A report released on Tuesday at Davos warns that climate change could result in millions of deaths, widespread illnesses, and substantial healthcare expenses in the coming decades. The World Economic Forum (WEF) identifies flooding as the most significant risk, examining six key consequences: floods, droughts, heatwaves, tropical storms, forest fires, and rising sea levels.
The study is grounded in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) medium scenario for a 2.7-degree Celsius temperature increase by 2100. The report suggests that climate change might lead to 14.5 million deaths globally by 2050, with healthcare systems facing additional costs of $1.1 trillion.
Estimates indicate that flooding alone could cause 8.5 million deaths by 2050, impacting crops, increasing infectious diseases, and elevating humidity. The Asia-Pacific region, with its densely populated coastal areas, is expected to bear the greatest impact.
Droughts are anticipated to cause the second-highest mortality rate, with 3.2 million deaths, primarily due to declining water quality and less fertile soils affecting child mortality. Heatwaves could result in around 1.6 million lives lost by 2050, particularly among older individuals, leading to increased illnesses and occupational disability cases.
The report also highlights the potential spread of diseases like malaria, dengue fever, and Zika infections in Europe and the U.S. due to warmer temperatures and mosquito proliferation. However, the study emphasizes that Africa, the Middle East, and Asia would be disproportionately affected by the health consequences of climate change. These findings will be discussed at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday.