Today’s one-year-olds will live through up to 24 times as many climate-induced extreme weather events

Astonishing new research into the frequency of climate-induced disasters reveals children worldwide will experience up to 24 times more extreme weather events in their lifetimes, compared to older generations, unless drastic action to curb emissions is taken.

Launched ahead of global climate talks in Glasgow, Save the Children’s Born into The Climate Crisis report, reveals the devastating impact the climate crisis will have on children and their rights if nations do not work together to limit warming to 1.5C as a matter of the greatest urgency.

In Australia, children born in 2020 can expect to experience four times as many heatwaves, three times as many droughts, as well as 1.5 times as many bushfires and river floods, under current trajectory of global emissions.

A baby born last year in Papua New Guinea will face 10 times as many heatwaves and double the risk of fires as their elders, while children in Vanuatu – already recovering from a barrage of devastating cyclones – will face new challenges including nearly three times as many droughts.

This major report is based on new modelling led by researchers at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel which reveals that under Paris Agreement pledges, a child born in 2020 will experience on average: twice as many bushfires; almost three times as many crop failures; two and half times as many droughts; three times as many river floods; and seven times more heatwaves in their lifetime compared to Baby Boomers born in the 60s.

On the flipside, the data shows enormous positive impacts for children if governments drastically accelerate their efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. The lifetime exposure of newborns to heatwaves could be reduced by 45%, droughts by 39%, river floods by 38%, crop failures by 28%, and wildfires by 10%.

Projected frequency of disasters for babies born in 2020 (based on Paris Agreement pledges commitments) *:

  • 18 times as many heatwaves in Afghanistan, 12 times as many in Cambodia, 10 times as many in Iraq and Iran and PNG, and 5 times as many in the UK
  • 24 times as many floods in Eritrea and 10 times as many floods in Myanmar, Nigeria and Cambodia.
  • 15 times as many droughts in Sierra Leone and 13 times as many in Bhutan
  • Twice as many fires in Turkey, Slovenia, Slovakia, Portugal and Papua New Guinea.
  • 6 times as many crop failures in Nepal and Benin, five times as many in Burkina Faso
  • Cyclones (not included in this analysis) may not necessarily increase in number but will increase in intensity, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

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