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Index to assess climate crisis impact on children

2021-08-25

British researchers in partnership with the United Nations Children's Fund, which is known as UNICEF, have created a climate change risk tool to, for the first time, assess the impact of climate change on children.

The new Climate Change Vulnerability Index captures the degree to which children are uniquely vulnerable to climate-related hazards. It gathers data on geophysical factors including temperature, location, flooding, drought, and the duration of periods of extreme weather, and combines it with information on a young person's socio-economic status.

The project has been led by the Data for Children Collaborative with UNICEF and is supported by the universities of Southampton, Edinburgh, Stirling, Highlands and Islands and the Data Science Hub created by the Office for National Statistics and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. The result will be presented at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, in Glasgow this November.

Lena Dominelli, a professor of social work at the University of Stirling who is part of the research project, believes it is the first time children's experiences have been considered.

She said: "This is a really exciting research project. Children's voices are very rarely heard, and we found that, previously, only a handful of research projects have looked specifically at young people's experiences of climate change.

"The index recognizes this gap-that children have different experiences of climate change compared to adults-and that factors like race, religion, gender, disability, age, culture, and economic standing also have an impact on how climate change will impact them.

"The climate crisis is also a child's rights crisis, and we must understand where and how children are impacted, so we can work to protect their futures."

The project is spilt into two phases, assessing child climate risk in both 2020 and 2050. The first phase is developing the Child Climate Risk Index to provide a snapshot of the current risks of climate change to children.

The second phase involves using a variety of data variables, such as temperature, flood, disease prevalence, and drought in combination with a child-relevant vulnerability index that considers child health, food security, and education to project 'child climate risk' scenarios forward to 2050.

These projections are believed to be a powerful advocacy tool, helping organizations across the globe better understand the scale and scope of children's vulnerabilities to climate change, and by extension, how to tackle them.

Alex Hutchison, director of the Data for Children Collaborative with UNICEF, said: "Knowing that this tool will help UNICEF to highlight the plight of children across the globe."


From : China Daily

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