Reading Time: 2 minutes

A new report published by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has found that one billion children – almost half their global population – are at ‘extreme’ risk from the impacts of climate change.

The Children’s Climate Risk Index (CCRI) is the first comprehensive analysis of climate risk from the perspective of children and ranks countries based on exposure to climate ‘shocks’. This includes cyclones and heatwaves, just some of the natural disasters accelerated by climate change.

An ‘unimaginably dire’ picture

The report reveals that millions of children are at risk of coastal flooding, vector-borne diseases, heatwaves, and water scarcity. But most of all, a billion are at risk of high levels of air pollution exposure.

Moreover, an estimated 850 million children, which is one in three worldwide, live in areas where at least four of these ‘environmental shocks’ overlap.

It also revealed a disconnect between where greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) are generated and where children are enduring the ‘most significant’ impacts of climate change.

Climate crisis

Henriette Fore is UNICEF’s Executive Director. In a statement, Fore said: “For three years, children have raised their voices around the world to demand action.

UNICEF supports their calls for change with an unarguable message – the climate crisis is a child’s rights crisis.

“…Climate change is deeply inequitable. While no child is responsible for rising global temperatures, they will pay the highest costs. The children from countries least responsible will suffer most of all.”

Animal agriculture link

The impact on the climate crisis caused by the meat industry is vast. For example, the total emissions caused by global livestock represents 14 percent of all GHG emissions, according to the UN. The beef industry alone causes 65 percent of these emissions across the sector.

It’s also incredibly resource-intensive, and land used for animal agriculture often involves deforestation.

This is another big driver of climate change and has even been linked as the cause of the devastating Amazon fires in Brazil last year.

Scientists around the globe cite going vegan as the ‘single biggest way’ to reduce our environmental impact on earth.

Emily is a News and Features Writer for Plant Based News. She has previously worked as a journalist in Devon, UK, reporting on local issues from politics to the environment.