The image above, captured by photographer Sean Gallagher, perfectly exudes Climate Inequality and the influence on Tuvalu's narrative. It shows young Tuvaluans playing in an abandoned home in Funafuti. Many people have left Tuvalu in search of better economic opportunities and less environmental threats Gallagher adds. We are seeing evident climate migration prompted by climate inequality, a nuanced issue however injurious.
The consequences of climate change are unevenly felt around the world but the reality is, the marginalised countries and their people tend to be more exposed to climate impacts than their wealthier counterparts and unfortunately, Tuvalu is the prime example. 12,000 Tuvaluans will be displaced due to climate change.
The biggest polluters will not be the most affected by the consequences of their pollution. Climate change was instigated by wealthy industrialised countries, not poorer ones who still utilise traditional practices, which are suffering some of its worst effects.
We also know that climate change has worsened global inequality. Across societies, the impacts of climate change affect genders and race differently. After extreme weather events, individuals are at increased risk of violence and exploitation. These inequalities can be seen in many other, often overlapping, dimensions too. As Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities are more likely to live in poverty, they face these impacts while having fewer resources to respond to climate-induced natural disasters and adapt to changes in the climate.
Climate Finance is a notion that is encouraged to be explored. Countries that are economic-powerhouses could easily take a portion of their financial wealth, supported by industrialisation, to resolve the polluted mess they've created. Low-income countries are set to suffer the worst of climate ramifications extreme droughts, floods and rising sea levels. We cannot afford to transition to a `net-zero’ carbon economy on our own if we are not given the financial support required to make this happen.
Mitigation efforts should be shared fairly to ensure they serve the broader objectives of development, poverty and inequality reduction, improvement of air quality, health, and so forth. Wealthier countries should pave the way by taking ambitious climate action. Our collective response to combat climate change must not only address the climate impacts, but also deliver systemic transformation that centers environmental justice in order to address the climate crisis as well as economic, gender, and racial injustice.