Glaciers are retreating, rainfall patterns are changing, climatic zones are shifting, and global temperatures and sea levels are rapidly rising everywhere. Yet the impacts of climate change disproportionately fall on the extreme poor, who are least protected from extreme weather events (droughts, floods, wildfires, hurricanes, and temperature anomalies) and the ensuing destruction of homes and property, increases in food insecurity from disrupted  agricultural ecosystems, new outbreaks of tropical disease, and large-scale forced displacement that is creating a new class of climate refugees. [1][2][3] According to the World Bank, “up to 132 million people may fall into poverty by 2030 due to the manifold effects of climate change.” [4]

Climate change is the defining issue of our times, and we must act immediately and at a global scale to mitigate its catastrophic consequences. The scientific benchmark for measuring global warming — average temperature relative to pre-industrial levels — has already increased by 1.1°C.  The 2015 Paris Agreement aims to ensure no higher than a 2°C rise by 2100, and endeavours to limit it to 1.5°C.  But the scale of global action required to limit warming to 1.5°C – a devastating, nonetheless best-case scenario – is historically unprecedented. [5]

For this reason, our recommended charities are all working on global policy and systems change.  They seek to combat climate change by designing and advocating for climate policy and environmental regulation, pushing to decarbonize the global energy system, and championing carbon removal technologies and practices in the US and elsewhere. Their bold and research-backed approaches will — we hope — ultimately protect millions of the world’s poorest people from the devastating impacts of climate change. 

To learn more about the link between climate change and extreme poverty, read our blog.


[1] IPCC, Summary for Policymakers in Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability

[2] Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, The impact of climate change on neglected tropical diseases: a systematic review

[3] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Displaced on the frontlines of the climate emergency

[4] World Bank, Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020: Reversals of Fortune

[5] United Nations Human Rights Council, Climate change and poverty: report of the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights