Over the next few years billions of lives and trillions of pounds are at risk due to one issue - climate change.
Climate change is affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives. Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, and weather events are becoming more extreme. Although greenhouse gas emissions are projected to drop about 6 per cent in 2020 due to travel bans and economic slowdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, this improvement is only temporary. Climate change is not on pause. Once the global economy begins to recover from the pandemic, emissions are expected to return to higher levels.
Saving lives and livelihoods requires urgent action to address both the pandemic and the climate emergency. The Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The agreement also aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change, through appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity building framework.
Did you know that the richest 1% of the population own 44% of global wealth?
Inequality has been on the rise across the globe for several decades. Some countries have reduced the numbers of people living in extreme poverty. But economic gaps have continued to grow as the very richest amass unprecedented levels of wealth. Among industrial nations, the United States is by far the most top-heavy, with much greater shares of national wealth and income going to the richest 1 percent than any other country.
The world’s 10 richest billionaires, according to Forbes, own $801 billion in combined wealth, a sum greater than the total goods and services most nations produce on an annual basis, according to the International Monetary Fund. The globe is home to 2,153 billionaires, according to the 2019 Forbes ranking.
Those with extreme wealth have often accumulated their fortunes on the backs of people around the world who work for poor wages and under dangerous conditions. According to Oxfam, the wealth divide between the global billionaires and the bottom half of humanity is steadily growing. Between 2009 and 2018, the number of billionaires it took to equal the wealth of the world’s poorest 50 percent fell from 380 to 26.
Making matters worse, generating extreme wealth also comes at a price to our planet, and greater across-country inequality may indeed increase the exposure of the disadvantaged countries to climate hazards. It may also increase their susceptibility to damage caused by climate hazards. Thus, climate change further aggravates inequality globally.
The art world was supposed to champion diversity but grim findings from Arts Council England’s annual report on diversity reveals a sector, despite the rhetoric, is still steeped in inequality. Diversity remains at the heart of solving the climate crisis both in industry and the arts.