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.”
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.
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