A World Economic Forum (WEF) report, jointly compiled with consulting firm Oliver Wyman, highlights the grim impact of climate change, projecting an additional 14.5 million deaths and $12.5 trillion in global economic losses by 2050. The report is based on scenarios developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, focusing on the trajectory of the planet's rising average temperature (2.5 to 2.9 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels).
The study identifies six major consequences of climate change: floods, droughts, heatwaves, tropical storms, wildfires, and rising sea levels. Floods are projected to be the highest acute risk of climate-induced mortality, causing an estimated 8.5 million deaths by 2050. Droughts follow as the second leading cause, expected to claim 3.2 million lives.
Economically, heatwaves are anticipated to cause the most significant losses, totaling an estimated $7.1 trillion by 2050. The report emphasizes that the climate crisis will exacerbate global health inequality, disproportionately impacting vulnerable populations. Regions with limited resources, such as Africa and southern Asia, are expected to remain particularly vulnerable due to challenges like insufficient infrastructure and essential medical equipment.
The WEF calls for decisive and strategic action from global stakeholders to reduce emissions and mitigate the negative health impacts of climate change. Shyam Bishen, head of the Centre for Health and Healthcare and a member of the Executive Committee at the WEF, emphasized the need for improved emission reduction measures and global actions to build climate-resilient and adaptable health systems. The report underscores the urgency of addressing climate change to safeguard both public health and the global economy.
(With Agency Inputs)