A draft report prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – an international organization affiliated with the United Nations – and obtained by Agence France-Presse, warned that tens of millions of people will suffer from famine, drought and disease within decades, in the framework of the catastrophic consequences of climate warming on the world. human health.
After a year in which the Corona epidemic turned the world upside down, the draft report prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and seen by Agence France-Presse, comes to provide a tragic vision for the coming decades with malnutrition, water insecurity and epidemics.
Policy choices, such as promoting plant-based diets, can reduce these health consequences; But many of these consequences simply cannot be avoided in the short term, according to the report.
The report warns of ripple effects such as damaged crops, lower nutritional values in staple foods and higher inflation, which are likely to hit the most vulnerable among humans.
Betting on human maturity
Depending on how well humans manage to reduce carbon emissions and curb global warming, a child born today may face several health threats before his 30th birthday, the report reveals.
The 4,000-page IPCC report, co-authored by more than 700 researchers, provides the most comprehensive picture yet of the effects of climate change on our planet and the organisms that live on it, and is due for publication next year. The report predicts that an additional 80 million people will face the risk of starvation in 2050.
It is also expected that water supplies will be disrupted, leading to a decline in the harvests of rain-fed crops throughout sub-Saharan Africa. 40% of India’s rice-producing areas could become less suitable for this type of cultivation.
Global maize production has already fallen by 4% since 1981; Due to climate change, and warming in West Africa, sorghum and sorghum yields decreased by 20 and 15%, respectively. The sudden decline in food production has increased steadily over the past 50 years.
“The sustainability of the foundations of our health depends on 3 pillars: the food we eat, access to water and shelter,” Maria Naira, director of public health and the environment at the World Health Organization, told AFP. French.
The report notes that the impact of climate warming does not only affect the availability of major crops; But also the nutritional values of these crops.
It is expected that the proportion of protein in rice, wheat, barley and potatoes, for example, by 6 to 14%, putting about 150 million people at risk of protein deficiency.
Also, essential nutrients, which are already lacking in many diets in the poorest countries, are expected to decline with rising temperatures.
The report expects that extreme weather events, which have become more frequent due to warming, will affect wheat production in many regions.
With diminishing crops and increasing demand for biofuels and carbon dioxide-absorbing forests, by 2050 food prices are expected to rise by about a third, pushing an additional 183 million people on low incomes to the brink of chronic famine.
In Asia and Africa, 10 million children will suffer from malnutrition and stunting by mid-century, exposing a new generation to lifelong health problems, despite greater social and economic development.
As with other impacts of climate change, the consequences will not be equal for humans, as the draft notes that 80% of the population at risk of hunger live in Africa and Southeast Asia.
“We’re going to see hot spots emerge,” said Elizabeth Robinson, professor of environmental economics at the University of Reading. “If we match the areas where people are currently suffering from starvation and the areas where crops are expected to be affected by the climate, we see that these are the same areas that are currently experiencing high malnutrition,” she added.
Water crisis on the horizon
And it doesn’t stop there. The report lays out in clear terms the potential fate awaiting millions of people who will face problems accessing drinking water due to climate change.
Currently, more than half of the world’s population suffers from water insecurity, and the effects of climate will undoubtedly exacerbate this situation.
The report says research on water supply, agriculture and sea-level rise shows that 30 to 140 million people are likely to be internally displaced in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America by 2050.
Up to three-quarters of the highly exploited aquifers, as the main source of drinking water for 2.5 billion people, could become scarce by mid-century.
The report noted that the rapid melting of glaciers has “severely affected the water cycle”, a main resource for two billion people, and may “cause or exacerbate tensions over water resources.”
While the economic cost of climate impacts on water supplies varies by geographic region, global GDP is expected to shrink 0.5% by 2050.
“Water is one of the issues that our generation will face very soon,” said Neira. “There will be displacement and mass migration, and we have to address all of this as a global issue.”