A new set of data reveals the effect that climate change may have on health, mortality, work capacity and energy use. It also reinforces the forecast that regions that are already vulnerable will be hardest hit. The UN agency warns that, among other things, global warming will increase the incidence of cancer in some places.
On the eve of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) sounded a new alarm on Friday, saying that unless urgent and concerted action is taken, climate change will multiply inequality and disease, and further deepen gaps in human development.
The conclusion comes from data captured by a new platform launched by UNDP and the multi-disciplinary organisation Cimate Impact Lab, which reveals the devastating impact that climate change can have on people’s lives.
The agencies noted that inequality will be greatly accentuated in the health of people in different nations over the coming decades, and said that while a third of the G20 countries, responsible for most carbon emissions, will see an increase in mortality due to climate change, the increase in deaths will reach about 75 per cent of the least developed countries.
“Our cardiovascular and respiratory systems are stressed by rising temperatures. This effect will be visible around the world as the environment continues to warm, but its impact will be very different in places that have the means to respond and adapt, and those that lack that capacity,” the platform notes.
An inequity will also be exacerbated within countries. In Colombia, for example, in the city of Barranquilla, a high-emissions port in the north of the country, the death rate from global warming will rise to 37 per 100,000 people by 2100, widening the gap with deaths from the same cause in Bogotá, the capital. Projected deaths in Barranquilla would be five times higher than the current annual breast cancer mortality rate in Colombia.
Effects on people’s lives.
The effects on people’s lives will be seen in changes in mortality, work capacity and energy use, the agencies detail, citing among the consequences of global warming a marked increase in the incidence of cancer in some parts of the world.
The agencies illustrated this forecast with the case of Dhaka, the Bengali capital, where greenhouse gas emissions are very high. In that city, additional deaths due to climate change would reach 132 per 100,000 people each year by 2100, doubling cancer deaths and exceeding annual deaths from road traffic accidents tenfold.
UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner recalled that already this year, many communities in every corner of the globe are experiencing a climate emergency with impacts far more rapid and severe than many anticipated.
“This poses a threat to our future and a real risk that must be confronted here and now”.