Human Development Report 2007/2008: Fighting climate change: by United Nations Development Programme

By United Nations Development Programme

This year's Human improvement file explains why now we have below a decade to alter direction and begin dwelling inside of our international carbon finances, and the way weather swap will create long-run low human improvement traps, pushing weak humans right into a downward spiral of deprivation.

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Extra resources for Human Development Report 2007/2008: Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world

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H U M A N D E V E L O P M E N T R E P O R T 2 0 0 7/ 2 0 0 8 But at least the political debate is now rooted in scientific evidence. The problem is that there is a large gap between scientific evidence and political action. So far most governments have been failing the test on climate change mitigation. Most have responded to the recently released Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) by recognizing that the evidence on climate change is “unequivocal” and that urgent action is needed.

However, even if we stopped all emissions tomorrow the stocks would fall only very slowly. The reason: once emitted CO2 stays in the atmosphere a long time and climate systems respond slowly. This inertia built into the system means that there is a long time-lag between today’s carbon mitigation and tomorrow’s climate outcomes. The window of opportunity for successful mitigation is closing. There is a limit to the amount of carbon dioxide that the Earth’s sinks can absorb without creating dangerous climate change effects—and we are nearing those limits.

This is an improvement over past delivery but still a fraction of what is required. It represents less than one-half of what the German state of Baden-Würtemberg will allocate to the strengthening of flood defences. It is not just the lives and the livelihoods of the poor that require protection through adaptation. Aid programmes are also under threat. We estimate that around one-third of current development assistance is concentrated in areas facing varying degrees of climate change risk. 5 billion.

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