The increasing cost-of-living pressure because of the Ukraine war could push an additional 141 million people into extreme poverty, a study published on Thursday (February 16) in the British scientific journal Nature has highlighted. The global energy crisis worsened after Russia launched a full-scale invasion in February 2022, it further underlines, stressing that continued high reliance on fossil fuels and the severe mismatch between energy demand and supply were among the other factors that contributed.
With Russia being a major exporter of oil (12.3 per cent of global supply in 2021) and natural gas (23.6 per cent), European nations dependent on oil and natural gas imports from the country, already at high risk since gas storages were nearly and probably deliberately emptied before the war, face unprecedented fuel supply shortages, according to the study by the Birmingham University. Many economies have been pushed into recession, it further points out, and inflation has been triggered due to the energy crisis.
Even as several governments have brought in measures to subsidise soaring energy bills for households, these might be insufficient in view of the scale of the problem, researchers said. The surge in direct energy costs of households in 116 countries range from 51.1 per cent to 176.1 per cent.
“Referring to the World Bank’s latest international poverty line (US$2.15 in 2017 purchasing power parity (PPP) per person per day, updated in September 2022), we estimated that an additional 78 million–141 million people (1.2–2.1 percent of the global population) could be pushed into extreme poverty,” the report reads. “Our results are 5–48% larger than the estimates from the World Bank (75 million–95 million compared with pre-crisis projections),” it adds.
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