Differential vulnerability to natural disasters according to the IPCC Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs)
Erich Striessnig, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
As the specific effects of climate change in specific locations around the globe are still uncertain, the present paper stresses that education should be seen as a central factor for both increasing coping capacity with regard to particular climatic changes and improving the resilience of people to climate risks in general. The main hypothesis is that investments in universal primary and secondary education around the world are the most effective strategy for preparing to cope with the still uncertain dangers associated with future climate. The empirical evidence presented for cross-country time series of factors associated with past natural disaster fatalities since 1970 in 152 countries confirms this overriding importance of education in reducing disaster impacts. We also present new projections of populations by age, sex and level of educational attainment to 2060 which provide an appropriate tool for anticipating societies’ future adaptive capacities based on the newly developed Shared Socioeconomic Pathways used in the IPCC’s assessment of future climate change.