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Climate Change can Raise Incidence of Disease: Expert

Sambalpur (Orissa), Climate change triggered by massive industrialisation will increase incidence of diseases like malaria, plague and dengue//, said a United States expert at a discussion organised by an Orissa-based NGO.

"There has been a trajectory change in the global climate compared to the pre-industrialised scenario and it will increase the prevalence of diseases like malaria, plague and dengue," said Daphne Wysham of the Institute of Policy Studies, USA, at the round table discussion organised by the Water Initiatives Orissa, Wednesday.

The US, which emits 25 percent of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGE) with just 4 percent of the globe's population, has been seeing many new viruses unheard of, Wysham added.

Global GHGE are continuing their steady climb to dangerous heights, with about 3 percent of the world's manmade GHGE coming from Orissa alone, said the expert who has been associated with the research papers "Destroying Orissa, Fueling Climate Change" and "Changing the Earth's Climate for Business".

"Orissa is the destination for the development of mining and power sectors as everything here is very cheap. However, this is definitely going to pose a serious threat to the environment as fossil fuel burned power plants will lead to climate change," she warned.

Wysham charged the World Bank of creating a powerful magnet for chronically polluting and energy-intensive industries in Orissa and cautioned about the impact of the coal-fired power sector.

She was also critical of the growing number of aluminum smelting plants and its consequences.

The intensity and frequency of droughts, storms, floods and erratic weather will grow with serious economic consequences, particularly for the poorest who are generally unable to insure themselves or build dwellings to resist severe weather, she said.

Wysham accused the G-8 countries of saying one thing and doing another when it came to GHGE and climate change.

It was time to fall back on renewable sources of energy for sustained development of India, Wysham added.

Saying that the European Union had resolved to generate and use a minimum of 20 percent of their renewable energy by 2020 - which could go up to 40 percent - Wysham added that climate change was a strategic issue and a sustained threat which needed to be combated with the tapping of renewable energy.


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