A new climate study paints a terrifying future for the youngest generation who will face far worse climate disasters in their lifetimes than previous generations.
About the research: Researchers at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium looked into the impacts of climate change across generations and found sharp inequities between them, reported the Washington Post.
- The research, published in the journal Science this week, was the first study to model such future climate scenarios while applying projections across different age groups around the world.
- The climate scientists found that the current trajectory of Earth’s warming could result in today’s children living through approximately three times as many climate disasters as their grandparents.
- The youngest generation will see twice as many wildfires, 1.7 times more tropical cyclones, 3.4 times more river floods, 2.5 times more crop failures and 2.3 times more droughts compared to someone born in the ‘60s.
- Compared to people who lived 150 years ago, today’s children will likely experience an average of five times more climate disasters.
- Meanwhile, those under 40 are reportedly set to live “a life of unprecedented disaster exposure.” In the preindustrial era, the chances of experiencing an extreme climate event was just 1 in 10,000.
Even worse for the third world: The study also highlighted that children in developing countries will be more gravely affected by climate change.
- Researchers behind the study are now calling for more ambitious policies from leaders attending the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12. Participants are expected to set targets to reduce emissions by 2030.
- “Young people are being hit by climate crisis but are not in position to make decisions,” said Wim Thiery, the study’s lead author. “While the people who can make the change happen will not face the consequences.”
- Thiery further noted that since their study mainly focused on the frequency of extreme events, it is likely that impacts will be even greater than projected. The study did not take into account the length and severity of these future events.
- According to Thiery, severe scenarios can still be avoided if countries start making aggressive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and continue contributing to efforts against global warming.
Featured Image via Gerd Altmann