The New Humanitarian | A COP26 reading list: Ten humanitarian takes on the climate crisis


As the world eagerly watches the UN’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow to find out how much headway leaders can make on emissions cuts, the human consequences of past inaction are already plain to see in many countries around the globe.

From back-to-back droughts driving extreme hunger and famine conditions in Madagascar to successive storms battering Mozambique and Central America, the climate crisis poses a new reckoning for an aid sector already stretched by a growing gap between funding and needs.

In many settings, you might not be able to pin the humanitarian crisis just on climate change, but it is clearly one of the main compounding and exacerbating factors: driving conflict, increasing fragility, and worsening hunger.

In a recent report, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said climate change and increasingly extreme weather events had led to a five-fold increase in natural disasters over the past 50 years. And the least responsible for the climate crisis were often among the hardest hit. 

While much of the focus in Glasgow is on emissions cuts, and on trying to inch closer towards the target of limiting global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, many on the front lines say not enough attention is being paid to helping poorer nations to adapt now. 

According to the UN Environment Programme, adaptation and handling damage could cost developing countries between $140 billion and $300 billion per year by 2030, dwarfing an initial $100 billion climate finance target that richer nations have already put off until 2023.

Here’s a round-up of our recent reporting: from the good and the bad of adaptation efforts in Mozambique to the women leading Fiji’s disaster response, from an interactive look at a string of disasters in Bangladesh to fledgling legal efforts in Vanuatu to hold the big emitters to account:


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