The State of
Facing a changing world: women, population and climate
United Nations Population Fund - November 2009
Available online as PDF [104p.] at: http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2009/en/pdf/EN_SOWP09.pdf
“…..Climate—the average of weather over time—is always changing, but never in known human experience more dramatically than it is likely to change in the coming century. For millennia, since civilizations arose from ancient farming societies, the earth's climate as a whole was relatively stable, with temperatures and patterns of rainfall that have supported human life and its expansion around the globe.
A growing body of evidence shows that recent climate change is primarily the result of human activity. The influence of human activity on climate change is complex. It is about what we consume, the types of energy we produce and use, whether we live in a city or on a farm, whether we live in a rich or poor country, whether we are young or old, what we eat, and even the extent to which women and men enjoy equal rights and opportunities. It is also about our growing numbers—approaching 7 billion.
As the growth of population, economies and consumption outpaces the earth's capacity to adjust, climate change could become much more extreme—and conceivably catastrophic. Population dynamics tell one part of a larger, more intricate story about the way some countries and people have pursued development and defined progress and about how others have had little say in the decisions that affect their lives.
Climate change's influence on people is also complex, spurring migration, destroying livelihoods, disrupting economies, undermining development and exacerbating inequities between the sexes…..”
As greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere, droughts, severe storms and rising seas threaten to take an especially heavy toll on women, who make up a large share of the world’s poor.
1 Elements of climate change
The warming of the earth’s atmosphere is triggering extreme weather, melting polar ice caps and acidifying the oceans at a much faster pace than scientists had previously expected. What will happen when the Arctic ice is gone and coral reefs are dead?
2 At the brink
Climate is already changing. Is it too late to do anything about it? Is humanity on an irreversible trajectory toward disaster
3 On the move
Environmental degradation and climate-related disasters will drive people from their homes. But how many people will relocate? Where will they go? Are men or women more likely to migrate?
4 Building resilience
Millions of people will have to adapt to the impacts of climate change. But will women bear a disproportionate share of the burden?
5 Mobilizing for change
Governments and individuals alike must take action now to slow greenhouse gas emissions and prevent catastrophe. Who is taking the lead? What influence does gender have on the outcome?
6 Five steps back from the brink
What can be done to rein in the runaway greenhouse effect and stabilize the planet’s climate?
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