Developed countries must address global warming to prevent disease, hunger in developing world

Pollution from the world's wealthiest countries is spreading disease and hunger in developing countries, according to a new Oxfam International report, which calls on developed countries to address global warming when G8 leaders meet in Italy, the Globe and Mail reports.

The report, titled "Suffering the Science: Climate Change, People and Poverty," says, "It is in the tropics where the bulk of humanity lives - many of them in poverty - that climate change is hitting now and hitting hardest" (Bailey, 7/6). 

Shifting seasons are destroying harvests resulting in widespread hunger, according to the report, which warns that multiple climate effects could reverse 50 years of work to end poverty, Xinhua reports. The report, which "combines the latest scientific observations on climate change, and evidence from the communities Oxfam works with in almost 100 countries around the world," predicts that by 2020, maize yields will drop by 15 percent or more in much of sub-Saharan Africa and in most of India, Xinhua writes (Ooko, 7/6).

"Rice, another staple, is also expected to drop in yield in southern countries because of unexpected weather patterns," the Telegraph reports (Gray, 7/6).

"Without international funding to help them cope and tough targets for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, the food, water, health and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of the world's poorest people will be put at even greater risk," Reuters/Mail & Guardian writes (Nyakairu, 7/5).

According to an Oxfam release, diseases such as malaria and dengue fever that were once "geographically bound" are now found in new areas where populations "lack immunity or the knowledge and healthcare infrastructure to cope with them" (7/6).

Oxfam recommends that by 2020, industrialized countries cut their emissions by at least 40 percent from 1990 levels and allocate $150 billion per year to fund emissions reduction and adaptation in developing countries, Xinhua reports. Oxfam International Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs said G8 leaders "must take personal responsibility for delivering a global climate deal which has the needs of the world's poorest people at the heart" (7/6).

Kaisernetwork.orgThis article is republished with kind permission from our friends at The Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery of in-depth coverage of health policy developments, debates and discussions. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Copyright 2009 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.


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