29 May 2009:
Study Claims 300,000 Deaths
Attributable to Global Warming Each Year
A controversial study claims that global warming already is causing 300,000 deaths and $125 billion in economic losses annually
. The report, issued by the Global Humanitarian Forum — an organization headed by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan —attributed most of the supposed climate-related deaths to worsening floods and droughts in the developing world. The study also said that rising temperatures were causing increased mortality in poor nations from malnutrition, spreading malaria, diarrheal diseases, and heat-related ailments. Some scientists, however, are questioning the reliability of the study, saying it did not distinguish between deaths related to global warming and those related to other causes, such as overpopulation and poor health care. Still, experts who vetted the report — including Jeffrey D. Sachs, head of Columbia University’s Earth Institute — said the study is important because it draws attention to the growing threat climate change poses to people in the developing world.
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Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
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The Warriors of Qiugang
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A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.