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Climate change is causing premature human death on a huge scale – in the range of 300,000 deaths per year.

The death toll is described in a new report titled “Human Impact Report: Climate Change – The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis” issued by the Global Humanitarian Forum. The Forum’s President is Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General.

The report brings new attention to the climate crisis as the world prepares for the upcoming United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen to craft a post-Kyoto agreement for 2012 and beyond. The report states 325 million people are presently adversely affected by climate change, with an economic cost of $125 billion US per year.

By 2030, global deaths caused by climate change will reach almost half a million annually. A further 660 million people will be negatively affected and the economic cost of climate change will rise to an estimated at $340 billion US a year. The bulk of those distressed will be in developing countries.

Talks are currently underway in Bonn, Germany until June 12 to prepare the international community for the Copenhagen conference.

CUPE National Environment Committee Co-chair Robert Coelho described the climate crisis as, “An immediate threat and that requires immediate action. I urge all CUPE members to take action to reduce their harmful impact on the environment on Clean Air Day and every day.”

The sobering report from the Global Humanitarian Forum helps centre our attention squarely on the environment. Today is Clean Air Day, a day for all CUPE members to take action to reduce their negative impact on the environment at home, work and in our communities.

CUPE has launched a new series of Go Green video clips where members pledge environmental commitments.

This Clean Air Day, make your pledge to Go Green and help turn the tide of human destruction linked to climate change.