As climate change causes food shortages and other hardships, a new problem is likely to be created: "climate apartheid." Philip Alston, the UN's special rapporteur on extreme poverty, coined the term in a new report warning of the phenomenon. The wealthy, he said, will be able to buy their way out of the problems created by climate change, thus "escap[ing] overheating, hunger, and conflict," while the poor will be hit the hardest. "[Those] who have contributed the least to emissions ... will be the most harmed," Alston warned in his report, per the BBC. The poorer half of the global population is estimated to be responsible for just 10% of emissions, but developing nations are predicted to suffer 75% or more of the costs of climate change.
Alston also said the steps to combat climate change taken so far by the UN are "patently inadequate," and that climate change could push more than 120 million people into poverty by 2030 "and will have the most severe impact in poor countries, regions, and the places poor people live and work," Al Jazeera reports. "Even if current targets are met, tens of millions will be impoverished," Alston says in a press release. The Australian's report, submitted to the UN Human Rights Council Monday, was based on existing research. "The Human Rights Council can no longer afford to rely only on the time-honored techniques of organizing expert panels, calling for reports that lead nowhere, urging others to do more but doing little itself, and adopting wide-ranging but inconclusive and highly aspirational resolutions," he wrote. (Read more climate change stories.)