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Report: Climate Change Causes 300,000 Deaths Yearly Already

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LONDON — Climate-change disasters kill around 300,000 people a year and cause about $125 billion in economic losses, mainly from agriculture, a think-tank led by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan reported Friday.

The Global Humanitarian Forum also estimated that 325 million people are seriously affected by climate change _ a number it says will double by 2030, as more people are hit by natural disasters or suffer environmental degradation caused by climate change.

"Climate change is a silent human crisis," Annan said in a statement. "Yet it is the greatest emerging humanitarian challenge of our time."

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. It was released ahead of climate change talks in Bonn, Germany, next week, that are to lead to a possible new global treaty on cutting greenhouse gas emissions in Copenhagen in December.

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