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Climate Change Is The Biggest Global Health Threat

Ministers’ Summit paves way for Copenhagen deal

Nov 11, 2009

Climate change is already resulting in an annual death toll equivalent to the Boxing Day tsunami, warned Fiona Jeffery, chairman of World Travel Market, the premier global event for the travel industry.

Quoting figures from the Global Humanitarian Forum, she said climate change accounts for more than 300,000 deaths each year.

With the crucial UN climate change conference starting in Copenhagen on December 7, today’s UNWTO Ministers’ Summit at World Travel Market is vital, Jeffery said.

“It’s a last chance to discuss these critical issues and to help governments prepare to address the pressing challenges of climate change and its disastrous affects on travel and tourism,” explained Jeffery.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that the eyes of the industry - and the world - will be waiting with baited breath to see the outcome.

“Failure is not an option but, from all that I have read and know, the outcome at this moment, is far from certain.”

A report commissioned by University College London and the Lancet has concluded that climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century and that the poor will be the worst affected.

Jeffery pointed to the Maldives and Antarctica as two regions under threat from global warming, which could see sea levels rise by a meter within the next century.

“International travel and tourism is beginning to take responsibility and making real efforts to improve its sustainability, not only for our sakes but that of future generations,” added Jeffery.

World Travel Market’s summit for ministers and its World Responsible Tourism Day are part of that commitment to sustainability.

“Paradise countries like the Maldives could indeed be lost forever,” said Jeffery. “So I do hope that the time spent here today at the UNWTO Ministers’ Summit is well spent, because there is little doubt, that time, is running out.”

Ministers’ Summit paves way for Copenhagen deal
A future we do not want - Manhattan underwater. / Image via


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