Climate: The Road to Paris (1)

The climate change circus is aiming to achieve a binding global treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—think of it as Son of Kyoto (my what a success that was)—in Paris at the end of the year. I’ll be all over this story between now and then, but a preliminary meeting has opened in Bonn, Germany, this week to try to make progress on a framework that is still very sketchy at this point.

You know the old joke about the hypothetical New York Times headline about the end of the world: “World to End Tomorrow; Women and Minorities Hardest Hit.” Well, in a case of life imitating art, I found this page today on the UN’s climate change website:

Gender and Climate Change: What is the connection?

Impacts of climate change, such as drought, floods, extreme weather events and reduced food and water security, affect women and men differently with the poorest being the most vulnerable. 70 per cent of the world’s poor are women. Even though women are therefore disproportionately affected, at the same time they play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation actions. It is increasingly evident that involving women and men in all decision-making processes on climate action is a significant factor in meeting the climate challenge and achieving the long-term objectives of the Convention.

Why is this important?

Women are predominantly responsible for food production, household water supply and energy for heating and cooking. As climate change impacts increase, these tasks are becoming more difficult. However, women have knowledge and coping strategies that give them a practical understanding of innovation and skills to adapt to changing environmental realities as well as to contribute to the solution. These strategies to deal with climate variability are still a largely untapped resource. Additionally, women are often faced with difficulties when it comes to the general accessibility of financial resources, capacity-building activities and technologies. This often stands in the way of women’s empowerment in general and their role in relation to climate change adaptation and mitigation in particular. Women also tend to be underrepresented in the decision-making on climate change at all levels. This severely limits their ability to contribute and implement solutions and apply their expertise.

Good to know the UN is on top of this.