Today’s children will experience roughly triple the number of climate disasters as their grandparents, a new study in Science finds. Six-year-old children will, on average, see twice as many wildfires, 2.5 times more crop failures, and 3.4 times more river floods as someone born in 1960, while a sub-Saharan child will endure 50 to 54 times as many heatwaves as someone born before the Industrial Revolution. The “intergenerational inequality” of climate change, as the study’s lead author Wim Thiery describes it, is not abstract. The majority of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere were emitted in the last 31 years — generally speaking, during their parents’ lifetimes.
Adults “don’t listen, and they keep doing it and keep making the Earth hotter,” Adriana Bottino-Poage, 6, of Woodbridger, VA, told the Washington Post. “Everything will keep getting worse and worse until I grow up. Somebody has to do something.” (Washington Post $, The Guardian, Japan Times; Climate Signals background: Wildfires, Drought, Extreme precipitation increase; Extreme heat and heatwaves)