Climate change may claim 14.5 mn lives by 2050: WEF

Davos, Jan 17 – Climate change threatens to cause an additional 14.5 million deaths and $12.5 trillion in economic losses worldwide by 2050, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report published here.

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”, Xinhua news agency quoted a WEF statement as saying.

The report analysed 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 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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