COP22: Climate Change Claimed More Than 530,000 Lives in Past 20 Years, New Report Shows

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Water Journalists Africa
November 8, 2016

Africa is the continent that was hit hardest by extreme weather events in 2015.

According to the 12th edition of the Global Climate Risk Index, four out of the ten most impacted countries globally are African: Mozambique (Rank 1), Malawi (Rank 3), Ghana and Madagascar (both Rank 8).

The Global Climate Risk Index 2017 is published at the outset of this year’s climate summit in Marrakech, Morocco.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa and COP22 President Salaheddine Mezouar addressing the opening press conference on November 6 in Bab Ighli before the official kick-off to the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22).
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa and COP22 President Salaheddine Mezouar addressing the opening press conference on November 6 in Bab Ighli before the official kick-off to the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22).

“Especially flooding affected the hosting continent of this year’s climate summit”, says Germanwatch’s Sönke Kreft, main author of the Index.

Heat waves claimed most lives last year. More than 4,300 deaths in India and more than 3,300 deaths in France show that both developing and developed countries are impacted by extraordinary temperatures.

Kreft: “Increases in heavy precipitation, flooding and heatwaves are to be expected in a warming world.”

People are suffering from lack of protection and insufficient disaster management especially in poor countries, says Kreft.

“The distribution of climatic events is not fair. In our 20 year analysis of weather extremes nine out of the ten most affected countries are developing countries in the ‘low’ or ‘lower-middle’ income category.
These are mostly countries with very low emissions, which are least responsible for climate change.”

The hardest hit countries in the period 1996-2015 were Honduras, Myanmar and Haiti.

From 1996 to 2015, there were more than 530,000 deaths caused by more than 11,000 extreme weather events, as well as nearly 3.3 trillion US-Dollars (in Purchasing Power Parities, PPP) in damages.

Kreft adds: “The results of the Global Climate Risk Index remind us of the importance to support resilience policy, to mitigate the negative effects of climatic events on people and countries”.

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