Fossil Fuel Impacts Push Millions Into Poverty, Raise African Death Rates
Two major new studies add to the indictment against fossil fuel use, linking it to hundreds of thousands of additional deaths each year in Africa, and to the impoverishment of as many as 122 million small-scale farmers worldwide by 2030.
Researchers at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Centre linked ground-level air pollution, “mostly caused by road transport, power generation, or industry,” to some 250,000 deaths per year in Africa—up by 36% from 1990—at an economic cost in 2013 of US$ 215 billion. Indoor air pollution from all sources, including open fires, killed an estimated 450,000 Africans in 2013, at an economic loss of US$232 billion in 2013.
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Globally, climate change driven by fossil fuel combustion could push millions more into “extreme poverty as a result of its impacts on small-scale farmers’ incomes,” The Guardian reports, citing the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s 2016 State of Food and Agriculture report. The report called climate change “a major and growing threat to global food security” that could add between 35 and 122 million more people to the global population living in extreme poverty by 2030.
“Farming communities in sub-Saharan Africa,” the paper added, will be “among the hardest hit.”
A study earlier this year that modeled the consequences of rising food prices resulting from climate change-driven impacts to agriculture and other environmental stresses found that China, India, and Africa would see the harshest economic effects.