The Global Humanitarian Forum, a think tank headed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, has just released the Human Impact Report: Climate Change - The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis, which looks at the humanitarian side of climate change. And it isn't pretty.
Climate change, the report says, is already responsible for 300,000 deaths a year and is affecting 300 million people. It projects that increasingly severe heatwaves, floods, storms and forest fires will be responsible for as many as 500,000 deaths a year by 2030, making it the greatest humanitarian challenge the world faces:
- four billion people are vulnerable now and 500 million are now at extreme risk
- water shortages will threaten food production, reduce sanitation, hinder economic development and damage ecosystems"
- hundreds of millions of people are expected to become water stressed by climate change by the 2030
- weather-related disasters will bring hunger, disease, poverty and lost livelihoods, and pose a threat to social and political stability
- 310 milliion more people will suffer adverse health consequences related to temperature increases
- 20 million more people will fall into poverty
- 75 million extra people will be displaced by climate change
Nearly 98% of the people seriously affected, 99% of all deaths from weather-related disasters and 90% of the total economic losses are now borne by developing countries. The populations most at risk the report says, are in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, south Asia and the small island states of the Pacific.
Furthermore, of the 12 countries considered least at risk, 11 are industrially developed. Together they have made nearly $72 billion available to help themselves adapt to climate change but have pledged only $400 million to help poor countries. "This is less than one state in Germany is spending on improving its flood defences," says the report.
To see where these excerpts came from, check out this Guardian article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/may/29/1
Now, can you say compassion? I bet the deniers and skeptics can't.