Disease spread by global warming could kill an extra 185 million
people in sub-Saharan Africa by the end of the century and turn
millions more into refugees unless rich nations take action now, a
report said Monday.
Christian Aid said rich developed countries had to end their
dependence on fossil fuels and set aside large sums of aid to help
poorer nations ride out the worst impacts of global warming and
switch to energy sources like wind, solar and waves.
"Rich countries must take responsibility for having largely
created this problem and cut CO2 emissions radically," the
non-governmental organization said in a report The Climate of
Poverty: Facts, Fears and Hopes.
"Climate change is taking place and will inevitably continue.
Poor people will take the brunt, so we are calling on rich
countries to help them adjust as the seas rise, the deserts expand,
and floods and hurricanes become more frequent and intense."
Most scientists agree that global warming is a result of burning
fossil fuels for transport and power, and new calculations suggest
that having risen by 0.6 C in the 20th century, global temperatures
could surge 3 C by 2100.
Christian Aid said it based its estimate of 185 million deaths
due to disease on figures from the United Nations and the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Global warming should
allow carriers like mosquitoes to expand their ranges.
Fight over scarce resources
Melting ice caps and glaciers were not only eroding coast lines
at a rapid rate but were also raising sea levels and reducing
reliable sources of fresh water.
At the same time changing weather patterns were increasing the
incidence of floods and droughts, with arid regions becoming drier
and wet regions getting wetter.
These changes would increase tensions as key resources like
water and fertile land become more scarce, the religious charity
said, noting the farmers in northern Kenya were fighting over a
diminishing number of waterholes to feed their cattle.
"The unfolding disaster in east Africa, where 11 million people
have been put at risk of hunger by years of unprecedented drought,
is a foretaste of what it to come," the report said.
"In this sense, the environment is too important to be left to
the environmentalists," Christian Aid said, declaring that it was
switching its campaign goals to focus on the four great effects of
global warming pestilence, floods, famine and war.
The Kyoto Protocol is the only global vehicle for cutting carbon
emissions, but it expires in 2012, the world's worst polluter, the
United States, rejects it and it does not commit the major
developing nations to make any reductions.
As talks get under way to try to find a successor to Kyoto and
encourage the United States to sign up, Christian Aid said
developed nations had to slash carbon dioxide emissions by
two-thirds by 2050, and major developing nations India, Brazil and
China also had to agree to set tough targets for
(China Daily May 16, 2006)