What Does the IPCC Report Mean for Our Children?Child Rights Health
Every few years, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases a comprehensive assessment detailing the latest findings in climate science, from scientists’ worst predictions to our best hopes for adaptation. As UN Secretary General António Guterres says, the report serves as “a survival guide for humanity.”
The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), released in March, simultaneously offered a bleak message and profound hope. Many impacts will be unavoidable, but deep, collective action offers a chance at a liveable future. The science has spoken: This is our last chance to save our children.
For children around the world, the situation is already dire. Children are not just small adults – their behaviors and physiology mean that they’re more susceptible to nearly every adverse effect of the climate crisis. Currently, one billion children live in countries at extremely high risk for climate change impacts. According to the report, unless we make drastic changes to our economies and energy sources and limit our warming to 2ºC, they could see:
- A four-fold increase in the number of extreme events experienced by children born after 2010
- Sea-level rise that will eradicate their homes and could force more than 200 million people to relocate
- An additional 1.4 million children experiencing stunted growth by 2050 due to poor nutrition and decreased food availability
- Disruptions to school accessibility and education
- Increased exposure to water, food, and vector-borne diseases like malaria and cholera
Children living in a world with 2ºC of warming are less likely to survive, let alone thrive. However, the AR6’s call for action overshadows the bleak data it provides. Our window for action is closing, but for now, remains open. With quick and sustained action, we have the ability to stave off the worst of the climate crisis. First Focus on Children calls on Congress and the Biden Administration to:
- Protect low-income and marginalized communities and countries who will feel the impacts of the climate crisis first and worst
- Invest in programs that mitigate the climate crisis and slash carbon pollution
- Center children in their efforts to stave off climate change
Children around the globe, not just in the U.S., feel the impact of our pollution. They bear the weight of our decisions now and in the decades to come. With wide-reaching, all-encompassing global action, we can maintain a planet that is habitable, healthy, and happy for children.
For more about First Focus on Children’s environmental health priorities, refer to our Children’s Agenda.