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U.N. Weather Agency Predicts Heightened Disease Spread With Rising Temps; Globe And Mail Examines Potential Health Effects Of Climate Change In Africa

The decade 2000-2009 “is very likely to be the warmest since record-keeping began in 1850, and 2009 could rank among the top-five warmest years,” the World Meteorological Organization said on Tuesday at the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen, the Associated Press reports. “Scientists say without an agreement to wean the world away from fossil fuels and other pollutants to greener sources of energy, the Earth will face the consequences of ever-rising temperatures: The extinction of plant and animals, the flooding of coastal cities, more extreme weather, more drought and the spread of diseases,” the news service writes (Hanley, 12/8).

In related news, the Globe and Mail examines how Africans are adapting to deal with the potential effects of climate change: “Studies suggest an additional 250 million Africans will be affected by water scarcity by 2025. Malnutrition will rise and armed conflicts will increase as Africans fight over scarce food. And an additional 90 million Africans will be exposed to malaria by 2030.”

The newspaper reports on a project, conducted with help from Canada’s International Development Research Centre that aims “to refine weather data to predict malaria” and “train health-care workers to prevent expected outbreaks by distributing mosquito nets and spraying mosquito breeding grounds.” The article also looks at how some agencies are helping farmers develop new farming techniques and encouraging them to diversify livestock to mitigate the effects of droughts and flooding (York, 12/8).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.