Caroline Ann Walker
Climate change is a major obstacle to the poverty alleviation program set out by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The world’s poor already suffer most from environmental degradation. In terms of health, this translates to a higher burden of preventable disease, caused primarily by a lack of access to sanitation and clean drinking water. This inequity will worsen if development does not occur before large-scale environmental change. While continued reliance on fossil fuels threatens to exacerbate climate change, increasing access to fossil fuels in the world’s poorest countries is required to lift millions out of poverty and dramatically improve health outcomes. To achieve the MDGs and build the infrastructure needed to improve resilience to future environmental challenges requires access to efficient forms of energy. The only equitable way to resolve this dilemma is for developed countries to dramatically curb their emissions and thereby offset the small per capita increases in the emissions of developing countries that are necessary to advance public
health and adaptive capacity.
Full text (PDF, 506KB)
Walker CA. Powering the Millennium Development Goals: Developed Countries Need to Step Off the Gas. UBCMJ. 2010 1(2):27-29.