The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has released a report that reveals the world’s children are most at risk from the effects of global warming. More than 600 million children who live in the 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change are at increased risk from malaria, diarrhea, malnutrition, hunger and displacement. A child born this year will be 17 in 2030 and 37 in 2050 when the worst effects of climate change are expected in the form of more extreme and frequent droughts, floods, storms, heat waves and wildfires.

Image © CIFOR

UNICEF states that “the evidence in this report is clear. Climate change is already having an effect on children’s lives and will have an even more profound effect on their futures.”

The study was released as scientists gathered in Stockholm, Sweden this week to finalize the latest and most comprehensive Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that is expected to find the most conclusive evidence yet that human activity is causing catastrophic climate change.

Policy recommendations from the UNICEF report include significantly cutting carbon emissions, equipping vulnerable communities to help them adapt to the effects of climate change, financing climate change mitigation strategies, allowing young people to participate in climate change policy decisions, agreeing to a new global climate change treaty, and continuing climate change action over the long term to take into account the risks children face.

The report concludes that “Children and young people have offered their views and highlighted their calls for action. It is now time for us to rise to their challenge and build a climate fit for children. Action now to protect children from climate change will help secure a brighter future for all.”

A separate report released Monday by Oxfam warns that climate change will also increase food costs, creating shortages and hunger in poor countries.

+ UNICEF report on children and climate change

+ Oxfam report on climate change, food and hunger

+ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 

Via The Guardian

Lead image via Bioversity International