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Number of Climate Disasters to Triple for New Generation

The fact that climate change effects will mainly be shouldered by the young generation is well established. Now a study published this week in academic journal Science is finally putting some numbers to the sad truth that has been causing disillusion and rage in millions of young people around the world.

According to the paper by Wim Thiery of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels et al., people born in 1960 will experience on average four heatwaves during their lifetimes. For those born in 2020 and in case that nations carry out decarbonization as laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement, that number is expected to reach an average of 30 – or 7.5 times as many as for their grandparents’ generation.

In limiting global warming to 1.5 °C instead of the Paris Agreement’s projected 2.7 °C, the number of heatwaves experienced on average by the new generation would reach 18, the report said.

The effects of climate change are not spread equally around the globe. The researcher estimate the increase in climate disasters faced by the young generation in the global South, like Sub-Saharan Africa, to be disproportionately larger.

As for other disaster types, the paper concludes that those born last year will see 3.6 times as many droughts, three times as many crop failures, 2.8 times as many river floods and twice the number of wildfires. Under a conservative estimate, the average amount of climate-related disaster experienced in a lifetime will on average triple for those born in 2020 compared to those born in 1960.

Above article published courtesy of Statista https://www.statista.com/chart/25877/climate-disaster-increase-new-generation/

The article below was sourced from https://www.carbonbrief.org/todays-youth-will-face-unmatched-climate-extremes-compared-to-older-generations

Today’s youth will face ‘unmatched’ climate extremes compared to older generations

People born in 2020 will have to face between two and seven times more extreme climate-related events over their lifetimes than people born in 1960, according to estimates from a new study.

The paper, published in Science, analyses six extreme event categories – including crop failures, droughts and heatwaves. It finds that even if warming is limited to 1.5C, younger generations will face “unavoidable impacts that are unmatched by those experienced by older generations” over the course of their lives.

The study estimates that people born in 1960 will experience four heatwaves over their lifetimes on average. However, children born in 2020 will have to face 30 if the current emission pledges made under the Paris Agreement are met, and 18 if warming is limited to 1.5C.

The authors find a “particularly strong increase” in childrens’ future exposure to extremes in the Middle East and North Africa. They also emphasise that younger generations from low-income countries – where populations are generally rising – will face greater exposure to extremes than children in high-income countries.

Today’s youth will live “an unprecedented life”, in which they will “face conditions which older generations have never experienced”, the lead author of the study tells Carbon Brief.

A scientist not involved in the study adds that the study “scientifically underpins the motivation for the protests of hundreds of thousands of students – that is, that they pay the price and suffer from the consequences of the lifestyle and emissions of their parents and grandparents”.

Intergenerational climate justice

It is well established that a warming climate is seeing – and will see – an increasing frequency and intensity of climate-related extremes. Yet today’s youth – who will face the brunt of the impacts – are not responsible for historical emissions.