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Pay More Attention to Climate Perils People with Disabilities Face, Experts Warn

Elderly men and boy on dry ground

Increased disease exposure and extreme weather events pose heightened risks for already vulnerable communities, points out the E&E News.

People with physical disabilities are among the most vulnerable to climate change, yet scant attention has been paid to their unique challenges, according to a letter published in the journal Science.

“The international research community has made good progress at including vulnerable groups such as poor communities, women, indigenous people, and youth in recent international conversations about global environmental change, but disabled populations have been mostly absent from the conversation,” researchers wrote.

Among other things, people with disabilities may have “limited access to knowledge, resources and services to effectively respond to environmental change,” wrote Aleksandra Kosanic and co-authors. “Compromised health may make people more vulnerable to extreme climate events, ecosystem services loss, or infectious disease exposure, and those with disabilities are more likely to have difficulties during required evacuations or migrations,” the authors state.

The letter in the art week  edition of Science reflects a growing concern among scholars and climate experts about how elderly and disabled people fare during climate disasters like hurricanes and flooding, extreme heat and cold, drought, and wildfire.

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