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Children bear brunt of climate warming: report
April 5, 2007 / 11:03 PM / in 11 years

Children bear brunt of climate warming: report

LONDON (Reuters) - Children will increasingly bear the brunt of global warming, a report said on Friday, while another said the climate would continue to heat up in coming decades regardless of efforts to curb emissions of carbon gases.

<p>Children play with a cart as the sun sets on La Boquita's beach, about 45 km (57 miles) south of Managua February 9, 2007. Children will increasingly bear the brunt of global warming, a report said on Friday, while another said the climate would continue to heat up in coming decades regardless of efforts to curb emissions of carbon gases. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas</p>

A third report, coming as scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finalize their analysis of what climate change will do to the planet this century, said business was already feeling its effects.

The Save the Children charity said up to 175 million children would be affected every year over the next decade by climate-related disasters like droughts, floods and storms.

This, it said, was 50 million a year more than in the 10 years to 2005. Being society’s vulnerable members, children would be hurt disproportionately, and millions more would be killed, forced from their homes or hit by hunger and disease.

“Children are already bearing the brunt of climate change and there will be millions more children caught up in climate-related natural disasters every year,” said Jasmine Whitbread, head of Save the Children UK.

Scientists predict global average temperatures will rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius this century, mainly due to burning fossil fuels for power and transport.

Business is already starting to feel adverse effects, according to another study on Friday by catastrophe risk modeling firm Risk Management Solutions.

It said financial losses from weather-related catastrophes had risen on average by two percent a year since the 1970s, and pointed to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“Wealthy developed countries have much greater means than poorer countries to deal with the increased costs of weather-related catastrophes and to adapt to the changing climate hazards,” said RMS research officer Robert Muir-Wood.

“However, even the wealthiest countries will find it a challenge to adapt quickly and effectively to the increased hazards posed by climate change,” he added.

Britain’s Environment Agency said in another report on Friday that because of the time delay in the warming effects of carbon gases in the atmosphere, temperatures would continue to rise for the next 40 years regardless of emissions curbs.

As a result, the country would have to pour resources into coping with events like flooding and torrential rain storms.

“Our present efforts to reduce emissions will prevent destabilization of the climate during the second half of the century,” Environment Agency chief Barbara Young said.

“But for now we need to adapt to changes that are for all practical purposes unavoidable and committed,” she added. “This means increased risk of flooding, coastal tide surges, water shortages and potential loss of biodiversity.”

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