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The equivalent of the combined populations of Cork, Limerick and Galway cities die every year as a result of factors relating to climate change. As world leaders meet in Rio this week to discuss sustainable development, they must put aside short-term political concerns and start addressing the long-term risk to life on this planet.
It’s time we all got real about climate change. It isn’t an abstract scientific notion – it is a very real threat to the future of life on this planet and poor people in developing countries are already being hit hardest. Global figures indicate that over 300,000 people around the world die each year from climate change-related issues and that figure is expected to rise to 500,000 by 2030. What will it take before the world faces up to tackling the challenges of climate change?
Attempts to reduce poverty around the world are being fundamentally undermined by climate change, yet the world appears unwilling to respond with the urgency that is required. This problem simply cannot be ignored any longer.
We are today launching the results of a two-year research project into the impact of climate change on communities in four countries: Kenya, Malawi, Honduras and Bolivia.
What we have found is shocking. Our research reaffirms the fact that poverty and hunger are being intensified by rises in temperature and increases in drought and storms. Farms are being forced to cut their livestock numbers and in many cases move out of farming altogether.
This research highlights the fact that the people being hit hardest by climate change are the people with the least ability to respond. The impacts of climate change are being felt around the world but it is the poorest people on the planet who are being hit hardest.