September 27, 2012
Climate Change May Be Blamed For Millions Of Deaths By 2030
April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
A new report, conducted by humanitarian organization DARA, claims that over 100 million people will die and global economic growth will be cut by 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030 if the world fails to deal with climate change.
Greenhouse gas emissions are causing global average temperatures to rise, causing planetary effects such as melting ice caps, extreme weather, drought and rising sea levels. These threaten populations and livelihoods.
The report calculated that five million deaths a year occur from air pollution, hunger and disease as a result of climate change and carbon-intensive economies. That toll is expected to rise to six million a year by 2030 if the current patterns of fossil fuel use continue.
Developing countries will feel the hit the hardest. More than 90 percent of projected deaths will occur in these countries, states the report commissioned by Climate Vulnerable Forum.
"A combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade," the report said.
The report also claims that the effects of climate change have lowered global output by 1.6 percent of world GDP, or by about $1.2 trillion a year. Losses could double to 3.2 percent of global GDP by 2030 if temperatures are allowed to continue to rise. The cost of changing the world to a low-carbon society is estimated at about 0.5 percent of GPD this decade.
“What is possible with $100 billion today will cost ten times more in 2030,” Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed said during the panel discussion, part of the Climate Week NYC conference.
Oxfam International says the cost of political inaction, according to the report, is staggering.
"The losses to agriculture and fisheries alone could amount to more than $500 billion per year by 2030, heavily focused in the poorest countries where millions depend on these sectors to make a living," said executive director Jeremy Hobbs.
A yearly investment equivalent to 2 percent of global GDP is needed to limit, prevent and adapt to climate change, according to British economist Nicholas Stern.
Without any action to tackle climate change, Stern's 2006 report on climate change economics states that the overall risks and costs of climate change would be the same as a cut in per-capita consumption of up to 20 percent.
Global temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 degrees C (1.44 F) above pre-industrial times. In 2010, almost 200 nations agreed to limit global average temperature rise to below 2C (3.6 F) to avoid dangerous impacts from climate change.
The chance of effectively creating this 2-degree limit is getting smaller as global greenhouse gas emissions rise due to burning fossil fuels.
The most at risk are those developing nations as they face increased risk of drought, water shortages, crop failures, poverty and disease. Low-lying coastal regions face the prospect of being submerged as the oceans rise in response to the temperature change. On average, they could see as much as an 11 percent loss in GDP by 2030.
"One degree Celsius rise in temperature is associated with 10 percent productivity loss in farming. For us, it means losing about 4 million metric tons of food grain, amounting to about $2.5 billion. That is about 2 percent of our GDP," Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in response to the report.
"Adding up the damages to property and other losses, we are faced with a total loss of about 3-4 percent of GDP."
Even the most rapidly developing economies, such as the US and China, will not escape unscathed. These countries could see a 2.1 percent reduction in their respective GDP's by 2030, while India could see more than 5 percent in losses.
The news isn't all bad.Former Costa Rican President Jose Maria Figueres said: "There is a lot of low-hanging fruit that can be transformed into jobs, new business models, opportunity for investment and ways in which to finance development."
Clean energy investments passed more than $1 trillion last year, driven by international efforts to curb climate change and develop global policies. Global agreements could spur private support from investors who want predictability in regulation.
“The issue is more urgent and more deeply impacting than we had ever thought,” Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the sister of Costa Rica´s former leader said.