Report: Climate change crisis ‘catastrophic’ kills 300,000 each year

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.

“Climate change is the greatest emerging humanitarian challenge of our time, causing suffering to hundreds of millions of people worldwide,” said the forum’s president, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

In a statement accompanying the report’s release in London Friday, Annan said that it gave the world a glimpse of a grim future if Member States fail to reach a “global, effective, fair and binding” outcome on climate change at the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December.

“I hope that all Member States will go to Copenhagen with the political will to sign up to an ambitious agreement to tackle climate change,” he said. “As this report shows, the alternative is greater risk of starvation, migration and sickness on a massive scale.”

The report’s startling numbers are based on calculations that the earth’s atmosphere is currently warming by 0.74 degrees celcius. The Global Humanitarium Forum says that temperatures will rise by almost two degrees celcius, regardless of what’s agreed in Copenhagen.

“No matter what,” the report concludes, “the suffering documented in this report is only the beginning.” A rise of two degrees, it says, “would be catastrophic.”

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 fatalaties from weather-related disasters.

Article here.

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