Climate change to take the lives of 5 million by 2020, mostly children

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
December 06, 2010



A new report by humanitarian research organization DARA and the Climate Vulnerable Forum finds that if nations continue to fail at lowering greenhouse gas emissions, five million people—mostly children—are likely to die from climate change impacts over the next 10 years. The report, called the Climate Vulnerability Monitor, predicts, in addition, that by 2030, one million people every year will perish from climate change impacts. The dire predictions come as nations struggle at a UN Climate Summit in Mexico this week to come up with a coordinated response to climate change, although an agreement is not expected this year.

While most climate impact reports look solely almost at extreme weather, this new study also considers the spread of what is termed 'climate-sensitive' disease. Currently, the report finds that most of the mortality-related impacts of climate (almost 80%) are children in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where people are specifically threatened by malaria and diarrheal disease. In addition, malnutrition plays a major factor in these places, as a warming world increases pressure on agriculture. According to the report many such pressures are expected to triple globally by 2030.

"If we let pressures more than triple, or worse, no amount of humanitarian assistance or development aid is going to stem the suffering and devastation. Highly fragile countries will become graveyards over which we pour billions of dollars. Low-lying islands will simply not be viable anymore, then disappear. We will all pay and we will pay big time," said DARA Director General, Ross Mountain, in a press release. Mountain previously headed large UN field operations in some of the world's most difficult places: the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq.

Currently the report estimates that 350,000 people perish every year due to climate change impacts. Currently 99% of these deaths are occurring in developing, rather than wealthy, countries. The report finds that many deaths could be prevented cheaply, especially those caused by disease, with the distribution of vitamin and dietary supplements, mosquito nets, and simple salt-water solutions.

The Climate Vulnerability Monitor also recommends closing research gaps on many climate change impacts, giving greater media attention to climate issues especially in the industrial world, expanding national plans for climate change adaptation, and making good on promises of funding.







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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (December 06, 2010).

Climate change to take the lives of 5 million by 2020, mostly children .

http://news.mongabay.com/2010/1206-hance_climate_mortalities.html