Report: Climate Change Already Killing 300,000 People Annually

  • Published on May 29th, 2009

dry, cracked earth in draught-stricked Africa

The first-ever report exclusively focused on the global human impact of climate change indicates that more than 300 million people are seriously affected by climate change at a total economic cost of $125 billion per year.

Earlier today, former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, President of the Global Humanitarian Forum, announced the results of a report on the human impact of climate change. The study, Human Impact Report: Climate Change – The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis, emphasizes the present impacts of a changing climate, pulling the debate away from a focus on “future generations.”


Speaking at a press conference in London, Mr. Annan said, “Climate change is the greatest emerging humanitarian challenge of our time, causing suffering to hundreds of millions of people worldwide. As this report shows, the first hit and worst affected are the world’s poorest groups, and yet they have done least to cause the problem.”

“Despite its dangerous impact, climate change is a neglected area of research since much of the debate has focused on the long term physical effects,” said Annan. “The point of this report is to focus on today and on the human face climate change.”

>>See also: EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Pose Threat to Public Health

The report concludes that by 2030, worldwide deaths will reach almost 500,000 per year; people affected by climate change annually will rise to over 600 million and the total annual economic cost increase to around $300 billion annually.

Regions at particular risk include the semi-arid dry land belt countries from the Sahara to the Middle East and Central Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, South and South East Asia, and small island developing states.

The report also suggests that the world’s twenty most vulnerable nations to climate change account for less than one percent of total worldwide emissions. In addition, 98% of those affected by climate change, 99% of all deaths and over 90% of all economic losses are borne by those countries least able to cope with the impacts of climate change and least able to invest the resources in fending them off.

The Global Humanitarian Forum commissioned Dalberg Global Development Advisers to develop the report in December 2008 by assembling all relevant information and current statistics relating to the human impact of climate change. Within the limitations of existing research, the report presents the most complete estimate of the impact of climate change on human society today.


Image: meaduva under a Creative Commons license

About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.


  • Right – every home should have

    1. a wind turbine (producing next to nothing if even functional after a few months (days) also anything decent is expensive and few places (residential) have the wind for it

    2. a few solar panels – probably the same as number 1 – again a space and insolation problem

    3. a garden – most people couldn't garden if they had to and probably don't have a space

    4. turn off the telly etc and refind community – while searching for your cave?

    Ain't gonna happen – better come up with a plan B

  • Its time for us all to grow up! the current population is just not sustainable, especially in 1st world countries, people consume. We need a program to get renewable energy as a domestic standard, every home should have a wind turbine, a couple of solar panels and a decent garden. We must do more for ourselves and put the telly off and get rid of the Xbox, get fit, eat well and refind community. The alternative is just too horrible to imagine.

  • This is a truly groundbreaking report: in fact, it's the first publication to pretend that there is any real basis for making a causal connection between climate change and death by disaster. All of the previous studies on the subject, as reported by the IPCC itself, conclude that there is absolutely no way to statistically separate socio-economic factors from any hypothetical global warming effects where disaster deaths are concerned.

    Yes, they've taken us to uncharted waters where any PR firm can make a slick video showing starving children and hurricanes in order to prop up new policies where $Billions will be sent from "us" to "them".

    Don't worry about the science behind the study–there is none. But that doesn't matter where collective guilt and rent seeking are causally connected.

  • absolutely correct… the UN wants money and as a generally communistic or socialistic organization, it wants to transfer wealth from successful countries to unsuccessful countries, no matter what the actual reasons are for the failures of the unsuccessful countries.

    it doesn't matter if lack of natural resources or lack of rule of law or lack of property rights or lack of freedoms is the reason… they have the "cure."

    follow the money.

  • i cant believe how low some will go to make money. the idea of global warming what ever the word for it for today if you read history there have been floods drought and storms for the entire human history some killed tens of thousands if not millions and i find it low that some are trying to make money by this lie if they really wanted to save lives they would get off there butts and stop genocide and war but they would not make any money doing that

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