By Claire

A new report titled, “A Guide to the Cold Calculus of a Hot Planet“, commissioned by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, suggests that climate inaction will cost 100 million lives by 2030, if nothing is done to tackle climate change.

I find this number absolutely horrifying. Just to put it into perspective, currently, the population of Australia is at about 22.5 million. That means, that by 2030, deaths due to climate change will equal more than 4x the population of Australia!

The injustice of this figure is that more than 90% of these deaths will occur in developing countries – that is, countries which contribute the least amount of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere will experience the greatest impact.

Unfortunately, the report goes on…

KEY FINDINGS INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING ESTIMATES:

* Climate change and a carbon-intensive economy considered a leading global cause of death today, responsible for 5 million deaths each year – 400,000 due to hunger and communicable diseases aggravated by climate change and 4.5 million carbon economy deaths due mainly to air pollution

* Failure to act on climate change already costs the world economy 1.6% of global GDP amounting to 1.2 trillion dollars in forgone prosperity a year

* Rapidly escalating temperatures and carbon-related pollution will double costs to 3.2% of world GDP by 2030

* Losses for lower-income countries are already extreme: 11% of GDP on average for Least Developed Countries already by 2030

* Major economies are heavily hit: in less than 20 years China will incur the greatest share of all losses at over 1.2 trillion dollars; the US economy will be held back by more 2% of GDP; India, over 5% of its GDP

Bangladeshi Prime Minister and Climate Vulnerable Forum Chair for Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina said, “One degree Celsius rise in temperature is associated with 10% productivity loss in farming. For us, it means losing about four million metric tonnes of food grain, amounting to about US$ 2.5 billion. That is about 2% of our GDP. Adding up the damages to property and other losses, we are faced with a total loss of about 3-4% of GDP. Without these losses, we could have easily secured much higher growth.”

Although we are least responsible for causing the climate change disasters, we are still doing all we can to meet the challenge. Costa Rica, Samoa, Ethiopia, and the Maldives have promised to be carbon neutral over the next decade. In Bangladesh, we have mobilized 300 million U.S. dollars in creating our Climate Change Trust Fund. This fund would be used for implementing our adaptation and mitigation programs, including planting trees on 20% of our landmass. Let me affirm that Bangladesh, as a responsible member of the international community, will never exceed the average per capita emission of the developing countries. This is our commitment to a low carbon development path.

We expect such commitments and responsible behavior from those who have contributed most to climate change crisis over decades. It is time for them to act positively in the interest of present and future generations.”

The time for a global approach to tackling climate change has come. Hopefully, UNCCC negotiations this year in Qatar will be more successful than past attempts.

Read the press release here and check out the Climate Vulnerability Monitor for more information, including interactive tools to compare vulnerabilities to climate change between countries.