War of the worlds

Climate change deepens global inequality between wealthy and poor countries

Anuj Singh, Staff Writer

The world is currently filled with scenes that seem to be out of a dystopian film. In the United States, uncontrollable fires rage in the west and destroy the properties of millions, while in the east, storm upon storm demolishes buildings and takes the lives of thousands. 

Throughout Europe, heat waves have claimed the lives of hundreds while in Asia, burgeoning monsoons threaten to derail the progress developing countries have made over the past few decades.

Developed countries, such as the United States, Russia, and China, who contribute the most to global warming and climate change and overwhelmingly are to blame for the climate crisis, yet do not face most of the repercussions for their acts.

According to a report published by the Center for Global Development, 79% of historical carbon emissions are produced by just the top ten largest carbon emission producers within developed countries. Additionally, developed countries contain the majority of contributors to climate change, such as large factories and populations that produce massive amounts of emissions.

The consequences for these countries’ actions are showing up all around us, and they are mostly concentrated in low-income countries. 

In South Asia, Bangladesh and the Maldives have already been affected by the activity of wealthy nations. According to a study conducted by researchers at James Cook University, rising sea levels are caused by global warming, for which developed countries are overwhelmingly responsible. 

These higher sea levels have caused Bangladesh and the Maldives to begin sinking into the ocean. They are expected to lose significant amounts of their land in upcoming years, which will lead to the displacement of millions of people. 

A recent study conducted by researchers from Stanford University concluded that global income inequality has become exacerbated by the climate crisis. This is because wealthy nations have the resources to handle the effects of climate change while poorer nations simply do not have the money to finance such projects. It is obvious that this global inequality must be addressed and solved immediately. 

One step that we can take as a society to combat climate change is preparing for the massive numbers of refugees that will be fleeing from countries devastated by climate change — such as Bangladesh. This will ensure that the growing divide between developed and developing nations based on the ability to protect themselves from climate change-driven natural disasters will lessen.

Lastly, there are measures of prevention we can take ourselves, even as young adults in a developed country. First, we can donate to organizations such as Oxfam and the United Nations, which are dedicated to fighting against poverty created by climate change. We can also advocate for a change in our government’s approach to addressing climate change and the cycle of inequity driven by it in ways that can boost the capacity of developing nations to protect themselves. For example, they can offer aid to developing countries specifically for addressing climate-driven disasters.

We cannot allow richer and more industrialized nations to relinquish their responsibility for our climate crisis. We must act together as a global community to prevent this inequality from evolving into a cycle of oppression that prevents developing countries from growing.  Working together to prevent this looming poverty and inequality crisis will ensure that our world will continue to thrive for centuries to come.