Climate change much deadlier than cancer in some places, UNDP data shows

According to new research released on Friday by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Climate Impact Lab, the impact of climate change on health may be up to twice as lethal as cancer in some regions of the world if carbon emissions continue high. The report uses Dhaka, Bangladesh, as an example, where extra deaths from climate change might be roughly double the country’s current annual cancer mortality rate and ten times its annual road traffic fatalities in a scenario of very high emissions by 2100. “Because of human action, the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has reached dangerous levels, driving Earth’s temperatures higher and amplifying the frequency and intensity of extreme events,” says the newly launched Human Climate Horizons platform, adding that climate change will exacerbate inequalities and uneven development unless urgent action is taken.

Although increased temperatures and a warmer environment stress cardiovascular and respiratory systems everywhere, the effects will differ depending on which groups have the means to adapt and which do not.

According to the findings, climate change might cause over 67 deaths per 100,000 people in Faisalabad, Pakistan, killing more people than strokes, the country’s third highest cause of death.

Higher revenues in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, however, might maintain the death toll at 35 per 100,000, which is still deadlier than Alzheimer’s disease, the world’s sixth largest cause of death.

According to UNDP, the availability of electricity and the fuels used to create it to power air conditioners and heaters have a critical part in our capacity to cope with severe temperatures.

However, the effects of climate change on energy use will vary locally as individuals, communities, and companies adjust to changing conditions by utilizing available resources.

In Jakarta, for example, rising temperatures are expected to raise energy use by nearly one-third of present home consumption in Indonesia. This will necessitate significant new infrastructure planning.

More frequent and severe temperature extremes have an influence on livelihoods as well, altering job performance and influencing labor intensity and duration.

According to platform data, “the impact of climate change varies across sectors of the economy, with employees in high-risk, weather-exposed businesses like agriculture, construction, mining, and manufacturing being the most affected.”

Excessive heat in Niamey, Niger, was responsible for 36 fewer working hours a year in industries such as construction, mining, and manufacturing, costing the country’s projected GDP 2.5 percent.

As the impacts of climate change are not evenly distributed globally, they will generate a significant uptick in inequalities over the coming years and decades.

But by highlighting that the future is not predetermined, UNDP hopes the information can empower people everywhere, to step up climate action.

The Human Climate Horizons mission is to ensure equal access to data on future impacts, inform decision-making and help everyone understand the human consequences of climate change in different scenarios.

“As climate change intensifies and the world faces an immense energy crunch…decoupling from fossil fuels and investing in the green energy infrastructure of tomorrow…is the only logical economic choice”, said Mr. Steiner.

By Yimeng CHEN

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