action, we will be handing over a deadly future to our children.”

Mr Chughtai continued: “The climate crisis is a child rights crisis at its core. We need to scrap our dependency on fossil fuels, set up financial safety nets and support the hardest hit people. We can turn this around – but we need to listen to children and jump into action. Exceeding the maximum ceiling of 1.5-degree temperature rise smothers the hopes of a bright future for children who haven’t even been born yet.”

To limit the impact of climate change on the lives of millions of children, Save the Children is calling for an increase of climate financing so vulnerable communities can prepare for crises, with specific criteria to ensure child-centred investments, and to support poorer countries manage unavoidable impacts. Governments must also ensure financial safety nets are available for the most vulnerable families, to help them face the impacts of climate change.