Monday, July 04, 2016

As global temperatures rise, children must be central climate change debates

Public Release: 4-May-2016
As global temperatures rise, children must be central climate change debates
Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Rising temperatures, rising sea levels and the increasing likelihood of extreme weather will all alter children's lives and the lives of their own children. And yet, children are largely left out of discussions about appropriate responses to climate change, according to a journal released by Princeton University and the Brookings Institution.

Forecasts suggest that by 2050, the world could see 200 million environmental migrants, many of whom would be children. For this reason and others, children should be central to such climate change debates. They--as well as future generations--have a much larger stake in the outcome than current generations, authors argue in the latest volume of Future of Children.


Four interrelated themes emerge from the issue:

Climate change will fundamentally alter Earth's climate system in many ways that threaten children's physical and mental wellbeing, both directly and indirectly.

Today's children and future generations will bear a disproportionate share of the burden caused by climate change.

Poor children, children in developing countries and countries with weak institutions face the greatest risks.

The uncertainties associated with climate change and its mitigation--coupled with the fact that the costs of climate change mitigation policies need to be paid now, but the benefits will accrue in the future--make it difficult to enact appropriate policies.


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