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The WHO estimates that an additional 250,000 lives could be lost each year between 2030 and 2050 as a result of climate change. A third of them would come from malnutrition as agriculture suffers from droughts, a quarter from malaria which is expected to spread as malaria-carrying mosquitoes thrive in warmer temperatures, a fifth from diarrhoea, and the rest from illnesses caused by extreme heat. It says the poorer nations will be worst hit.
The WHO’s climate chief, Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, told the conference: ‘We know heatwaves kill people, we proved that in Europe in 2003. But what is currently considered a one-in-20-year event will become a one-in-five-year event, while the population that is most vulnerable to heatwaves – older people – is going up.’
The WHO estimates the health costs associated with climate change will be between €2.6bn and €5.2bn per year by 2030.