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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Climate change to raise a $340-b bill a year in 20 years

ABOUT 300,000 people, more than the death toll for an Indian Ocean tsunami, die from climate-related changes annually. The world's poorest nations face an economic cost of $125 billion, more than the total amount of world aid from rich to developing nations, and 325 million people are hit, says a damning report that called for global governments to scale up multilateral funding for developing countries to adapt to climate change a 100 times. Multilateral funds for adaptation to clean technologies and mitigating the worst of climate-related disasters, at about $400 million, is only 1% of what developing countries need, the report estimates.
    The influential report by the Global Humanitarian Forum, the first to calculate the human impact of climate change, finds that in 20 years, the death toll can hit 50,000, and annual economic costs rise to $340 billion.
    Kofi Annan, president of the Global Humanitarian Forum told the international media that: "The worst hit are those who live on the margins. The cost must be primarily borne by those directly responsible for the crisis," pointing to the industrialised nations, which bear about 1% of the economic and human costs at present.

    Mr Annan also called for industrialised nations to "make expertise, technology and aid freely available to developing countries to grow their economies in a sustainable manner," one of India's key demands at climate change forums globally. Mr Annan
added: "Only a fraction of the required resources is made available, adding insult to injury." While the findings are likely to be debated, it is the first report to quantify how the worst affected are those least responsible for climate change.
    Speaking to ET, Mr Annan added that there is a genuine worry that the global recession will slow action about climate change. "We are asked by politicians, how can we focus on climate change when we have an economic crisis to deal with. Climate change is a silent crisis, but it cannot wait, you have to look at longer term issues." US said Mr Annan is more open to the reality of climate change as a global issue, and China, is also very aware of the need for sustainable and green growth.
    The report also called for a need to provide provisions for 'climate change refugees', people displaced by gradual degradation or large-scale weather disasters. Today, an estimated 26 million people are considered displaced by climate change. According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chairman Rajendra Pachauri: "Unless we look at the humanitarian dimension… we are likely to have failed states." The report says that the problem of displaced populations is likely to hit international borders unless it is addressed now.

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