The Heat Is Online

UN Secretary-General: Warming Hits Poor Countries Hardest

U.N.: Poor worse hit by global warming


United Press International, Feb, 6, 2007


Poor countries will suffer most from global warming even though they pollute less than developed countries, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns.


"It is the poor -- in Africa, small island developing states and elsewhere -- who will suffer most, even though they are the least responsible for global warming," Ban said Monday in a message to participants of the U.N. Environment Program ministerial forum in Nairobi, Kenya.


Due to global warming, rainfall has generally declined in tropical countries in both hemispheres, but storms are increasingly intense and frequent, causing floods and erosion. In regions around the Sahara desert in Africa, desertification has been exacerbated.


Although Africa is badly hit by climate change, the whole continent only accounts for approximately 3 percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions from energy and industrial sources, according to the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa.


The rise in sea level, another consequence of climate change, threatens coastal areas of the developing world and especially small islands of the Pacific and Indian oceans that only rise 3 to 6 feet above sea level.


Poor countries are currently undergoing National Adaptation Programs of Action led by U.N. environmental agencies. These plans monitor the creation of adequate infrastructures to face climate disasters, such as floods and droughts.


"Action on climate change will be one of my priorities as secretary-general," Ban said. "I am encouraged to know that, in the industrialized countries from which leadership is most needed, awareness is growing that the costs of inaction or delayed action will far exceed the short-term investments needed to address this challenge."