US Climate and Health Alliance

Unless We Act Now: The Impact of Climate Change on Children


Today, over half a billion children live in extremely high flood occurrence zones; nearly 160 million live in high or extremely high drought severity zones. While climate change will ultimately impact every child, these children are already in harm’s way and face some of the most immediate risks. There is a clear scientific consensus that climate change will increase the frequency of droughts, floods and severe weather events. These threats will pose grave risks for children over the coming decades. Severe weather events can destroy or disrupt infrastructure critical to children’s well-being, including schools, health facilities and transport. Droughts and flooding can destroy crops, disrupt water systems and contaminate water reserves. Although not as abrupt, slow-onset climate change impacts can also undermine development gains and livelihood options. Climate change will contribute to rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns which, in turn, are likely to exacerbate the spread of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue. Over time, dwindling water supplies and resource scarcity can increase migratory pressures on vulnerable families, disrupting livelihoods and increasing the risk of family displacement. Shifting agroecological zones and rainfall patterns can exacerbate rural poverty and food insecurity.

Resource Type
Resource URL
November, 2015
Organization Type
Other gov
Health and Human Impact
Climate and Environmental Impact
Vulnerable populations

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