Extreme weather is 5 times more likely to displace low- and middle-income populations, and to disrupt employment In the Arctic, Alaskan communities threatened by sea level rise and coastal erosion are left without government aid, increasing Indigenous inequalities.
Climate change increases exposure of vulnerable groups, affects peoples’ susceptibility to damage, and reduces their ability to cope with and recover from the impacts of climate hazards, all of which exacerbates existing inequalities. Disasters disproportionately affect women and children as well as poor and marginalized communities, which have done least to cause climate change. In the event of extreme weather, populations across low- and middle-income countries are estimated to be five times more likely than people in high-income counterparts to be displaced (Oxfam America, n.d.). Arctic change will increase existing inequalities and climate impacts globally.
Arctic climate change is a fundamental threat to Indigenous communities and culture. For over a decade, the Sámi have been facing the “limit of resilience” (Furberg, Evengård and Nilsson, 2011). As the Sámi’s rights continue to erode, and without robust mitigation and adaptation in sight, Indigenous inequalities will increase. Similarly, 31 Native Alaskan communities are threatened by sea level rise and coastal erosion, both of which the U.S. government has long claimed to be avoidable and therefore not meeting the criteria for federal aid or disaster relief (Faheid, 2021). While funding is still relatively inaccessible and does not cover ecological restoration, in April 2022, the U.S. Department of the Interior declared that the country would invest US$46 million in climate impacts and challenges faced by Indigenous communities (Reyna, 2022). Climate vulnerable regions in the Arctic deserve compensation for loss and damage from current climate impacts.
While equality has improved across the Arctic, women residing outside of Reykjavik in Iceland still earn 38 percent less than men for the same job. In the Russian Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, women only earn 74 percent of the average man’s salary (Arctic Council, 2021).