Tuesday, May 16, 2006



The human cost of climate change

One of the bitter ironies of climate change is that while it is rich countries which have historically emitted all the carbon, and which today emit vastly more per capita, it is poor countries which will bear the brunt of the resulting changes in global climate. The 2001 Synthesis Report noted that climate change

is projected to increase threats to human health, particularly in lower income populations, predominantly within tropical/subtropical countries

Famine, drought, decreased water quality and a higher incidence of disease are all expected to take their toll, and primarily on the countries which can least afford it. But so far, no-one has really tried to put a number on the human cost. Now, NGO Christian Aid has - and the number is staggering. According to their report, The climate of poverty: facts fears and hope [PDF], climate change is expected to kill 182 million people by 2100 - and that's just in Sub-Saharan Africa, and just from disease, without even considering how many will starve. if that's not enough to make stopping climate change a moral imperitive for any person with any sort of conscience, then I don't really know what is.

10 comments:

How?

Posted by maksimovich : 5/16/2006 09:58:00 AM

The pdf doesn't seem to match the article, and a quick websearch doesn't pull it up either.

The usual argument is this: warmer winter weather leads to more disease, especially by increasing the area over which Malarial mosquitoes range.

They don't seem to discuss the ongoing drought in the Sorel (and the related genocide in Sudan): though the relationship between that drought and the warmer nearby Indian Ocean temperatures seems fairly clear, whether those warmer ocean temperatures are related to anthropic global warming is, of course, still much debated.

Posted by Icehawk : 5/16/2006 11:53:00 AM

Icehawk: the report is poorly laid out, but it is the one referred to, and the 182 million figure and information on methodology is on page 9. The BBC article has an unfortunate typo (184 million instead of 182) and focuses on the recommendations rather than the predicted death toll. Perhaps the Guardian version would have been better...

They talk a little about drought and famine, but don't try to put a number of deaths on it.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/16/2006 12:07:00 PM

Malaria was endemic in Russia prior to the use of insecticides.Temperature is irrelevant,As it was in most of europe.Malaria is already endemic in Africa,the increase in zoonotic transfer is entirely due to the Ec prohibition on funding of insecticides for malarial control.

Next.

Posted by maksimovich : 5/16/2006 12:13:00 PM

maksimovich,

"Temperature is irrelevant"

Don't be absurd. Malaria is currently a tropical disease. Had you not noticed that?

Insecticide controls can and do work: but they're much more expensive and difficult in those places where anopheline mosquitoes breed and live more easily. Hence the relationship to climate (and to poverty).

Control of anopheline mosquitoes, combined with drug treatment of malaria episodes, was successful in North America, Russia, etc. Massive attempts were made to do the same in in the tropics in the 1960s: they were largely unsuccessful (with some notable exceptions such as China). You can hardly blame the EC for that since it hardly existed in the 1960s.

You're pointing out that enough money could wipe out malaria. True. And I wish the world's govts would. But Bill Gates has looked at the problem, and is spending a few hundred million, and that isn't close to enough. We're not talking small amounts of money.

The point is that if things continue as they do now, global warming (and the wetter climes expected) will cause an increase in malaria and, over the next century, millions of deaths.

Whether that's a small or large part of the 182 million figure I don't know. RTFA.

Posted by Icehawk : 5/16/2006 05:10:00 PM

Malaria is already endemic in Africa the sole reason for the increase of morbidity is the restriciton imposed by the EC and WHO on non-organic pesticides.The prohibition introduced in 1995 increased the incidence of malaria vector mosquito.Since the reintoduction of non organic pesticides RSA has reduced its incidence levels to pre 1995 levels.

Every 15 seconds someone dies from Malaria in Africa,the debilitating effects are the prime reason for debased agriculture outputs.

There is no evidence of increased water vapour outside of the normal variables of the ENSO and interdecadeal oscillations from the The Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) 1979-2004.Part of the IPCC review of climatic changes.

I recommend you read the malaria papers available from the Pasteur Institute.

Posted by maksimovich : 5/16/2006 07:03:00 PM

Just to put up the alternate position.

I wonder how many people reducing carbon usage will kill. Depends on how you count it. I would be inclined to say many more than 180 million. (sounds bad when you say it that way).

The difference would be that they would be old people dying of cold and more expensive services and so forth as opposed to just disease.

What would really less plesant deaths would be starvation caused by alternate technologies like sugar displacing food crops.

Posted by Genius : 5/16/2006 11:17:00 PM

Look, makismovich, OK, warmer weather may not be due to human activity, but please, you have to admit, pumping toxic gases into the air is not a good thing. Why do you want your children to have to wear gas masks to school because the air is laden with smog from your precious factories that emit toxic smoke into the air? Why do you want to wear a gas mask to work, or stop your children from swmming in the river because the factory upstream decided to discharge some green foamy funny smelling stuff into it to save a few bucks?

This is about having clean air to breath, clean water to drink, and to not have this earth leveled into a parking lot.

Surely your mother used to tell you to clean up after yourself and keep your room clean?

What is so bad about that?

There is nothing "good" about pollution.

There is nothing "good" about trashing this earth.

Posted by Millsy : 5/17/2006 10:02:00 AM

Milsey a lot of people can read and write,very few people can think.

Cause and effect are always conditiond by exogenous variables(unqualified conditions)

Nature is neither clean or green or non toxic.It is through evolution that change variation occurs.

Nature due to its diversity is indeed a natural polluter.Trees are polluters,the nitrogen runoff from NZ legumes such as Kowhai pollute(ha)the central plateau lakes.

The increased levels of CO2 from mature and protected forests such as fiordland produce 150 times the level of CO2 as the rest of NZ combined.

The acid rain in NZ is produced from phytoplankton in the surrounding oceans.The high tanin runoffs from vegetation in national parks makes the water undrinkable in some areas.

The production of methane by chemophyllic geobacteria in the geothermal areas far outweigh the production by sheep here.

The nitrous oxide produced by geothermal activity in the Central plateaus towns is 100 times the WHO Levels.

Everyday you use oxygen for respiration.The respiration energy metabolic process for 1 hour will give you radioactive conducent with 1 xray per day for a year.

Every glass of pure water you drink contains 370ppm of radioactive deuterium(heavy water)As it has for 4BY

What do you suggest?

Posted by maksimovich : 5/17/2006 10:35:00 AM

presumably if we were to act intelligently on this one we would all get together anddeclare an environment that we want - an amount of CO2 a temperature a level of polutants etc all things considered.

Then we could aim for it with appropriate taxes on using certain resources.

Posted by Genius : 5/17/2006 05:55:00 PM