Women and climate change (good point, coupla bad facts)

This blog has been getting an unusual number of visits from Europe lately (especially from this page in Finnish), and thanks to a tip from a reader I discovered why: a European Parliament resolution on women and climate change. It looks like the resolution was adopted in April. The passage that has drawn Googlers was probably this:

1. Recognising that climate change exacerbates gender discrimination in addition to its other catastrophic effects, emphasises that averting dangerous climate change must be the highest priority of the EU both in domestic and external policy; … 24.  Underlines that 70 % of the world’s poorest are women, who carry out two-thirds of all work done but own less than 1% of all goods; notes that they are denied equal access to and control over resources, technology, services, land rights, credit and insurance systems and decision-making powers and are thus disproportionately vulnerable to, and affected by, climate change and have fewer opportunities to adapt; underlines that 85 % of people who die as a result of climate-induced natural disasters are women, that 75 % of environmental refugees are women, and that women are also more likely to be the unseen victims of resource wars and violence resulting from climate change…

There is no source given for the “1% of all goods” claim, which elsewhere in the document is “1% of all property.” But neither are true (as I explain in the links below).

The resolution has caused what in Europe they call a “row,” leading one MP to say:

Global warming is not some male plot to do women down. The climate is the same for males and females, so far as I know. When it rains we all get wet.

Being American, I don’t know anything about the European Parliament or what effect the resolution will have, such as its suggestion that at least 40% of the E.U.’s climate change negotiators be women. But except for those statistics that I know are erroneous, and any other factual errors, we should recognize the differential impacts of climate change and its attendant unnatural disasters.

Of course, it’s not true that everyone gets wet when it rains — that depends on the distribution of roofs, umbrellas, clothing, available transportation, and the division of labor required to keep people (especially children) dry.

On the parliament website they have a section for “explanations of votes,” and I liked this guy’s comment enough to Like his Facebook page*:

Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE)in writing. − In favour!!!!! Climate change and its impacts are by no means gender neutral. Due to gendered roles, women’s impact on the environment is not the same as men’s, and their access to resources and ways to cope and adapt is severely affected by discrimination in terms of income, access to resources, political power, education and household responsibility. We therefore need to take women into account at every stage of our climate policies, and in the following aspects: adaptation policies, mitigation policies, financing of these policies and political representation of women. The proportion of women in climate change negotiations is still unsatisfactory, women account for only 12-15% of heads of delegation and around 30% of the delegates. Links between gender and climate, although they appear clearly in developing countries, also exist within the EU, e.g. in energy, transport and agricultural sectors. The future green economy relies on overwhelmingly male-dominated industries, which affects equal opportunities in occupation, education and training and encourages “male-only” business cultures incompatible with the implementation of gender equality.

For background on the 1% meme problem, here are the previous posts in the series:

* This is not an endorsement, but an unresearched impulse-like. If there’s something awful about this guy I didn’t notice, please let me know.

2 Comments

Filed under In the news, Politics

2 responses to “Women and climate change (good point, coupla bad facts)

  1. Ron

    Climate change and its impacts are by no means gender neutral. Due to gendered roles, women’s impact on the environment is not the same as men’s, and their access to resources and ways to cope and adapt is severely affected by discrimination in terms of income, access to resources, political power, education and household responsibility.

    Why shouldn’t this be as bogus as their 1% assertions?

    Like

  2. Anne Hicks

    Feminisation of climate change discourse is very important theoretical approach

    So-called environmentally induced migration is multi-level problem. According to Essam El-Hinnawi definition form 1985 environmental refugees as those people who have been forced to leave their traditional habitat, temporarily or permanently, because of a marked environmental disruption (natural or triggered by people) that jeopardised their existence and/or seriously affected the quality of their life. The fundamental distinction between `environmental migrants` and `environmental refugees` is a standpoint of contemporsry studies in EDPs.

    According to Bogumil Terminski it seems reasonable to distinguish the general category of environmental migrants from the more specific (subordinate to it) category of environmental refugees.

    Environmental migrants, therefore, are persons making a short-lived, cyclical, or longerterm change of residence, of a voluntary or forced character, due to specific environmental factors. Environmental refugees form a specific type of environmental migrant.

    Environmental refugees, therefore, are persons compelled to spontaneous, short-lived, cyclical, or longer-term changes of residence due to sudden or gradually worsening changes in environmental factors important to their living, which may be of either a short-term or an irreversible character.

    According to Norman Myers environmental refugees are “people who can no longer gain a secure livelihood in their homelands because of drought, soil erosion, desertification, deforestation and other environmental problems, together with associated problems of population pressures and profound poverty”.

    Like

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