Why the future of children is a climate matter

Every child born today is impacted by climate change, many from infancy through to adulthood. Especially their health is at risk.
Man with child in pasture landscape

Protecting children from harm

The future of children across the world very much depends on climate action. Children are considerably more vulnerable than adults to climate risks such as extreme weather events, diseases, or malnutrition. The WHO estimates that 85% of the global disease burden caused by climate change occurs in children under five.1 Climate change effects every child born today, many as early as from the day they are born.2 Containing global warming will allow children to live healthier lives as they are less at risk from infectious diseases, air pollution and starvation. Especially, the very young will be better protected as it is children under five who suffer most from diseases caused or exacerbated by climate change.

Every year in the next decade, the kinds of natural disasters brought about by climate change are likely to affect up to 175 million children.3

Courtenay Cabot Venton,
Making the Case: Costs and benefits of climate change impacts on children,

93 %

of all children worldwide today breathe toxic air with pollution levels above the guidelines of the World Health Organization.4

But the benefits of a low-carbon future go much further. Preventing and mitigating climate-induced environmental disasters means less children will face displacement, hunger, insecurity and psychological trauma. More children will be able to attend school and pursue an education as they are not forced to work because climate-induced floods or droughts with resulting crop failures threaten the livelihoods of their families. Better education, in turn, helps children to escape the cycle of poverty, ill-health and social injustice.

As a philanthropist committed to children’s issues, you can ensure a more lasting impact of your activities by integrating a climate perspective into your portfolios, whether these are focused on children’s health, poverty or education issues.

You can, for instance, support health clinics and the building of schools, or you can fund water and sanitation projects in regions particularly exposed to the impacts of climate change. You can also foster education on the effects of climate change in order to raise awareness and public responsibility for climate and environment.

Case Study

  • Children's Investment Fund Foundation

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation is the world's largest philanthropy that focuses specifically on improving children's lives and one of Europe's most important climate funders. Convinced that climate change is the single biggest threat to children's future, the foundation supports the global transition to a zero-carbon society.