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Climate Change Poised to Push 100 Million Into 'Extreme Poverty' by 2030
Adding urgency to the call for bold emissions cuts and a radical rethinking of the global economy, a new report from the World Bank warns that human-caused climate change could push more than 100 million people into extreme poverty within just 15 years.
Entitled "Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty," the World Bank's study differs from previous efforts by looking at the poverty impacts of climate change at the household level, rather than at the level of national economies.
Already, global warming is sparking higher agricultural prices; increasing "natural hazards" such as heat waves, droughts and floods; and exacerbating public health issues. Photo credit: World Bank / Flickr
Already, global warming is sparking higher agricultural prices; increasing "natural hazards" such as heat waves, droughts and floods; and exacerbating public health issues, the report states. Without "immediate" adoption of mitigation, adaptation and emission-reduction policies, the World Bank cautions that rising greenhouse gases—and temperatures—will continue to ravage vulnerable populations, dragging them further into poverty.
The bank's most recent estimate puts the number of people currently living in extreme poverty at 702 million or 9.6 percent of the world’s population.
"Poor people and poor countries are exposed and vulnerable to all types of climate-related shocks—natural disasters that destroy assets and livelihoods; waterborne diseases and pests that become more prevalent during heat waves, floods or droughts; crop failure from reduced rainfall; and spikes in food prices that follow extreme weather events," it reads. "Climate-related shocks also affect those who are not poor but remain vulnerable and can drag them into poverty—for example, when a flood destroys a micro-enterprise, a drought decimates a herd or contaminated water makes a child sick."
For example, the report states that by 2030, crop yield losses could mean that food prices would be 12 percent higher on average in Sub-Saharan Africa. "The strain on poor households, who spend as much as 60 percent of their income on food, could be acute," the World Bank declares. Meanwhile, in India alone, an additional 45 million people could be pushed over the poverty line by 2030, primarily due to agricultural shocks and increased incidence of disease.
To combat these devastating impacts, Shock Waves recommends implementing a combination of:
- rapid, inclusive and climate-informed development and targeted adaptation interventions to cope with the short-term impacts of climate change; and
- pro-poor mitigation policies to limit long-term impacts and create an environment that allows for global prosperity and the sustainable eradication of poverty.
"The report demonstrates that ending poverty and fighting climate change cannot be done in isolation—the two will be much more easily achieved if they are addressed together," said Stephane Hallegatte, a senior economist at the World Bank who led the team that prepared the report.
Among the report's specific recommendations are to improve health care systems and access; help households at all income levels gain access to financial instruments for risk management; and provide social protections to help support poor people affected by disasters or environmental and economic shocks.
Noting that "there is still too often a disconnect between bank research and its own practices," the head of Oxfam International's Washington office, Nicolas Mombrial, on Monday urged the global financial institution "to heed its own warnings and support equitable, low carbon development" and "promote community resilience to climate change through its policies and programs."
Furthermore, he said, the report adds further credence to the call for an ambitious agreement to come out of the upcoming COP21 climate talks in Paris. "Any climate deal must commit countries to making their greenhouse gas cuts more aggressive and help vulnerable countries to adapt to climate impacts," Mombrial said. "It must also promote clean growth by dramatically increasing public finance, building on the yearly $100 billion already promised by 2020."
"This report further highlights what Oxfam has been warning for many years: climate change is exacerbating inequality and hurting poor people first and worst," Mombrial concluded. "To effectively solve the climate crisis we must simultaneously tackle the root causes of poverty and hunger globally."
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Cabin fever is often associated with being cooped up on a rainy weekend or stuck inside during a winter blizzard.
In reality, though, it can actually occur anytime you feel isolated or disconnected from the outside world.
What is cabin fever?<p>In popular expressions, cabin fever is used to explain feeling bored or listless because you've been stuck inside for a few hours or days. But that's not the reality of the symptoms.</p><p>Instead, cabin fever is a series of negative emotions and distressing sensations people may face if they're isolated or feeling cut off from the world.</p><p>These feelings of isolation and loneliness are more likely in times of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/yes-covid-19-cases-are-rising-why-you-still-need-to-practice-social-distancing" target="_blank">social distancing</a>, self-quarantining during a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-pandemic" target="_blank">pandemic</a>, or sheltering in place because of severe weather.</p><p>Indeed, cabin fever can lead to a series of symptoms that can be difficult to manage without proper coping techniques.</p><p>Cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological disorder, but that doesn't mean the feelings aren't real. The distress is very real. It can make fulfilling the requirements of everyday life difficult.</p>
What are the symptoms?<p>Symptoms of cabin fever go far beyond feeling bored or "stuck" at home. They're rooted in an intense feeling of isolation and may include:</p><ul><li>restlessness</li><li>decreased motivation</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irritability" target="_blank">irritability</a></li><li>hopelessness</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate" target="_blank">difficulty concentrating</a></li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irregular-sleep-wake-syndrome" target="_blank">irregular sleep patterns</a>, including sleepiness or sleeplessness</li><li>difficulty waking up</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/lethargy" target="_blank">lethargy</a></li><li>distrust of people around you</li><li>lack of patience</li><li>persistent <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/depression-vs-sadness" target="_blank">sadness or depression<br></a></li></ul>
What can help you cope with cabin fever?<p>Because cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological condition, there's no standard "treatment." However, mental health professionals do recognize that the symptoms are very real.</p><p>The coping mechanism that works best for you will have a lot to do with your personal situation and the reason you're secluded in the first place.</p><p>Finding meaningful ways to engage your brain and occupy your time can help alleviate the distress and irritability that cabin fever brings.</p><p>The following ideas are a good place to start.</p>
When to get help<p>Cabin fever is often a fleeting feeling. You may feel irritable or frustrated for a few hours, but having a virtual chat with a friend or finding a task to distract your mind may help erase the frustrations you felt earlier.</p><p>Sometimes, however, the feelings may grow stronger, and no coping mechanisms may be able to successfully help you eliminate your feelings of isolation, sadness, or depression.</p><p>What's more, if your time indoors is prolonged by outside forces, like weather or extended shelter-in-place orders from your local government, feelings of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety" target="_blank">anxiety</a> and fear are valid.</p><p>In fact, anxiety may be at the root of some cabin fever symptoms. This may make symptoms worse.</p><p>If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you understand what you're experiencing. Together, you can identify ways to overcome the feelings and anxiety.</p><p>Of course, if you're in isolation or practicing social distancing, you'll need to look for alternative means for seeing a mental health expert.</p><p>Telehealth options may be available to connect you with your therapist if you already have one. If you don't, reach out to your doctor for recommendations about mental health specialists who can connect with you online.</p><p>If you don't want to talk to a therapist, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/top-iphone-android-apps" target="_blank">smartphone apps for depression</a> may provide a complementary option for addressing your cabin fever symptoms.</p>
The bottom line<p>Isolation isn't a natural state for many people. We are, for the most part, social animals. We enjoy each other's company. That's what can make staying at home for extended periods of time difficult.</p><p>However, whether you're sheltering at home to avoid dangerous weather conditions or heeding the guidelines to help minimize the spread of a disease, staying at home is often an important thing we must do for ourselves and our communities.</p><p>If and when it's necessary, finding ways to engage your brain and occupy your time may help bat back cabin fever and the feelings of isolation and restlessness that often accompany it.</p>
Pope Francis spoke about the novel coronavirus, suggesting that the global pandemic might be one of nature's responses to the man-made climate crisis.