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How the Climate Crisis Intersects With Other Dimensions of Inequality

The industrial revolution was a cause of great economic growth. However, it has had negative ramifications on the environment. An IMF report in the year 2021 elucidates that the revolution brought a lot of economic growth. However, there also comes some risk of an additional 68 to 135 being exposed to poverty by 2030 by the climate crisis (Guivarch et al.). The report looks at the imbalance and inequality issues that may result from the climate crisis despite the positive yields that it has had on some countries. The various dimensions of inequality, like race, class, gender, sexuality, nation, and disability, are among the biggest risk factors for the people living in poverty or those in countries that are living below the poverty line. Therefore, this paper is written to show that the climate crisis intersects with other dimensions of inequality by increasing the risk of exposure, and despite the chances of bringing the global community together, there are multiple ways in which it is going to increase global inequality.

The climate crisis can be viewed as an infrastructure for inequality. An infrastructure of inequality, as Webster et al.(163) explain, are weapons that might be used by powerful nations to gain a greater advantage or increase the inequality gap. The nations institutionalize power, governance, and policies in a way that only favors them, forgetting the majority of the nations that are poor and fighting the various ramifications of poverty. The majority of the poor nations and the disadvantaged groups rely on nature to get a meal. This is through efforts like mining and agriculture. On the other hand, the vast majority of the developed countries, who are the policymakers, rely on improved technology and other strong sources of funds to drive their economies. Therefore, if anything, the disadvantaged group of people remains the most vulnerable in different circumstances. This is because they have to deal with the consequences of the climate crisis directly.

According to the IMF report in 2021 on Linking climate and inequality, the risk of the climate crisis and its implications could reverse the economic development that the globe has experienced. The projections in the long-term implications of this are based on the policy structure analysis and the different human activities (Guivarch et al.). The report makes it clear that poor people are at greater risk due to the basic requirements of the policies that have been put in place. The policies are meant to be applied equally in both developed and poor countries. This is inconsiderate of the pollution and emission levels that are linked to either of the parties. The developed countries, which cover only 16 percent of the world’s population, contribute to almost 40 percent of the carbon emissions. Sixty percent of the global population falls under the world bank classification of the poorest people. However, they contribute to less than 15% of the emissions. Therefore, this shows a great difference in the contribution to the crisis. However, when the policies are made, they are often inconsiderate of the difference in the levels of contribution and the risk of the disadvantaged groups suffering more harm.

From the global perspective, disadvantaged groups have a deep history rooted in some factors like colonialism. It is evident that the highest cases of inequality, like those in South Africa, result from the history of colonization by rich countries. As a result of the apartheid regime in South Africa, many families still lack access to clean water. This can be linked to the agenda by the Nothern institutions to get the resources from Africa in exchange for epistemological frameworks for knowledge creation among the people (Webster et al. 5). Therefore, most of the nations are poor even after the colonization as a result of the great dependency on the colonial masters and the other institutions whose key policies are mainly dictated by the rich countries.

When the climatic impacts and disasters that result from the climatic crisis, like flooding and drought, the most affected parties are the disadvantaged groups. During floods, the disadvantaged people or those affected by poverty as a result of the various inequality dimensions are the most vulnerable. They might lose their houses, crops that they had cultivated on their lands, and even livestock. Agriculture, which is also often the main source of living for most of them, is affected by climatic changes, including long periods of drought (Nazrul and Winkel 15). Therefore, such factors expose the poor and disadvantaged groups. Fishing and policies related to fishing are being regulated by the arising need. It is worth noting that a huge percentage of the population relies on these means of production, especially in poor countries. This, in return, will increase the girth of social and political inequality. In these ways, the intersection of the climate crisis and other dimensions of inequality becomes evident.

However, the climate crisis is slowly bringing the global community together. This is through efforts that are tailored towards ensuring a harmonious achievement of the sustainability goals. The achievement of the different objectives heavily relies on a unified globe. The planet requires a unity of purpose to achieve the different set goals. Therefore, such attempts and efforts as those that are being put in place by the different players can go a long way in uniting the global community. First of all, the global community has already acknowledged the impact of the various climatic changes on the people. Therefore, efforts like those by developed nations to eliminate carbon emissions through the adoption of alternative sources of energy are among the uniting factors. There are efforts in place to ensure that in the future, electric vehicles are fully adopted as the means of transport. Therefore, with such efforts from the developed nations, there might be hope for a decline in carbon emissions.

Government initiatives like incentivizing vehicle manufacturers to produce electric vehicles are among the efforts that evidence the readiness of these nations to reduce carbon emissions. These are efforts that are bringing countries together in the fight for climate change. However, policies that have been put in place by the international community have a greater probability of increasing economic and global inequality. This is due to the uniformity of the policies, despite the difference that exists between the developed and developing nations. The poor, exposed group of people lack access to some basics, like insurance, that might help in easing the burden of the climate crisis. Therefore, this creates chances of widening the inequality gap.

Looking at the great ramifications that people are experiencing as a result of the climate crisis, there are chances of inequality widening. This is a result of the losses that people are prone to, including the loss of their most valuable assets and the inability to lead their normal productive lives due to climate changes. The crisis creates a chance for the global community to cooperate in creating solutions to the crisis. However, looking at the current policies in place, the crisis is likely to increase the disparity and global inequality as the least contributing people are the most suffering group. Unless uniform and equal measures are put in place to address this challenge, the gap is going to become even wider, and inequality issues will be even bigger.

Works Cited

Guivarch, Celine, et al. “Linking Climate and Inequality.” Sept. 2021, Accessed 29 Aug. 2022.

Islam, Nazrul and Winkel, John. Climate Change and Social Inequality. Department of Economic & Social Affairs. DESA Working Paper No. 152. 2017.

Webster, Edward, Imraan Valodia, and David Francis. “Towards a Southern approach to inequality: inequality studies in South Africa and the global South.” Inequality Studies from the Global South. Routledge, 2020. 3-21.


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