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‘Climate change could be much deadlier than cancer’

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 7 November, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news
‘Climate change could be much deadlier than cancer’

The impact of climate change on health could be up to twice as deadly as cancer in some parts of the world if carbon emissions remain high, according to new data released on Friday by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Climate Impact Lab.   

The study gives the example of Dhaka in Bangladesh, where under a scenario of very high emissions by 2100, additional deaths due to climate change could rise to nearly twice the country’s current annual death rate from all cancers, and 10 times its annual road traffic fatalities, says the UN.

“Because of human action, the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is reaching dangerous levels, driving Earth’s temperatures higher and amplifying the frequency of intensity of extreme events,” says the newly launched Human Climate Horizons platform.

Building on the analyses of 2020, 2021 and 2022 Human Development Reports - and fed by an evolving stream of frontier research - the data shows how climate change can impact people’s lives – from mortality to livelihoods, and energy use.

The data shows that climate change could increase mortality rates in Faisalabad, Pakistan by near 67 deaths per 100,000 population – causing more fatalities than strokes, the country’s third leading cause of death.

In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, however, higher incomes could keep the death toll to 35 per 100,000, which is still deadlier than Alzheimer’s disease – the sixth leading cause of death globally.

In Jakarta, for example, electricity consumption in response to warmer temperatures is projected to increase by roughly one-third of current household consumption in Indonesia. This will require critical additional infrastructure planning.

In Niamey, Niger, in sectors such as construction, mining and manufacturing, excessive heat was responsible for 36 fewer working hours annually, taking a 2.5 per cent toll on the country’s future GDP.