Climate change could soon kill more people than cancer

Meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement could reduce projected mortality by more than 80% by the end of the century

United Nations experts are sounding the alarm: Without changing human behavior, climate change could cause more deaths than cancer.

Causing almost 10 million deaths in 2020, cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. But this scourge could soon be overtaken by climate change. In a report published on Friday, November 4, experts from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) warn that if nothing is done to reduce carbon emissions, they could kill twice as many diseases in warmer regions. of the world.

The report cites the example of the city of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. In the worst case scenario, where greenhouse gas emissions do not decline by 2100, climate change would cause twice as many deaths as cancer from all causes.

François Gemenne: “The situation on the planet is dramatic. Climate change is already killing people and the 21st century will be one of pandemics”

“Cardiovascular and respiratory systems under severe stress”

In question, the high temperatures that “test the cardiovascular and respiratory systems,” says the report. In the city of Faisalabad, Pakistan, heat could kill more people than strokes, which are the third leading cause of death in the country today.

However, not all countries are equal in the face of climate change. Saudi Arabia, on the front lines of global warming, should not experience the same fate as Bangladesh or Pakistan thanks to its financial means. The country could thus contain excess mortality. In colder regions, climate change should, on the contrary, reduce mortality, but to a lesser extent.

Are there options to avoid the worst? Yes, respond the United Nations experts, who invite to respect the Paris Agreement. The report calls for “containing global warming by 2100 to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” to save “tens of millions of lives in the coming decades”. A vital message as Cop 27 opened on Sunday 6th November in Egypt.

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