Governments warned that global warming will hit poorest hard

By staff writers
5 Feb 2007

The UK-based international development agency Christian Aid has warned governments world-wide, and especially the British government, that poor countries will be hit worst global warming and will struggle to adapt to the impact of climate change.

"Poor people will not be able to cope with a three degree centigrade temperature increase by the end of the century ¬?- the rise predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Friday 2 February 2007)," declared Andrew Pendleton, the organisation's senior climate change analyst, responding to the major United Nations study.

He continued: "It would mean that millions of people in the developing world would be forced to abandon their farm land as climate change turns their once-fertile plots into desert."

"This level of migration off the land and the loss of coastal cities to rising sea levels will transform our planet in ways hard to imagine. The 0.8 degree centigrade rise we have seen during the past century is already bringing hunger, destitution and death to millions of the world's most vulnerable people." added Mr Pendleton.

He declared: "We have to commit now to staying within a temperature increase of two degrees. The IPCC's report makes having a global agreement on climate change not just an option but an absolute necessity. There is simply no time to lose. We must now work out how much each country can emit and cap their emissions. It can be done. We have the technology. We can't afford to waste any more time."

Christian Aid is also calling on industrialised counties, who produce most of the emissions, to compensate economically poorer countries to help them adapt and survive.

Mr Pendleton said that 40 billion US dollars per year, the upper end of the World Bank's estimate of the cost of adaptation in poor countries, should be taken as a starting point. He urged UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to take the lead in finding an adequate compensatory mechanism.

"This is not aid money, this is justice," Mr Pendleton said. "The rich world owes poor countries more money than we can count for causing this problem in the first place. It is truly outrageous that the industrialised world continues to pump greenhouse gases out into the atmosphere and then talks about only a few million pounds in handouts."

The role of China and India in the global struggle for environmental protection and anti-global warming action is also vital, say eco-activists.

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