Thursday, 29 November 2007 3:38 PM

Report Urges World Focus on Impact of Climate Change

The world should focus on the development impact of climate change that could bring unprecedented reversals in poverty reduction, nutrition, health and education, the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Report warns.

The warning comes amidst governments preparing to gather in Bali, Indonesia, in December to discuss the future of the Kyoto Protocol.

The report 'Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world' provides a stark account of the threat posed by the global warming.

It argues that the world is drifting towards a "tipping point" that could lock the world's poorest countries and their poorest citizens in a downward spiral, leaving hundreds of millions facing malnutrition, water scarcity, ecological threats and a loss of livelihoods.

The UNDP Administrator, Kemal Davis, said that ultimately, climate change is a threat to humanity as a whole.

But he said that it is the poor, a constituency with no responsibility for the ecological debt we are running up, who face the immediate and most severe human costs.

The report has come at a key moment in negotiations to forge a multilateral agreement for the period after 2012, which is the expiry date for the current commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

On mitigation, the authors call on developed countries to demonstrate leadership by cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% of 1990 levels by 2050.

The report advocates a mix of carbon taxation, more stringent cap-and-trade programmes, energy regulation and international cooperation on financing low-carbon technology transfer.

The report also warns that inequalities in ability to cope with climate change are emerging as an increasingly powerful driver of wider inequalities between and within countries.

It also calls on rich countries to put climate change adaptation at the center of international partnerships on poverty reduction.

The lead author, Mr. Kevin Watkins, commented that they are issuing a call to action and not providing a counsel of despair.

"Working together with resolve, we can win the battle against climate change," he said.

Mr. Watkins added that allowing the window of opportunity to close would represent a moral and political failure without precedent in human history.

He described the Bali talks as a unique opportunity to put the interests of the world's poor at the heart of climate change negotiations.