Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Report: Climate Change Causes 300,000 Deaths Yearly Already

From the AP via the Huffington Post news wire:

The report suggests that rising sea levels, desertification and changing rainfall patterns are reducing many people's access to safe drinking water and food. This in turn increases diarrhea, malaria and malnutrition.

The report said 99 percent of all people who die due to climate-change related causes live in developing countries, even though those countries generate less than 1 percent of total emissions of greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.

The report used existing data on weather-related disasters, population trends and economic forecasts to draw its conclusions.

More here.

I suppose this could have been alternatively titled "Fuck You, Third World."

Indeed, it was long ago predicted that the poorest and most vulnerable populations would be the first to suffer from the catastrophic effects of global warming, which is a no-brainer, I suppose, when you think about it for, like, five seconds. Nonetheless, this comes as a surprise. I've been so caught up in the notion for so many years that global warming is something that's going to happen in the future, that it takes me aback somewhat to realize that global warming is something that's happening right now.

But because its effects are hitting developing nations first, it pretty much continues to feel like global warming is a phenomenon of the future. That is, the third world has always been invisible to us. The US ruling establishment, which includes our elected leaders, bureaucrats, concentrations of vast wealth, and the corporate news media, just don't give a fuck about poor people, especially when they have black or brown skins. And because the ruling establishment provides our window to the world, we tend to see only what they care about. So the third world is, by and large, invisible.

And that's a damned shame, generally speaking. But it might now be rising above "damned shame" to straight-up damnation. Seeing how global warming is already killing hundreds of thousands every year might wake us out of our national stupor on the issue, allowing us to go beyond irresponsible arguments about whether climate change is actually happening and into hardcore planning for what to do about it.

You know, I'm increasingly amazed that we're not all dead yet.