Giving Compass' Take:
- María Paula Rubiano A. discusses a study demonstrating that we can uplift people from poverty while also reaching ambitious climate goals.
- How are climate justice, economic justice, and racial justice interconnected? How can legislation address these intersections?
- Learn about the inequitable impacts of climate change in America.
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For years, environmental researchers have been trying to understand if providing a decent living for everyone on Earth would be at odds with reaching our most ambitious climate goals. After all, eradicating poverty means consuming more energy: paving new roads, building hospitals and schools, and providing decent housing with clean water and heating. Some researchers have even argued that the world needs to decide “what level of poverty we’re OK with” if we want to stay on track with reaching climate goals.
New research, however, finds that eradicating poverty while still meeting global climate targets may not be such a lofty ideal after all.
The paper, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, calculates how much extra energy nations need to guarantee that everyone has access to “decent living” by 2040. Building the new infrastructure needed to eradicate poverty means spending a total of 290 exajoules in the coming years, the study found, or less than three-quarters of our current annual global energy use. (One exajoule = 174 million barrels of oil, or 277,777 gigawatt-hours of renewable power). Maintaining the services that keep people out of poverty would require an extra 69 exajoules each year after 2040.
To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, nations must spend no more than 600 exajoules each year by 2050, according to previous estimates. The scientists said that while economies like the United States, European Union, and China will still need to reduce their energy consumption and emissions, the new findings indicate there is plenty of room in a climate-conscious global energy budget to lift populations out of poverty.
Read the full article about poverty and climate goals by María Paula Rubiano A. at Grist.