WEF Estimates 14.5 million lives will be lost to climate change

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UNICEF/UNI417897/Pouget In Libemuket, Ethiopia, climate change and drought are threatening crops and livestock, pushing the local population to the brink.
UNICEF/UNI417897/Pouget In Libemuket, Ethiopia, climate change and drought are threatening crops and livestock, pushing the local population to the brink.

Climate change threatens to cause an additional 14.5 million deaths and 12.5 trillion U.S. dollars in economic losses worldwide by 2050, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report published here on Tuesday.

The report, jointly compiled by the WEF and the consulting firm Oliver Wyman, is based on “scenarios developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the most likely trajectory for the planet’s rising average temperature, 2.5 to 2.9 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels,” a WEF press release said. The report analyzed six major consequences of climate change: floods, droughts, heat waves, tropical storms, wildfires and rising sea levels.

Flooding alone is estimated to cause 8.5 million deaths by 2050, posing “the highest acute risk of climate-induced mortality,” according to the study. Droughts, as the second leading cause of climate-related mortality, are forecast to claim 3.2 million lives. Heat waves, on the other hand, are expected to cause the highest economic losses, an estimated 7.1 trillion dollars, by 2050.

The report warned that climate crisis will further exacerbate global health inequality and the most vulnerable populations will suffer the most. Regions such as Africa and southern Asia will remain particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, due to their limited resources such as infrastructure and essential medical equipment.

The WEF, in the report, called on global stakeholders to take decisive and strategic action to reduce emissions and mitigate the negative health impacts of climate change.”Recent progress will be lost unless critical emission reduction and mitigation measures are improved, and decisive global action is taken to build climate resilient and adaptable health systems,” said Shyam Bishen, head of the Centre for Health and Healthcare and member of the Executive Committee at the WEF.

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