Children born today will face disproportionate increases in floods, heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, and crop failures due to climate change.
A new analysis published today in Science shows that under current climate policy, newborns across the globe will on average face seven times more scorching heatwaves during their lives than their grandparents.
In addition, they will on average live through 2.6 times more droughts, 2.8 times as many river floods, almost three times as many crop failures, and twice the number of wildfires as people born 60 years ago.
However, hitting the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures, instead of following current policy pledges that place the world on a course for more than 3°C of warming substantially reduces the intergenerational burden for extreme heatwaves, wildfires, crop failures, droughts, tropical cyclones, and river floods.
The study was led by Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and an international team of researchers from institutions including Imperial College London and the University of Nottingham. Co-author Dr Joeri Rogelj, from the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial, said: “With this study we lay bare the fundamental injustice of climate change across generations, as well as the responsibilities of today's adults and elders in power.