The biggest misery will be heaped on more than 50 of the world’s poorest countries, but the United States will pay the highest economic bill, it said
The study, compiled by a humanitarian research organisation and climate-vulnerable countries, assessed how 184 nations will be affected in four areas: health, weather disasters, the loss of human habitat through desertification and rising seas, and economic stress.
Those facing “acute” exposure are 54 poor or very poor countries, including India. They will suffer disproportionately to others, although they are least to blame for the man-made greenhouse gases that drive climate change, it said.
“Without corrective actions” a press release accompanying the study said, the world is “headed for nearly one million deaths every single year by 2030.”
More than half of the 157 billion dollars in economic losses, calculated in terms of today’s economy, will take place in industrialised countries, led by the United States, Japan and Germany.
Saleemul Huq, a researcher at a London-based thinktank, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), said the findings spelled out the need to start shoring up defenses against climate change now, rather than later.
“We are now entering into a highly vulnerable phase of our planet’s existence and humanity’s existence,” Huq told a press conference
Among the long list of problems they face is how to muster funds to tackle climate change – and decide how much of the money should be allocated for adapting to the threat, and how much to reduce carbon emissions. So far, adaptation has been given far less priority than emissions mitigation, say campaigners.
“When you know your car has a brake problem, you do not sit around and talk about it. You fix it immediately before the kids get in,” commented Wendel Trio of Greenpeace.
“No one escapes from the climate crisis, old or young, rich or poor, unless we all act together now.”
“People are complaining about the economic crisis we have right now? You ain’t seen nothing yet. You know, if we continue down this suicidal pathway where we basically turn living stuff into dead stuff and call that economic growth, this will look like the good old days.”
Founder, Green for All
“Energy, climate, food, population, economic pressures – any one of them might be very serious in itself. But, because they’re happening all simultaneously, it’s going to be very difficult for our leaders and our institutions and our governments to cope.”
“Until we have a crisis of some kind, I don’t think we’re going to be motivated to wake up and say, ‘Okay, now we have to change.'”
Thomas Homer Dixon,
Professor, Centre for Environment and Business, University of Waterloo
Here’s a three-point solution on how to solve some of the world’s problems and shift towards a healthy future.
1) Lessen demand for products that damage our health such as junk food, soft drinks and highly processed food. Lessen demand for products which use environmentally unsound and unsustainable manufacturing techniques.
2) Increase demand for products that are made sustainably and that contribute our health and the health of our planet.
3) Pressure governments to slowly work towards building a societal system that incorporates FREE, fast and accessible public transport, free health care system, free education and free energy. To pressure governments to keep the cost low for necessities such as milk, bread, vegetables and water. To pressure our governments to start using some of the billions they have to implement more clean energy in housing, communal electric cars that run off the sun, to grow enormous communal vegetable gardens, to support alternatives to plastics and to start reducing our reliance on oil.
We cannot continue to grow our economies based on manufacting junk that is giving us diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and many cancers. We don’t even know why asthma, allergies, autism and mental illness are on the rise but you can bet our lifestyle is to blame. We cannot continue to grow our economies by putting our money into products that are manufactured to the detriment of our environment by continually depleting the natural resources of our planet.
We CAN continue to grow our economies by supporting and putting our money into industries that are healthy and sustainable. When we reduce supporting some companies, we pave way for new responsible ones to begin to grow. Some will be borne and others will wither away.
We do need to spend and we will continue to, but we should be very careful which companies we choose to give our money to. We need to be careful in exactly what companies we support to grow with our future.
Human beings by nature don’t act until it’s almost too late. We tend to create big problems and then have to find the difficult solutions rather than taking preventative measures to avoid the problems in the first place. At what stage people stop simply being aware and start to act no one knows but let’s hope for all our sakes it’s sooner rather than later.
“Now we’re in a situation where, for the past few years, demand for oil globally has been rising. Demand is growing rapidly, but supply has leveled off. Supply of crude oil globally has not grown at all over the past three years. In that kind of situation, there’s only one place for prices to go, and that’s up.”
“We’ve built enormous cities in places where there’s in many cases no good agricultural land close by. The only way these cities can subsist is by continual importation of enormous amounts of food from long distances away. And, of course, those imports come by way of trucks, by rail, but ship and in some cases by airplane, all of those relying on diesel fuel or gasoline. As those fuels become more expensive, the whole system becomes more brittle.”
Richard Heinberg, Author, Peak Everything, in conversation with Michael Bicks for ABC News
“That perhaps is the saddest element coming out of this, which is the pace of change just doesn’t seem to be in keeping with the magnitude of the challenge.”
John Podesta, President Obama’s Transition Chief
Here is how many Earths we would need if everyone lived like a resident of the following countries, according to Global Footprint Network’s 2008 National Accounts.
• United States 4.5 Earths
• United Kingdom 3.1 Earths
• Germany 2.5 Earths
• Argentina 1.2 Earths
• Costa Rica 1.1 Earths
• South Africa 1.0 Earth
• India 0.4 Earths
(Source: Global Footprint Network, Media Backgrounder, 2008)
Clearly our current way of living, shopping and consuming is not sustainable.
Global warming (or climate change as they call it now) may or may not be a crock of sh*t. Climates tend to change and the globe has warmed before and will likely warm and cool again with or without our help.
What I do know is this. We need to live more responsibly and to better care for the world we live in. We’re not doing this adequately at the moment. We consume far too much because our society is structured on the basis that we work until we’re 55 or 60, save as much as we can and spend as much as we can buying things that society has geared us to think will make us happy.
Do the inhabitants of the developed world look happy to you? There is a ‘high’ after purchasing a new car, a new outfit or a new shinier, bigger TV but this high wears off. And then it’s onto saving for the next dangling carrot of consumer ‘happiness’.
Happiness comes from interacting with one another. Happiness comes from finding out what your path is and persuing it. Happiness comes from within. Happiness comes from evolving and learning as much as you can. Happiness comes from helping others. Happiness comes from creating – a well oiled imagination can create amazing things from nothing. Happiness does not come from TV. It does not come with your new outfit, a bigger house or your new car. Happiness does not come from porn sites, nor does it come from gambling, drugs or fame. Happiness does not come from money. Money tends to lead to the want of more products and then more money to purchase more products. Ask any affluent person on their deathbed. Most people realize this too late.
Techonlogy can be used wisely. We can use technology to automate mundane but necessary jobs. We can use technology to help us become a better race instead of just to ‘entertain’ us when inside we’re still bored. There are enough resources in this world to feed everyone. To educate everyone. To have a roof over everyone’s heads. For the world to use renewable, clean energy. For intelligent, accessible, free and fast public transport. EVERYTHING should be free and for EVERYONE.
Only then will we have no need for jails, crime, war, work, gambling, money, suicide or drugs. Everyone has immense and unique strengths and everyone CAN learn what their individual strengths are. Time should be spent learning from experience, sharing knowledge, helping each other, evolving, creating and dreaming up ways to better this world we live in. Time should be spent healing. It is this very society that has created many of the illnesses and diseases that we suffer from today, both mental and physical.
We are running out of resources. We are polluting, we are raping this earth of all it has. We start wars with our neighbors because we want what they have. And we’re never really happy. We’re bored, dull and listless. We have the common cold of the soul.
We never can be happy until we deliberately and consciously raise the vibrations of our actions. We must become better people. To the earth, to ourselves and to each other. We’ll get there eventually. The first step, is to realize that this way of life we are experiencing right now is NOT the program. Our governments will not save us – they created this mess. It is up to US to make change. We cannot wait for someone else to do it. If we just keep on shopping, watching mindless addictive TV and waiting for change, we are a sad race indeed. The decline will continue more and more rapidly and we will have no one to blame but ourselves.