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Here's why poorest nations bear brunt of climate change
Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 10:25 AM - The world's poorest countries are most likely to feel the lash of earth's rising temperatures despite having the lowest CO2 emissions, a recent study finds.
Research conducted by an international team under the University of East Anglia (UEA) found that the poorest fifth of the world's population will likely feel daily heat extremes related to climate change much sooner than wealthier states.
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Among the worst affected are countries in the Horn of Africa and West Africa.
The correlation between low-polluting, poor countries and rising heat has to do with latitudes.
"Most of the poorest people in the world live in tropical latitudes, while most of the world's wealthiest people live in mid-latitude climates," says Dr. Manoj Joshi from the UEA's School of Environmental Sciences.
Low-latitude areas experience far less fluctuation in daily temperatures compared to mid-latitude. This means the "signal" of climate change surfaces quickly, which means the frequency of really hot days rapidly increases as well.
The study's lead author Luke Harrington says that his study is the first to use climate models to simulate the end-to-end link between total CO2 emissions and those experiencing hot days more frequently.
Harrington, a PhD student at the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute, and his team used state-of-the-art climate models to determine cumulative CO2 emissions and resultant changes to extreme local temperatures on daily basis, throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
Dr. Erich Fisher of ETH Zurich outlined the most obvious worry from these findings: "[We know] the wealthiest countries will be able to cope with the impacts more easily than poorer nations."
The study was can be found in in Environmental Research Letters.
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