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November 10, 2015

World Bank: Climate Change Could Reverse Gains on Poverty

A new report from the World Bank warns that more than 100 million people could be driven into extreme poverty by the effects of global warming, the Thomson Reuters Foundation writes. The study, issued Tuesday, says ending poverty by 2030 — one of 17 new United Nations development goals adopted in September — will be impossible if the impact on the poor of climate change and of policies designed to combat it are not taken into account.

The bank estimates the number of people living in extreme poverty could rise from the current 702 million to 900 million if development efforts progress slowly. The 100 million from climate stresses comes on top of that figure. The disproportionate impact of weather disasters and rising seas demands an "integrated strategy" on poverty and warming, said John Roome, the bank's senior director for climate change.

The report urges adaptive measures like better social safety nets, health coverage, and disaster warning systems to offset the effects of climate change on the poor but also says aggressive measures to reduce global emissions must take into account potential repercussions such as higher energy and food prices that have a greater impact on poor families.