Cli­mate change al­ready cost­ing lives

The Week (US) - - News 19 -

Cli­mate change is al­ready tak­ing an “un­equiv­o­cal and po­ten­tially ir­re­versible” toll on the world’s pop­u­la­tion, caus­ing more se­vere heat waves, droughts, flood­ing, wild­fires, dis­ease out­breaks, and food short­ages, a new in­ter­na­tional study warns. A mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary team of 63 re­searchers—in­clud­ing econ­o­mists, ecol­o­gists, and math­e­ma­ti­cians—found that tem­per­a­ture in­creases since the 1980s have con­trib­uted to a 46 per­cent rise in the fre­quency of ex­treme weather. Heat waves and droughts have re­duced crop yields and con­trib­uted to un­sta­ble food sup­plies, as well as a 5.3 per­cent loss in la­bor pro­duc­tiv­ity. Ris­ing sea lev­els have forced thou­sands of coastal res­i­dents to mi­grate in­land. Warmer tem­per­a­tures have ex­tended al­lergy sea­son and ex­panded the range of ticks and mos­qui­toes, re­sult­ing in sig­nif­i­cantly more out­breaks of dengue fever, Lyme dis­ease, and other vec­tor-borne ill­nesses. Since 1990, fine-par­ti­cle air pol­lu­tion has in­creased by 11 per­cent.The re­port con­cludes that the world’s fail­ure to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce emis­sions over the past 25 years has put hun­dreds of mil­lions of lives at risk. It also urges gov­ern­ments to ramp up their re­sponse to cli­mate change. “The im­pacts we’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing to­day are al­ready pretty bad,” lead au­thor Nick Watts, from Univer­sity Col­lege Lon­don, tells The Guardian (U.K.). “The things we’re talk­ing about in the fu­ture are po­ten­tially cat­a­strophic.”

The vic­tims of a pro­longed drought in So­ma­lia

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