As 20,000 heads of state, diplomats, activists and lobbyists descend on Glasgow next week for the UN global warming conference, COP26, the lives of millions of people in some of the world’s poorest countries will hang in the balance.
While much of the public messaging around climate change has focused on future threats if we fail to take steps to prevent average global temperatures rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, for millions of people in the world’s poorest countries, climate change is dramatically impacting their lives today and threatening their very existence.
From the two million Kenyans who are currently experiencing the latest in a series of increasingly frequent droughts, to the estimated 500,000 Bangladeshis annually forced by rising sea levels and flooding to leave their homes in low-lying coastal areas to move inland into over-crowded cities, the impact of climate change is very real and immediate today.
The climate crisis is a key driver of hunger in the world. Climate models project higher average temperatures in most land and ocean regions, hot extremes in the majority of inhabited regions, and heavy precipitation and an ever-greater probability of drought in some areas.