02:14 GMT06 December 2020
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    In a new report, Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, warned that the world faces a “climate apartheid” in which the wealthy will be equipped to adjust to warmer climates, while the poor will be unable to protect themselves from the threat of global warming.

    In his report, which will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council next week, Alston revealed that climate change could render around 140 million people in developing parts of the world homeless by 2050. 

    “Perversely, while people in poverty are responsible for just a fraction of global emissions, they will bear the brunt of climate change, and have the least capacity to protect themselves,” Alston said in a statement obtained by media sources.

    According to a 2016 report published in the journal Nature, certain “free rider” countries disproportionately contribute to global warming with “limited vulnerability” to the greenhouse gas effects, while “forced rider” countries are most vulnerable to climate change despite having contributed very little to warming as the “earth’s atmosphere intermixes globally.”

    The report found that the US, China and India generate around more than 60% of total emissions. However, the countries most affected by global warming are island nations located in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans as well as African countries. 

    “We risk a ‘climate apartheid’ scenario where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger and conflict, while the rest of the world is left to suffer,” he added.

    In addition, Alston censured the UN Office for the High Commissioner of Human Rights for treating the threat of climate change as a “marginal concern.”

    “As a full-blown crisis that threatens the human rights of vast numbers of people bears down, the usual piecemeal, issue-by-issue human rights methodology is woefully insufficient,” he said.


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