The impacts of climate change are becoming noticeable in richer countries. Whether it is thanks to regular Extinction Rebellion protests, or Greta Thunberg 's calls to action, many of us are more concerned than we have ever been .
Natural disasters in richer countries raise alarm, because rightly or wrongly, here in the UK we have usually been able to see climate change as someone else's problem.
However, the Met Office's predictions about climate change and risk to life, extreme weather across the UK and recent, deadly flooding in Western Europe , which climate change contributed to – means we have no choice but to pay attention.
During those terrible floods, a white woman in Germany said something that offended many.: You don't expect people to die in a flood in Germany. You expect it maybe in poor countries, but you don't expect it here.'
Though many of us would never say this out loud, the data supports her.
According to the United Nations , about 99% of climate change casualties take place in the developing world.
As the deadly threat of climate change creeps closer to home, will we see more policies and programmes to tackle the problem head on?
Professor Tahseen Jafry leads the Centre for Climate Justice at Glasgow Caledonian University. She thinks recent events could make Western leaders more likely to act but warns we cannot underestimate the influence of Western oil companies.
'There are massive amounts of money invested in the preservation of practices which will deepen and worsen the climate crisis,' she explains.
'These people basically look at their bottom line and shareholder values and are willing to put massive pressure on governments and different power brokers to carry on with business as usual – even as people all across the world suffer the consequences.'
Just this year, a senior lobbyist at Exxon Mobil was caught on camera by Greenpeace's investigative arm claiming that the company secretly fought legislation on climate change .
Athian Akec is a Black climate activist. Though he acknowledges the influence of big business, he says the lack of action on climate change up until now also shows discrimination.
'It shows the unequal valuation of human life,' he tells Metro.co.uk. 'The statistics show that communities that face the worst air pollution are the most deprived and most diverse but also have the lowest rates of car ownership.
'You can't have climate justice without racial justice or economic justice – all these things are interconnected.
'Crises always cost those of us who have the least the most.'
The first person in the UK to have had air pollution listed as a cause of death on their death certificate was nine-year-old Black girl Ella Kissi-Debrah .
Of course, though they are disproportionately affected, not all poor people are Black. Those who are impacted by climate change are not just Black either. Even if flooding hits a wide surface area, like Western Europe – the poorest will have the most trouble putting their lives back together afterwards .
'The devastation we're seeing across Europe where infrastructure has been destroyed and homes and businesses have been completely demolished – one of the things that that's really striking is the similarity with the impact it has on the lives of people who live in the global South,' says Professor Jafry.
'I was in Malawi last year and I saw the impact of extreme floods on the lives of people there and it doesn't look too dissimilar.
'The long-lasting mental health and psychological trauma climate change is going to bring to the lives of people is the same in Europe as it will be in the Global South.'
For Athian, that truth – that vulnerable people from diverse groups will bear the brunt of the climate crisis – means those groups must learn to work together against strong commercial interests.
'It's about poor Black people and poor white people, people who face injustice all across the world, trying to build a coalition in which our collective issues can be tackled,' he explains.
'If you look in the USA, one thing that is really interesting is the emerging coalition around climate change between people like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders who come from different parts of the political tradition.
'In the UK, we've got to look at how we can bring communities together on the Green New Deal.'
It will be crucial to build coalitions across communities, even when prejudice separates us.
'We have to be clear in our condemnation – but as long as we're not harming anyone in our community, we also have to try to change the minds that can be changed,' says Athian.
'One thing that we can lose track of in the midst of all the crisis and injustice is the capacity for human change and redemption.'
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