Focus on Climate Change

December 2009

Facts and Figures

Floods in Dhaka, Bangladesh / WFPFloods in Dhaka, Bangladesh / WFP

Developing countries, and the poorest people who live in them, are the most vulnerable to climate change – UNDP

Since 1975, twenty three mega disasters killed 1.7 million people, mainly in developing countries.

Nearly one billion Africans account for 4% of global greenhouse gases while 30 million Texans create the same amount. – African Union report

When Christopher Columbus landed in Hispaniola in 1492, 80 % of the land was forest. Today it has been reduced to 7 % in the same region.


The effects of widespread drought in Kenya / NASAThe effects of widespread drought in Kenya / NASA

More than five million people die from waterborne diseases each year, 10 times the number killed in wars around the globe.

One third of the world’s population lives in water stressed countries and more than one billion people do not have a UN recommended 50 litres of water a day for drinking, washing, cooking and sanitation.

The mortality risk from tropical cyclones is 200 times higher in low income countries than in developed countries.

One sixth of the world’s population is so poor, it produces no significant gas emissions at all. – The Guardian newspaper


The effects of forest fires in Indonesia / JICA file photoThe effects of forest fires in Indonesia / JICA file photo

An estimated 842 million people, mostly in sub-Sahara Africa, do not have enough to eat. Hunger and malnutrition kill some 10 million people a year.

Nearly one third of the world’s population has no electricity or other modern energy supplies and another one-third have only limited access.

Agriculture absorbs 70% of the world’s water consumption. It takes 15 cubic meters of water to produce one kilo of grain fed beef which is eaten mainly in developed countries.


Villagers await emergency supplies after widespread flooding in Mozambique / WFPVillagers await emergency supplies after widespread flooding in Mozambique / WFP

Natural disasters and environmental degradation, often caused by climate change, may displace 50 million people in coming years.

The World Commission on Water estimated an additional US$100 billion a year will be needed to tackle water scarcities.

Many disasters are climate related, particularly floods, typhoons and cyclones. – IPPC report

*sources: UN agencies unless otherwise stated

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