Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Climate Change is Already Killing 400,000 People Annually

Climate change is killing 400,000 people per year including 1,000 children a day and costing the global economy $1.2 trillion a year (which amounts to 1.6 percent of economic output). These are the findings of a September 2012 study called "Climate Vulnerability Monitor" (PDF).

This study was conducted by 50 scientists and policy experts. It was commissioned by 20 nations that are most at risk from climate change. According to this study if we continue with business as usual this situation is expected to get far worse. The study concludes that these deaths are “due to hunger and communicable diseases that affect above all children in developing countries.” The study further states that as global warming intensifies in the coming years, the death toll could rise to 700,000 a year by 2030. The economic costs, if the effects of air pollution are included, could increase to 3.2 percent of global output.

The Daily Beast covered a Reuters report on the new study, which stated that more than 100 million will die by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change. Many of these deaths are from malnutrition, malaria, and diarrhea caused by contaminated water, a common result of floods. Other deadly climate change related killers include heat waves, agricultural losses and disease.

Although the world's poor are most likely to bear the brunt of climate change, the developed world is far from immune. According to a 2008 study sponsored by the European Union, the record-breaking heat wave that blanketed Europe for six weeks in summer 2003 caused at least 71,449 deaths. The report indicates that in the US climate impacts could cut the US GNP by 2 percent by 2030.

A 2009 report issued by the Global Humanitarian Forum claimed that global warming was already causing 300,000 deaths and $125 billion in economic losses annually. If we use these figures the death toll associated with climate change has increased by 33 percent since 2009 and the cost has risen almost ten fold.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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