Climate change is bound to drive a wedge between the rich and the poor, a recent report has opined, if communities don't act quickly.
According to www.news.com.au, the report, released by the Melbourne Community Foundation, took as its case subject the city of Melbourne in Australia.
The report said that climate change will empty the pockets of Melbourne's most vulnerable residents as rising temperatures and sea levels drive up the cost of living.
As the Federal Government continued weeks of debate on the validity of an emissions trading scheme, the report concluded that climate change is real and would drive a wedge between the rich and the poor if communities didn't act quickly.
"Alarming evidence continues to mount about the rate at which our climate is changing and the implications this has for the ecological and social systems we depend on," the report said.
"Unabated and unaddressed, climate change will exacerbate existing social inequities," it added.
The report, released by the Melbourne Community Foundation, reviewed previous studies on community infrastructure needs and identified climate change as one of seven key factors that will have a dramatic impact on the quality of life by 2030.
Other factors include rapid population growth, lack of affordable housing and problems with public transport.
Climate change, however, would have the greatest impact on low income families, according to the report, as they struggled to pay for needed rainwater tanks, energy efficiency, retrofitting and solar panels in their homes and the rising costs of food and petrol.
Older generations and those with chronic illness would see their health impacted more often by extreme weather conditions - on top of the impact successive droughts and heatwaves would have on the price of groceries.
The lack of water would make water more expensive, while the transformation from coal to renewable energy would drive up costs.
The report concluded climate change would be expensive and will therefore hit the bottom line of Melbourne's most at-risk residents more heavily.
Most of those residents would live in outer suburbs where an estimated 500,000 more people were expected to live in 20 years.
The report called for more funding to subsidise the cost of solar panels, water tanks and home insulation.