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How does climate change make people poorer?

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BARCELONA — A new report from the World Bank finds that the poorest people are more exposed to climate-related shocks such as floods, droughts and heat waves than those with average incomes.

Poor people also lose much more of their wealth when they are hit, the report said.

Here are some facts and figures on why and how that happens:

• More than 100 million extra people could be pushed into poverty by 2030 due to climate change impacts, with sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia the hardest hit.

• The biggest impact of climate change on poverty comes through agriculture. Climate change threatens global crop-yield losses as large as 5% in 2030 and 30% in 2080, models show.

• The next strongest drivers of climate-linked poverty are health effects such as higher incidences of malaria, diarrhea and stunting, and lower labor productivity due to extreme heat.

• The number of people exposed to droughts could increase 9%-17% by 2030 and 50%-90% by 2080.

• Global warming of 2° to 3° Celsius could increase the number of people at risk of malaria by up to 5%, or more than 150 million people.

• Climate impacts could hike the burden of diarrhea by up to 10% by 2030 in some regions.

• Poor people lose more to disasters, as they are often more vulnerable. When Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras in 1998, poor people lost three times more than others, and when heavy rains flooded Mumbai in 2005, poor households lost twice as much.

• Poor people get less social support. Only a third of sub-Saharan Africans have access to financial services, while less than 10% of the poor in low-income countries are covered by social safety nets.

• People in poor nations have little access to health insurance and pay more than half their health costs out of pocket.

• Climate change could add 12% to 2030 food prices in Africa, where food consumption of the poorest households amounts to over 60% of their total spending. — Thomson Reuters Foundation

Source: World Bank report, “Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty,” www.worldbank.org/climate

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