Inequality in emissions between countries is staggering: the countries defined as high and middle-income were home to 51% of the world population in 2016 but were responsible for 86% of global CO2 emissions that year . Per person, North America has the highest CO2 emissions, followed by Oceania, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and then lastly Africa . The average North American is responsible for about 17x more emissions each year than the average African . However, inequality in emissions within countries is estimated to be as big as it is between countries [1,7].
The poorest countries and their vulnerable inhabitants will be the most severely affected by climate change . This is in large part due to poorer people being more vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change, such as droughts and floods, as a result of living in areas with greater exposure to extreme weather. It’s predicted that the percentage of people exposed to droughts will rise from 9% to 17% by 2030, if emissions continue to increase at the current rate, thus hitting the poorest hardest . Between 2030 and 2050, it’s predicted that climate change will cause about 250,000 deaths from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress , and particular groups, including children in poor countries, will be disproportionately vulnerable to such effects .
It is a great injustice that the people who have contributed the least to climate change feel its negative effects most severely . This has sparked calls for ‘climate justice’: protect the human rights of all people, and ensure that the burdens and benefits of climate change are spread fairly between people and nations [2,5]. This means that developed countries need to both accelerate their own emissions reductions as well as supporting efforts in developing countries .
 https://www.mrfcj.org/pdf/Geography_of_Climate_Justice_Introductory_Resource.pdf See: What is climate justice?
 https://ar5-syr.ipcc.ch/ipcc/ipcc/resources/pdf/IPCC_SynthesisReport.pdf See: 2.3, page 73, ‘Form a poverty perspective…’
 https://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2017/wp152_2017.pdf See: Abstract and 4.2 Greater exposure to drought, heatwaves, water scarcity
 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0189-7 See: Main and Climate just pathways to 1.5°C
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