Global warming killed 150,000 people in the year of 2000 and 20,000 this year alone in a European heatwave, said a report released by the World Health Organization in Milan Thursday.
Climate change, linked by scientists to human emissions of gases like carbon dioxide from cars and factories, is causing frequent floods and droughts.
In a report "Climate Change and Human Health - Risks and Responses" launched during a United Nations' Climate Change conference in Milan, the WHO estimated climate change was responsible for 2.4 percent of the cases of diarrhea worldwide, and two percent of all cases of malaria.
The organization said that "an estimated 150,000 deaths ... were caused in the year 2000 due to climate change," but climate change effects on human health are often imperfectly perceived.
"The 1990s were the hottest decade on record and the upward trend in the world's temperature does not look like abating," it said. "In Europe this past summer, for example, an estimated 20,000 people died due to extremely hot temperatures."
The 9th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Frameworks Convention on Climate Change (COP9), that took place in Milan from Dec. 1, underscored the commitment of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol and reached agreement on a number of open issues to make the protocol operational. The European Union's members and other countries call on all Parties that have not yet done so to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2003)