The “silent crisis” known as global warming already kills 300,000 people per year, and that number will double in just 2 decades, according to a report by the Global Humanitarian Forum.
The “Human Impact Report: Climate Change” was released in anticipation of a meeting of the United Nations Climate Conference to be held next winter.
The purpose of that conference will be to develop a post-Kyoto climate agreement.
“We are trying to get the world’s attention…climate change is not something waiting to happen. It is impacting seriously the lives of many people around the world,” Forum president Kofi Annan told CNN.
“This threat to our health…to food production… to security…raises political tensions. It will have people on the move — and they are on the move — and many more which will bring tensions,” Annan added.
The report states that the Earth’s atmosphere warmed 1.33 degrees Fahrenheit between 1906 and 2005. Most of the jump transpired in recent decades.
It projects that by the turn of the next century, the Earth’s atmospheric temperatures will jump a minimum of an additional 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit, “no matter what.”
“The suffering documented in this report is only the beginning.” The minimally expected rise, concluded the report, “would be catastrophic.”
Nearly all, 99%, of the 300,000 lives lost each year due to climate change are located in developing countries, which collectively produce about 1% of the world’s carbon emissions. Climate-related deaths due to malnutrition, diarrheal illnesses and malaria dwarf all other weather-related deaths.
The countries most vulnerable to global warming lie in a semi-arid belt extending from the Sahara/Sahel to the Middle East and Central Asia, as well as those in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Arctic.
Australia was cited as the most vulnerable among first-world nations. It is already experiencing the worst 15-year drought in recorded history.
The report says developed countries need to contribute 100 times more funds than they currently devote to help developing nations fight the scourge.
Annan implored nations attending next winter’s meeting to reach a “global, effective, fair and binding” accord on climate change. Those talks could “well be the last chance for avoiding global catastrophe,” he told CNN.