Policy Discussion Paper, November 2007

Integrating Development in Climate Change.

Human-induced climate change is now well recognized as a physical and global reality. Global warming associated with climate change has begun to affect global weather patterns, sea levels, snow cover, ice sheets and rainfall. Regional climate patterns shifts are already affecting watersheds and ecosystems all over the world. The human and financial costs to countries of coping with extreme weather events, crop failures and other emergencies related to climate are growing higher. Developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), who are already facing difficulties in alleviating poverty as a result of their economic situation, are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

Unless current rates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are drastically cut and reversed, global average temperatures will rise by at least 2C by 2050, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This will result in, among others, the creation of hundreds of millions of environmental refugees mostly from developing countries, acute water shortages of large proportions of the global population (again mostly in developing countries), food shortages as agricultural production goes down all over the world, sea level rise of at least 1 meter1, and the extinction of a third of the world’s species. Even before that, the expected 1C rise by 2020 and the 1.3C rise by 2025 will already have devastating impacts on the lives and livelihood of people, especially the poor and especially in developing countries.

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