Climate change threatens the human rights of millions of people who are at risk of losing access to housing, food and clean water unless governments intervene early to counter its effects, according to experts.
At a conference on climate change and migration, United Nations officials said rising sea levels and intense storms, droughts and floods could force scores of people from their homes and off their lands — some permanently.
“Global warming and extreme weather conditions may have calamitous consequences for the human rights of millions of people,” said Kyung-wha Kang, the U.N. deputy high commissioner for human rights.
“Ultimately climate change may affect the very right to life of various individuals,” she said, pointing to threats of hunger, malnutrition, exposure to disease and lost livelihoods, particularly in poor rural areas dependent on fertile soil.
Kang said countries had an obligation “to prevent and address some of the direst consequences that climate change may reap on human rights.”