nishtar6_Sabir MazharAnadolu AgencyGetty Images_pakistanheatwave Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Climate Policy Is Social Policy

Poor and marginalized communities are the most affected by global warming, and they have the least resources to cope with the climate crisis. Pakistan aims to show that it is possible to lift people out of poverty while also tackling the climate emergency.

ISLAMABAD – The number of days each year when the temperature exceeds 50°C (122°F) has doubled since the 1980s, and occurs in more places than ever. This extreme heat is having a dramatic effect on the health of humans, animals, and the environment. According to a recent World Bank report on climate migration, over the next 30 years, 216 million people could be displaced by rising temperatures, water scarcity, and declining crop productivity. They will be forced to abandon their communities and livelihoods in search of better prospects.

When the temperature in Jacobabad, Pakistan reached 52°C in June, those with the means to leave did so. The poor had no choice but to try to survive in the face of punishing heat and water shortages.

This story of haves and have-nots rings true around the world. It demonstrates how poor and marginalized communities often are the most affected by the manifestations of climate change. While it is still possible to slow and potentially correct the climate emergency if immediate and dramatic action is taken, some changes to the environment already are unavoidable. To ensure that people can continue to live in cities like Jacobabad, radical action on global warming must be paired with progressive poverty reduction policies to build stronger communities.

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