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You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2007 / Poor suffer as world gets hotter

Poor suffer as world gets hotter

APRIL 6, 2007 – Friends of the Earth International has demanded steep emissions cuts by all rich countries and more funding for climate change adaptation in developing countries, after the world's leading scientific experts today warned that the world's poor - who have done least to pollute the atmosphere - will suffer most as the planet heats up. Despite the negligible historical emissions of greenhouse gases by the least developed countries, their people will bear the brunt of climate change, as they are the most vulnerable to the impacts and least able to adapt.

PRESS RELEASE

Friends of the Earth International

April 6, 2007

CLIMATE CHANGE: POOR SUFFER AS WORLD GETS HOTTER

BRUSSELS (BELGIUM) APRIL 6, 2007 – Friends of the Earth International has demanded steep emissions cuts by all rich countries and more funding for climate change adaptation in developing countries, after the world's leading scientific experts today warned that the world's poor - who have done least to pollute the atmosphere - will suffer most as the planet heats up.

Despite the negligible historical emissions of greenhouse gases by the least developed countries, their people will bear the brunt of climate change, as they are the most vulnerable to the impacts and least able to adapt.

This is the message of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which addresses climate impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. [1]

The report - the second of a series based on the latest scientific literature - has taken six years to compile and draws on research by 2,500 scientists from over 130 countries. It should shock the world into taking urgent action to reduce global emissions.

Friends of the Earth International's Climate Campaigner, Catherine Pearce, said: "This report confirms that the scientific findings are stronger than ever. World leaders have overwhelming evidence that urgent action must be taken to cut emissions of greenhouse gases."

"It is now clear that we are to blame for the last 50 years of warming, and this is already causing adverse changes to our planet. Unless we take action to reduce emissions now, far worse is yet to come, condemning millions in the poorest parts of the world to loss of lives, livelihoods and homes. Climate change is no longer just an environmental issue. It is a looming humanitarian catastrophe, threatening ultimately our global security and survival. Industrialised countries, including the USA, which have all done most to contribute to climate change, must lead the way by making significant cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions. Current efforts on and resources for adaptation, including available funds from the industrialized world, are clearly inadequate to meet the scale of what is required. Urgent assistance is needed for developing countries, which have done nothing to contribute to the current threat of climate change and who are already facing the devastating effects," Friends of the Earth International's Climate Campaigner Catherine Pearce added.

Findings of the report include:

+ Projected climate change is likely to affect millions of already vulnerable people. Heat waves, floods, storm, fires and droughts will cause increased deaths and harm.

+ Many million more people are projected to be at risk from coastal flooding due to sea level rise, especially in densely populated and low-lying settlements which already face other challenges, such as tropical storms.

+ Roughly 20-30% of those species assessed so far are likely to be at high risk of irreversible extinction if global average temperature exceeds 1.5 – 2.5°C. Global average temperature has already increased by about 0.7 °C since pre-industrial levels.

+ Glacial retreat in the Himalayas will disrupt water supplies. Friends of the Earth International warns that this will have implications for billions of people across India, China, Nepal and Bhutan.

+ By 2020, 75-250 million people in Africa will be exposed to water scarcity due to climate change.

+ In some African countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by 50% over the same period

+ Over the next half century, climate change could impede the achievement of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. [2]

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Catherine Pearce, Friends of the Earth International Climate campaigner, in Brussels. Tel: +44 7811 283 641 (UK mobile)

Friends of the Earth International media line: +31-6-51005630 (Dutch mobile, 5-6 April only)

Roger Higman, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, in Brussels. Tel: +44 7780 661807 (UK Mobile)

Rosemary Hall, Friends of the Earth Europe communications officer: +32-485 930515 (Belgian mobile)

NOTES TO EDITORS:

[1] The IPCC official website is http://www.ipcc.ch

[2] For more information on the Millennium Development Goals see: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/

 

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