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Green piece: Climate change could create social tensions

So Elon Musk says he believes we are heading for a human population collapse because the world is aging. We’ll be like an inverted pyramid by 2050, he fears.

india Updated: Jun 24, 2019 07:01 IST
Bharati Chaturvedi
Bharati Chaturvedi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
social tensions,Elon Musk,Climate change
School students hold placard and chant slogans as they take part in a demonstration to raise awareness about climate change on May 17, 2019, in central Athens. (AFP file photo)

So Elon Musk says he believes we are heading for a human population collapse because the world is aging. We’ll be like an inverted pyramid by 2050, he fears.

I’d say the collapse depends on where you come from. In the developing world, as the Bihar children’s encephalitis crisis shows, equity is our challenge.

As we age, how shall we provide the care old people, not actively earning, need. Many such people will be poorer, as will their countries, thanks to climate change. It is reasonable to expect national resources spent to fight climate catastrophies, with smaller budgets for social security. People, too, will spend more money fighting extreme heat, losing resources to floods and droughts and combat more intense illnesses.

We know the developed world is more equitous. Yet, they might also be hit by the cost of keeping the elderly healthy in a heated world. With climate change will come exacerbated air pollution, already a killer.

Old people (and children) are particularly vulnerable to its horrible impacts. I believe that this gap between developed and developing is what Elon Musk should also point out to the world. And it is what he should encourage the wealthy to fight against harder.

Not by buying expensive Teslas, but by simply buying less, owning less and pushing their rich nations to consume less in general.

(The writer is Founder and Director Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group)

First Published: Jun 24, 2019 07:00 IST