Report: Climate change crisis ‘catastrophic’

Posted on Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 10:25 am by dpacheco

CNN reports the Global Humanitarian Forum, led by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, has released the first comprehensive report into the human cost of climate change. A 0.74° Celsius rise in world temperatures has had devastating, heartbreaking effects. A 2° rise, which now seems inevitable, will cause unthinkable misery.

Primarily—and disproportionately—affected are those living in developing countries. These hundreds of thousands of deaths aren’t occurring simply because of climate change’s most obvious effects, like flooding, but mostly due to climate-related malnutrition, diarrhea, and malaria. And as people flee impacted areas, they’re putting pressure on the areas they’re migrating to. It’s becoming, according to the report, not only a humanitarian crisis, but a global security issue. Hopefully, the report will influence the upcoming United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen, whose stated goal is “to forge a post-Kyoto climate agreement for 2012 and beyond.”

LONDON, England (CNN) — The first comprehensive report into the human cost of climate change warns the world is in the throes of a “silent crisis” that is killing 300,000 people each year.

More than 300 million people are already seriously affected by the gradual warming of the earth and that number is set to double by 2030, the report from the Global Humanitarian Forum warns.

“For the first time we are trying to get the world’s attention to the fact that climate change is not something waiting to happen. It is impacting seriously the lives of many people around the world,” the forum’s president, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, told CNN.

Speaking to CNN’s Becky Anderson in London on Friday, Annan said the migration of people from newly uninhabitable areas presents a security issue that needs to be addressed by the United Nations Security Council.

“This is one of the reasons why I’ve described climate change as all encompassing,” he told CNN. “This threat to our health, this threat to food production, this threat to security. It raises political tensions, it will have people on the move — and they are on the move — and many more which will bring tensions.”

The report, titled “Human Impact Report: Climate Change — The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis” comes just six months before the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen to forge a post-Kyoto climate agreement for 2012 and beyond.

Annan called on Member States to reach a “global, effective, fair and binding” outcome on climate change, as the report warned that the talks could “well be the last chance for avoiding global catastrophe.”

[...]

Of the 300,000 lives being lost each year due to climate change, the report finds nine out of 10 are related to “gradual environmental degradation,” and that deaths caused by climate-related malnutrition, diarrhea and malaria outnumber direct fatalities from weather-related disasters.

The vast majority of deaths — 99 percent — are in developing countries which are estimated to have contributed less than one percent of the world’s total carbon emissions.

Read the whole article here.

 

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