Welcome to the United Nations

II. Climate change and inequality nexus

Download: Chapter II (0.3 Mb)

Key messages

  • Climate change and inequality are locked in a vicious cycle. Initial socioeconomic inequalities determine the disproportionate adverse effects of climate hazards on people at disadvantage. The impact of climate hazards in turn results in greater inequality.
  • Climate hazards affect the poor and vulnerable groups disproportionately by (a) increasing their exposure to those hazards, (b) increasing their susceptibility to damage and (c) decreasing their ability to cope with and recover from that damage.
  • Existing exposure and vulnerability have been shaped by the economic and political factors, social norms and individual characteristics that put vulnerable groups at a disadvantage. Because of the lack of capacity to cope and recover, vulnerable groups frequently experience a disproportionate loss of life, human capital, assets and income.
  • Addressing the root causes of inequalities to enable adaptation and the building of resilience to climate hazards will require a continuum of development policies, planning and practices which result in transformative change and sustainable development.
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