New Findings Suggest Climate Change Created by Rich, Only Affecting Poor

By Jalen Xing

As climate change continues to become a growing issue, people are beginning to adapt to the adverse effects it brings along. For example, the developers of Monad Terrace, a new high-end development in Miami South Beach, are marketing different ways to address the concerns surrounding climate change. Their claims include “the​ ​first luxury condos Miami has seen be built above updated​ ​flood and sea level elevations” and “designed to ​reflect ​the light and water of its surroundings while living in harmony with the time and place in which it rises.” Although this might seem like the correct precaution to take looking at the future of climate change, by just raising the building above the flood line, the development does not take into account all the neighboring buildings below. Furthermore, the building can potentially redirect seawater to different neighborhoods in the area. This strategy can be seen to only benefit those who can afford these luxuries and has used climate change as a marketing strategy for future buildings.

Unfortunately, the solution by Monad Terrace seems to not actually address the issue, but instead push the problems onto the poor. Furthermore, “the poorest 3.5 billion people in the world are responsible for ten percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, while the richest ten percent of the global population is responsible for half.” Not only will there be divides in architecture between rich and poor but also in everyday resources. For example, in Iraq, many people face problems related to electricity usage since a generator is a luxury item that only the rich can afford. Abu Ahmed states, “I can run the fridge and the lights, that’s all… I can’t sleep at night and I’m always sweating.” Even though this problem is more severe in Iraq, with an increase in temperatures, different parts of the world may face similar issues. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that by 2050, 1.9 billion people living in hot countries will be without access to an air conditioner. In Europe, the IEA estimates less than 5 percent of Europe’s current population has air conditioning.

In the future, as the demand for air conditioning increases, the poor who could not afford air conditioning will be left with the biggest struggle while the rich can live comfortably. Moreover, since most of the impoverished has labor jobs, heat strikes will greatly affect their productivity. “The International Labour Organization stated at best a “2.2 percent reduction of global working hours due to heat stress by 2030, the equivalent of 80 million full-time jobs.” If these concerns aren’t addressed, the poor will feel the great repercussions, while the rich can comfortably continue their daily lives.