Undp human development report fighting climate change

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  • 1. Copyright © 2007by the United Nations Development Programme1 UN Plaza, New York, New York, 10017, USAAll rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in aretrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission.ISBN 978-0-230-54704-9First Published in 2007 byPalgrave MacmillanHoundmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS and175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010Companies and representatives throughout the world.Palgrave Macmillan is the global academic imprint of the Palgrave Macmillan division ofSt. Martin’s Press, LLC and of Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.Macmillan is a registered trademark in the United States, United Kingdom, and other countries.Palgrave is a registered trademark in the European Union and other countries.10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1Printed in the U.S.A. by RR Donnelley/Hoechstetter (Pittsburgh). Cover is printed on International Paper’s 15 pt Carolinalow-density coated-one-side paper that is chlorine free and meets the Sustainable Forest Initiative guidelines.Text pages are printed on Cascades Mills’ 60# Rolland Opaque30 Smooth text that is de-inked 30% post-industrial fibre,Forest Stewardship Council certified and produced with Biogas energy. Both cover and text papers are printed with vegetable-based inks andproduced by means of environmentally-compatible technology. 30% Cert no. SCS-COC-00648Editing: Green Ink Inc.Cover: talking-boxInformation design: Mapping Worlds, Phoenix Design Aid and ZagoLayout: Phoenix Design AidFor a list of any errors or omissions found subsequent to printing, please visit ourwebsite at http://hdr.undp.org
  • 2. Team for the preparation ofHuman Development Report 2007/2008Director and lead authorKevin WatkinsResearch and statisticsCecilia Ugaz (Deputy Director and chief editor), Liliana Carvajal, Daniel Coppard, RicardoFuentes Nieva, Amie Gaye, Wei Ha, Claes Johansson, Alison Kennedy (Chief of Statistics),Christopher Kuonqui, Isabel Medalho Pereira, Roshni Menon, Jonathan Morse and Papa Seck.Production and translationCarlotta Aiello and Marta JaksonaOutreach and communicationsMaritza Ascencios, Jean-Yves Hamel, Pedro Manuel Moreno and Marisol Sanjines (Headof Outreach)The Human Development Report Office (HDRO): The Human Development Report isthe product of a collective effort. Members of the National Human Development Report Unit(NHDR) provide detailed comments and advice throughout the research process. They also link theReport to a global research network in developing countries. The NHDR team comprises SharmilaKurukulasuriya, Mary Ann Mwangi and Timothy Scott. The HDRO administrative team makesthe office function and includes Oscar Bernal, Mamaye Gebretsadik, Melissa Hernandez and FeJuarez-Shanahan. Operations are managed by Sarantuya Mend.
  • 3. ForewordWhat we do today about climate change has consequences that will last a century ormore. The part of that change that is due to greenhouse gas emissions is not revers-ible in the foreseeable future. The heat trapping gases we send into the atmospherein 2008 will stay there until 2108 and beyond. We are therefore making choicestoday that will affect our own lives, but even more so the lives of our children andgrandchildren. This makes climate change different and more difficult than otherpolicy challenges.Climate change is now a scientifically estab- the same effects of climate change, the threatlished fact. The exact impact of greenhouse gas of global warming could still lead to substantialemission is not easy to forecast and there is a lot damage to human well-being and prosperity byof uncertainty in the science when it comes to the end of this century.predictive capability. But we now know enough In reality, the world is a heterogeneous place:to recognize that there are large risks, poten- people have unequal incomes and wealth andtially catastrophic ones, including the melt- climate change will affect regions very differ-ing of ice-sheets on Greenland and the West ently. This is, for us, the most compelling reasonAntarctic (which would place many countries to act rapidly. Climate change is already startingunder water) and changes in the course of the to affect some of the poorest and most vulner-Gulf Stream that would bring about drastic cli- able communities around the world. A world-matic changes. wide average 3° centigrade increase (compared Prudence and care about the future of our to preindustrial temperatures) over the comingchildren and their children requires that we act decades would result in a range of localized in-now. This is a form of insurance against possibly creases that could reach twice as high in somevery large losses. The fact that we do not know locations. The effect that increased droughts,the probability of such losses or their likely exact extreme weather events, tropical storms and seatiming is not an argument for not taking insur- level rises will have on large parts of Africa, onance. We know the danger exists. We know the many small island states and coastal zones willdamage caused by greenhouse gas emissions is be inflicted in our lifetimes. In terms of aggre-irreversible for a long time. We know it is grow- gate world GDP, these short term effects maying with every day of inaction. not be large. But for some of the world’s poorest Even if we were living in a world where all people, the consequences could be apocalyptic.people had the same standard of living and were In the long run climate change is a mas-impacted by climate change in the same way, we sive threat to human development and in somewould still have to act. If the world were a sin- places it is already undermining the interna-gle country, with its citizens all enjoying simi- tional community’s efforts to reduce extremelar income levels and all exposed more or less to poverty. 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 v
  • 4. Violent conflicts, insufficient resources, lack While we pursue adaptation we must start of coordination and weak policies continue to to reduce emissions and take other steps at miti- slow down development progress, particularly gation so that the irreversible changes already in Africa. Nonetheless in many countries there underway are not further amplified over the have been real advances. For instance, Viet Nam next few decades. If mitigation does not start in has been able to halve poverty and achieve uni- earnest right now, the cost of adaptation twenty versal primary education way ahead of the 2015 or thirty years from now will become prohibi- target. Mozambique has also managed to signif- tive for the poorest countries. icantly reduce poverty and increase school en- Stabilizing greenhouse emissions to limit rollment as well as improving the rates of child climate change is a worthwhile insurance strat- and maternal mortality. egy for the world as a whole, including the rich- This development progress is increasingly est countries, and it is an essential part of our going to be hindered by climate change. So we overall fight against poverty and for the Millen- must see the fight against poverty and the fight nium Development Goals. This dual purpose of against the effects of climate change as interre- climate policies should make them a priority for lated efforts. They must reinforce each other and leaders around the world. success must be achieved on both fronts jointly. But having established the need for limiting Success will have to involve a great deal of ad- future climate change and for helping the most aptation, because climate change is still going vulnerable adapt to what is unavoidable, one has to affect the poorest countries significantly even to move on and identify the nature of the policies if serious efforts to reduce emissions start im- that will help us get the results we seek. mediately. Countries will need to develop their Several things can be said at the outset: own adaptation plans but the international First, non-marginal changes are needed, given community will need to assist them. the path the world is on. We need big changes Responding to that challenge and to the and ambitious new policies. urgent request from leaders in developing Second, there will be significant short term countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, costs. We have to invest in limiting climate UNEP and UNDP launched a partnership in change. There will be large net benefits over Nairobi during the last climate convention in time, but at the beginning, like with every in- November 2006. The two agencies commit- vestment, we must be willing to incur the costs. ted to provide assistance in reducing vulnera- This will be a challenge for democratic gover- bility and building the capacity of developing nance: political systems will have to agree to countries to more widely reap the benefits of pay the early costs to reap the long term gains. the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Leadership will require looking beyond elec- in areas such as the development of cleaner toral cycles. and renewable energies, climate proofing and We are not too pessimistic. In the fight fuel-switching schemes. against the much higher inflation rates of the This partnership, that will enable the UN distant past, democracies did come up with the system to act promptly in response to the needs institutions such as more autonomous central of governments trying to factor in climate- banks and policy pre-commitments that al- change impacts into their investment decisions, lowed much lower inflation to be achieved de- constitutes a living proof of the United Nation’s spite the short term temptations of resorting to determination to ‘deliver as One’ on the climate the printing press. The same has to happen with change challenge. For example, we can help climate and the environment: societies will have countries improve existing infrastructure to to pre-commit and forego short term gratifica- enable people to cope with increased flooding tion for longer-term well being. and more frequent and severe extreme weather We would like to add that while the transi- events. More weather resistant crops could also tion to climate protecting energy and life styles be developed. will have short term cost, there may be eco-vi 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
  • 5. nomic benefits beyond what is achieved by sta- well as environmentalists than what we havebilizing temperatures. These benefits are likely seen so far. We do hope that this Human De-to be realized through Keynesian and Schum- velopment Report will contribute to such apeterian mechanisms with new incentives for dialogue.massive investment stimulating overall demand The most difficult policy challenges willand creative destruction leading to innovation relate to distribution. While there is potentialand productivity jumps in a wide array of sec- catastrophic risk for everyone, the short and me-tors. It is impossible to quantitatively predict dium-term distribution of the costs and bene-how large these effects will be but taking them fits will be far from uniform. The distributionalinto account could lead to higher benefit-cost challenge is made particularly difficult becauseratios for good climate policies. those who have largely caused the problem— The design of good policies will have to be the rich countries—are not going to be thosemindful of the danger of excessive reliance on who suffer the most in the short term. It is thebureaucratic controls. While government leader- poorest who did not and still are not contrib-ship is going to be essential in correcting the huge uting significantly to green house gas emissionsexternality that is climate change, markets and that are the most vulnerable. In between, manyprices will have to be put to work, so that private middle income countries are becoming signifi-sector decisions can lead more naturally to opti- cant emitters in aggregate terms—but they domal investment and production decisions. not have the carbon debt to the world that the Carbon and carbon equivalent gases have to rich countries have accumulated and they arebe priced so that using them reflects their true still low emitters in per capita terms. We mustsocial cost. This should be the essence of mitiga- find an ethically and politically acceptable pathtion policy. The world has spent decades getting that allows us to start—to move forward evenrid of quantity restrictions in many domains, if there remains much disagreement on the longnot least foreign trade. This is not the time to term sharing of the burdens and benefits. Wecome back to a system of massive quotas and bu- should not allow distributional disagreementsreaucratic controls because of climate change. to block the way forward just as we cannot af-Emission targets and energy efficiency targets ford to wait for full certainty on the exact pathhave an important role to play but it is the price climate change is likely to take before we startsystem that has to make it easier to achieve our acting. Here too we hope this Human Develop-goals. This will require a much deeper dialogue ment Report will facilitate the debate and allowbetween economists and climate scientists as the journey to start.Kemal Derviş Achim SteinerAdministrator Executive DirectorUnited Nations Development Programme United Nations Environment ProgrammeThe analysis and policy recommendations of the Report do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations DevelopmentProgramme, its Executive Board or its Member States. The Report is an independent publication commissioned by UNDP. Itis the fruit of a collaborative effort by a team of eminent consultants and advisers and the Human Development Report team.Kevin Watkins, Director of the Human Development Report Office, led the effort. 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 vii
  • 6. Acknowledgements This Report could not have been prepared without the generous contribution of the many individuals and organizations listed below. Special mention must be made of Malte Meinshausen of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who provided constant and patient advice on a wide range of technical issues. Many other individuals contributed to the Report either directly through background papers, comments on draft text, and discussions, or indirectly through their research. The authors wish also to acknowledge their debt to the fourth assess- ment of the International Panel on Climate Change, which provides an unrivalled source of scientific evidence, and to the work of Sir Nicholas Stern and the team behind his Report on The Economics of Climate Change. Many colleagues in the United Nations system were extremely generous in sharing their time, expertise and ideas. The Human Development Report team received helpful advice from the UNDP Administrator, Kemal Derviş. We thank all of those involved directly or indirectly in guiding our efforts, while acknowledging sole responsibility for errors of commission and omission. Contributors Leiserowitz, Junfeng Li, Yan Li, Yue Li, Background studies, papers and notes were Peter Linguiti, Gordon MacKerron, Andrew prepared on a wide range of thematic issues Marquard, Ritu Mathur, Malte Meinshausen, relating to the Report. Contributors were: Anu Mark Misselhorn, Sreeja Nair, Peter Newell, Adhikari, Mozaharul Alam, Sarder Shafiqul Anthony Nyong, David Ockwell, Marina Alam, Juan Carlos Arredondo Brun, Vicki Olshanskaya, Victor A. Orindi, James Painter, Arroyo, Albertina Bambaige, Romina Bandura, Peter D. Pederson, Serguey Pegov, Renat Perelet, Terry Barker, Philip Beauvais, Suruchi Bhadwal, Alberto Carillo Pineda, Vicky Pope, Golam Preety Bhandari, Isobel Birch, Maxwell Rabbani, Atiq Rahman, Mariam Rashid, Boykoff, Karen O’Brien, Oli Brown, Odón Bimal R. Regmi, Hannah Reid, J. Timmons de Buen, Peter Chaudhry, Pedro Conceição, Roberts, Greet Ruysschaert, Boshra Salem, Pilar Cornejo, Caridad Canales Dávila, Simon Jürgen Schmid, Dana Schüler, Rory Sullivan, D. Donner, Lin Erda, Alejandro de la Fuente, Erika Trigoso Rubio, Md. Rabi Uzzaman, Richard Grahn, Michael Grimm, Kenneth Giulio Volpi, Tao Wang, James Watson, Harald Harttgen, Dieter Helm, Caspar Henderson, Winkler, Mikhail Yulkin and Yanchun Zhang. Mario Herrero, Saleemul Huq, Ninh Nguyen Several organizations generously shared Huu, Joseph D. Intsiful, Katie Jenkins, their data and other research materials: Agence Richard Jones, Ulka Kelkar, Stephan Klasen, Française de Développement; Amnesty Arnoldo Matus Kramer, Kishan Khoday, International; Carbon Dioxide Information Roman Krznaric, Robin Leichenko, Anthony and Analysis Center; Caribbean Communityviii 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
  • 7. Secretariat; Center for International advisory panel of experts. The panel comprisedComparisons of Production, Income and Prices Monique Barbut, Alicia Bárcena, Fatih Birol,at the University of Pennsylvania; Development Yvo de Boer, John R. Coomber, Mohammed T.Initiatives; Department for International El-Ashry, Paul Epstein, Peter T. Gilruth, JoséDevelopment; Environmental Change Institute Goldemberg, HRH Crown Prince Haakon,at Oxford University; European Commission; Saleem Huq, Inge Kaul, Kivutha Kibwana,Food and Agriculture Organization; Global Akio Morishima, Rajendra Pachauri, JiahuaEnvironment Facility; Global IDP Project; IGAD Pan, Achim Steiner, HRH Princess BasmaClimate Prediction and Applications Centre; Bint Talal, Colleen Vogel, Morris A. Ward,Institute of Development Studies; International Robert Watson, Ngaire Woods and Stephen E.Centre for Prison Studies; Internally Displaced Zebiak. An advisory panel on statistics madeMonitoring Centre; International Research an invaluable contribution, in particular TomInstitute for Climate and Society; International Griffin, the Report’s Senior Statistical Advisor.Energy Agency; International Institute for The panel members are: Carla Abou-Zahr,Environment and Development; International Tony Atkinson, Haishan Fu, Gareth Jones,Institute for Strategic Studies; International Ian D. Macredie, Anna N. Majelantle, JohnLabour Organization; International Monetary Male-Mukasa, Marion McEwin, FrancescaFund; International Organization for Migration; Perucci, Tim Smeeding, Eric Swanson, PervezInternational Telecommunication Union; Inter- Tahir and Michael Ward. The team is gratefulParliamentary Union; Joint United Nations to Partha Deb, Shea Rutstein and MichaelProgramme on HIV/AIDS; Luxembourg Income Ward who reviewed and commented on anStudy; Macro International; Organisation for HDRO analysis of risk and vulnerability andEconomic Co-operation and Development; lent their statistical expertise.Overseas Development Institute; Oxfam; PewCenter for Climate Change; Practical Action ConsultationsConsulting; Stockholm International Peace Members of the Human Development ReportResearch Institute; Stockholm International team benefited individually and collectivelyWater Institute; Tata Energy Research Institute; from a wide-ranging process of consultation.Met Office; United Nations Children’s Fund; Participants in a Human DevelopmentUnited Nations Conference on Trade and Network discussion provided some wide-Development; United Nations Department of ranging insights and observations on theEconomic and Social Affairs, Statistics Division linkages between climate change and humanand Population Division; United Nations development. The Report team wishes also toDevelopment Fund for Women; United thank Neil Adger, Keith Allott, Kristin Averyt,Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Armando Barrientos, Haresh Bhojwani, PaulOrganization, Institute for Statistics; United Bledsoe, Thomas A. Boden, Keith Briffa, NickNations High Commissioner for Refugees; Brooks, Katrina Brown, Miguel Ceara-Hatton,United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Fernando Calderón, Jacques Charmes, LarsTreaty Section; United Nations Office of Legal Christiansen, Kirsty Clough, Stefan Dercon,Affairs; University of East Anglia; WaterAid; Jaime de Melo, Stephen Devereux, NikyWorld Bank; World Health Organization; Fabiancic, Kimberley Fisher, Lawrence Flint,World Meteorological Organization; World Claudio Forner, Jennifer Frankel-Reed, RalphTrade Organization; World Intellectual Friedlaender, Oscar Garcia, Stephen Gitonga,Property Organization and the World Wildlife Heather Grady, Barbara Harris-White, MollyFund. E. Hellmuth, John Hoddinott, Aminul Islam, Tarik-ul-Islam, Kareen Jabre, FortunatAdvisory Panel Joos, Mamunul Khan, Karoly Kovacs, DianaThe Report benefited greatly from intellectual Liverman, Lars Gunnar Marklund, Charlesadvice and guidance provided by an external McKenzie, Gerald A. Meehl, Pierre Montagnier, 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 ix
  • 8. Jean-Robert Moret, Koos Neefjes, Iiris Niemi, Editing, Production and Translation Miroslav Ondras, Jonathan T. Overpeck, Vicky The Report benefited from the advice and Pope, Will Prince, Kate Raworth, Andrew contribution of an editorial team at Green Ink. Revkin, Mary Robinson, Sherman Robinson, Anne Moorhead provided advice on structure Rachel Slater, Leonardo Souza, Valentina and presentation of the argument. Techni- Stoevska, Eric Swanson, Richard Tanner, cal and production editing was carried out by Haiyan Teng, Jean Philippe Thomas, Steve Sue Hainsworth and Rebecca Mitchell. Cover Price Thomas, Sandy Tolan, Emma Tompkins, and dividers were designed by Talking Box, Emma Torres, Kevin E. Trenberth, Jessica with conceptual inputs by Martín Sánchez Troni, Adriana Velasco, Marc Van Wynsberghe, and Ruben Salinas, on the basis of a template Tessa Wardlaw and Richard Washington. designed by Grundy & Northedge in 2005. Information design was done by Phoenix UNDP Readers Design Aid and Zago; one map (map 1.1) was A Readers Group, made up of colleagues in designed by Mapping Worlds. Phoenix Design UNDP, provided many useful comments, Aid, under the coordination of Lars Jørgensen, suggestions and inputs during the writing of the also did the Report’s layout. Report. Special mention must be made of the The production, translation, distribution contribution and advice of Pedro Conceição, and promotion of the Report benefited from Charles Ian McNeil and Andrew Maskrey. the help and support of the UNDP Office of All of them were generous with their time and Communications, and particularly of Maureen made substantive contributions to the Report. Lynch and Boaz Paldi. Translations were Other inputs were received from: Randa reviewed by Iyad Abumoghli, Bill Bikales, Jean Aboul-Hosn, Amat Al-Alim Alsoswa, Barbara Fabre, Albéric Kacou, Madi Musa, Uladzimir Barungi, Winifred Byanyima, Suely Carvalho, Shcherbau and Oscar Yujnovsky. Tim Clairs, Niamh Collier-Smith, Rosine The Report also benefited from the Coulibaly, Maxx Dilley, Philip Dobie, Bjørn dedicated work of Jong Hyun Jeon, Isa- Førde, Tegegnework Gettu, Yannick Glemarec, belle Khayat, Caitlin Lu, Emily Morse and Luis Gomez-Echeverri, Rebeca Grynspan, Lucio Severo. Swetlana Goobenkova and Raquel Herrera, Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, Emma Reed made valuable contributions to Peter Hunnam, Ragnhild Imerslund, Andrey the statistical team. Margaret Chi and Juan Ivanov, Bruce Jenks, Michael Keating, Douglas Arbelaez of the UN Office of Project Services Keh, Olav Kjorven, Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, provided critical administrative support and Oksana Leshchenko, Bo Lim, Xianfu Lu, Nora management services. Lustig, Metsi Makhetha, Cécile Molinier, David Morrison, Tanni Mukhopadhyay, B. Murali, Simon Nhongo, Macleod Nyirongo, Hafiz Pasha, Stefano Pettinato, Selva Ramach- andran, Marta Ruedas, Mounir Tabet, Jennifer Kevin Watkins Topping, Kori Udovicki, Louisa Vinton, Director Cassandra Waldon and Agostinho Zacarias. Human Development Report 2007/2008x 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
  • 9. ContentsForeword vAcknowledgements viiiOverview Fighting climate change: human solidarity in a divided world 1Chapter 1 The 21st Century climate challenge 191.1 Climate change and human development 24 The backdrop 24 Dangerous climate change—five human development ‘tipping points’ 261.2 Climate science and future scenarios 31 Human-induced climate change 31 Global carbon accounting—stocks, flows and sinks 32 Climate change scenarios—the known, the known unknowns, and the uncertain 331.3 From global to local—measuring carbon footprints in an unequal world 39 National and regional footprints—the limits to convergence 40 Inequalities in carbon footprinting—some people walk more lightly than others 431.4 Avoiding dangerous climate change—a sustainable emissions pathway 44 Carbon budgeting for a fragile planet 46 Scenarios for climate security—time is running out 47 The cost of a low-carbon transition—is mitigation affordable? 511.5 Business-as-usual—pathways to an unsustainable climate future 52 Looking back—the world since 1990 52 Looking ahead—locked on a rising trajectory 53 Drivers for increased emissions 561.6 Why we should act to avoid dangerous climate change 58 Climate stewardship in an interdependent world 58 Social justice and ecological interdependence 59 The economic case for urgent action 61 Mobilizing public action 65Conclusion 68Appendix table 1.1: Measuring the global carbon footprint—selected countries and regions 69Chapter 2 Climate shocks: risk and vulnerability in an unequal world 712.1 Climate shocks and low human development traps 75 Climate disasters—the rising trend 75 Risk and vulnerability 78 Low human development traps 83 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 xi
  • 10. From climate shocks today to deprivation tomorrow—low human development traps in operation 88 2.2 Looking ahead—old problems and new climate change risks 90 Agricultural production and food security 90 Water stress and scarcity 94 Rising seas and exposure to extreme weather risks 98 Ecosystems and biodiversity 101 Human health and extreme weather events 105 Conclusion 106 Chapter 3 Avoiding dangerous climate change: strategies for mitigation 109 3.1 Setting mitigation targets 112 Carbon budgeting—living within our ecological means 113 Emission reduction targets are proliferating 113 Four targeting problems in carbon budgeting 118 Targets matter, but so do outcomes 119 3.2 Putting a price on carbon—the role of markets and governments 125 Taxation versus ‘cap-and-trade’ 125 Cap-and-trade—lessons from the EU Emission Trading Scheme 129 3.3 The critical role of regulation and government action 132 Power generation—changing the emissions trajectory 133 The residential sector—low-cost mitigation 136 Vehicle emission standards 137 R&D and deployment of low-carbon technologies 143 3.4 The key role of international cooperation 147 An expanded role for technology transfer and finance 148 Reducing deforestation 157 Conclusion 161 Chapter 4 Adapting to the inevitable: national action and international cooperation 163 4.1 The national challenge 168 Adaptation in the developed world 168 Living with climate change—adaptation in developing countries 171 Framing national adaptation policies 172 4.2 International cooperation on climate change adaptation 184 The case for international action 185 Current adaptation financing—too little, too late, too fragmented 186 Rising to the adaptation challenge—strengthening international cooperation on adaptation 192 Conclusion 198 Notes 199 Bibliography 204 Boxes 1.1 Feedback effects could accelerate climate change 38 1.2 Millions are denied access to modern energy services 45 1.3 Developed countries have fallen short of their Kyoto commitments 54xii 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
  • 11. 1.4 Stewardship, ethics and religion—common ground on climate change 61 1.5 Cost–benefit analysis and climate change 65 2.1 Under-reporting climate disasters 77 2.2 The global insurance industry—reassessing climate risk 79 2.3 Hurricane Katrina—the social demographics of a disaster 81 2.4 Drought and food insecurity in Niger 85 2.5 Distress sales in Honduras 87 2.6 The ‘flood of the century’ in Bangladesh 88 2.7 Climate change in Malawi—more of the same, and worse 93 2.8 Climate change and China’s water crisis 97 2.9 Melting glaciers and retreating prospects for human development 992.10 Climate change and human development in the Mekong Delta 100 3.1 Leadership by example in carbon budgeting—California 116 3.2 Targets and outcomes diverge in Canada 120 3.3 The United Kingdom’s climate change bill—setting a carbon budget 121 3.4 The European Union—2020 targets and strategies for energy and climate change 123 3.5 Reducing carbon intensity in transition economies 124 3.6 Nuclear power—some thorny questions 134 3.7 Renewable energy in Germany—success of the ‘feed-in tariff’ 136 3.8 Vehicle emissions standards in the United States 139 3.9 Palm oil and biofuel development—a cautionary tale 1443.10 Coal and energy policy reform in China 1513.11 Decarbonizing growth in India 1523.12 Linking carbon markets to the MDGs and sustainable development 155 4.1 Adaptation on the char islands of Bangladesh 177 4.2 The Productive Safety Net Programme in Ethiopia 180 4.3 Conditional cash transfers—Brazil’s Bolsa Família Programme 181 4.4 Reducing vulnerability through agriculture in Malawi 182 4.5 Risk insurance and adaptation 183 4.6 Learning from experience in Mozambique 184 4.7 National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs)—a limited approach 189 Tables1.1 Temperature ranges rise with CO2 stocks—projections for 2080 341.2 Global carbon footprints at OECD levels would require more than one planet 482.1 Drought-related food emergencies and human development are closely linked in Kenya 802.2 Drought in Malawi—how the poor cope 842.3 The impact of drought shocks in Ethiopia 852.4 Agriculture plays a key role in developing regions 912.5 Rising sea levels would have large social and economic impacts 1013.1 Emission reduction targets vary in ambition 1143.2 Proposals for the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme 1313.3 Carbon emissions are linked to coal plant technology 1493.4 Industrial energy efficiency varies widely 1504.1 The multilateral adaptation financing account 1904.2 The cost of climate-proofing development 1934.3 Investing in adaptation up to 2015 194 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 xiii
  • 12. Figures 1.1 Rising CO2 emissions are pushing up stocks and increasing temperature 32 1.2 Global temperature forecast: three IPCC scenarios 35 1.3 Greenhouse gas emissions are dominated by energy and land-use changes 40 1.4 Rich countries dominate the cumulative emissions account 40 1.5 Global CO2 emissions are highly concentrated 41 1.6 Rich countries—deep carbon footprints 43 1.7 Living without electricity 44 1.8 Biomass dependence continues in many countries 44 1.9 The risk of dangerous climate change rises with greenhouse gas stocks 46 1.10 The 21st century carbon budget is set for early expiry 47 1.11 Halving emissions by 2050 could avoid dangerous climate change 49 1.12 Contracting and converging to a sustainable future 50 1.13 Stringent mitigation does not deliver early results 51 1.14 Some developed countries far short of Kyoto commitments and targets 53 1.15 Business-as-usual CO2 emissions on a rising trend 56 1.16 Carbon intensity is falling too slowly to cut overall emissions 57 2.1 Climate disasters are affecting more people 75 2.2 Disasters risks are skewed towards developing countries 76 2.3 Climate disasters are driving up insured losses 78 2.4 Social insurance provision is far greater in rich countries 80 2.5 Income variability trails rainfall variability in Ethiopia 91 2.6 Climate change will hurt developing countries’ agriculture 91 2.7 Latin America’s retreating glaciers 98 3.1 Falling carbon intensity does not always lower emissions 119 3.2 Carbon prices in the European Union have been volatile 130 3.3 Coal set to raise CO2 emissions in power sector 133 3.4 Wind power in the US—capacity is increasing and costs are falling 135 3.5 Rich country fuel efficiency standards vary widely 138 3.6 Rapid transition of the car fleet is possible—Pakistan 142 3.7 Some biofuels cost less and cut CO2 emissions more 143 3.8 Increased coal efficiency could cut CO2 emissions 149 3.9 Forests are in retreat 158 4.1 Adaptation is good investment in the European Union 170 4.2 Africa’s climate information gap 173 4.3 Aid flows need to speed up to meet commitments 188 4.4 Core aid to sub-Saharan Africa is flat 188 4.5 Developed country investments dwarf international adaptation funds 190 4.6 Aid is vulnerable to climate change 191 Maps 1.1 Mapping the global variation in CO2 emissions 42 2.1 Drying out: Africa’s drought area is expanding 92xiv 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
  • 13. Special contributions Climate change—together we can win the battle, Ban Ki-moon 23 Climate policy as human development, Amartya Sen 28 Our common future and climate change, Gro Harlem Bruntland 59 Climate change as a human rights issue, Sheila Watt-Cloutier 82 New York City takes the lead on climate change, Michael R. Bloomberg 117 National action to meet a global challenge, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva 141 We do not need climate change apartheid in adaptation, Desmond Tutu 166 No choice is our choice, Sunita Narain 187Human development indicatorsHuman development indicators 219Readers guide and notes to tables 221Acronyms and abbreviations 228Monitoring human development: enlarging people’s choices … 1 Human development index 229 1a Basic indicators for other UN member states 233 2 Human development index trends 234 3 Human and income poverty: developing countries 238 4 Human and income poverty: OECD countries, Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS 241 … to lead a long and healthy life … 5 Demographic trends 243 6 Commitment to health: resources, access and services 247 7 Water, sanitation and nutritional status 251 8 Inequalities in maternal and child health 255 9 Leading global health crises and risks 257 10 Survival: progress and setbacks 261 … to acquire knowledge … 11 Commitment to education: public spending 265 12 Literacy and enrolment 269 13 Technology: diffusion and creation 273… to have access to the resources needed for a decent standard of living … 14 Economic performance 277 15 Inequality in income or expenditure 281 16 Structure of trade 285 17 OECD-DAC country expenditures on aid 289 18 Flows of aid, private capital and debt 290 19 Priorities in public spending 294 20 Unemployment in OECD countries 298 21 Unemployment and informal sector work in non-OECD countries 299 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 xv
  • 14. … while preserving it for future generations … 22 Energy and the environment 302 23 Energy sources 306 24 Carbon dioxide emissions and stocks 310 25 Status of major international environmental treaties 314 … protecting personal security … 26 Refugees and armaments 318 27 Crime and justice 322 … and achieving equality for all women and men 28 Gender-related development index 326 29 Gender empowerment measure 330 30 Gender inequality in education 334 31 Gender inequality in economic activity 338 32 Gender, work and time allocation 342 33 Women’s political participation 343 Human and labour rights instruments 34 Status of major international human rights instruments 347 35 Status of fundamental labour rights conventions 351 Technical note 1 355 Technical note 2 362 Definitions of statistical terms 364 Statistical references 372 Classification of countries 374 Index to indicators 378 Index to Millennium Development Goal indicators in the HDR indicator tables 383xvi 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
  • 15. OverviewFighting climate change:human solidarity in a divided world“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. We are faced now with thefact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In thisunfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late…We maycry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea andrushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations arewritten the pathetic words: Too late.” Martin Luther King Jr. ‘Where do we go from here: chaos or community’Delivered in a sermon on social justice four countries, millions of the world’s poorestdecades ago, Martin Luther King’s words re- people are already being forced to cope withtain a powerful resonance. At the start of the the impacts of climate change. These impacts21st Century, we too are confronted with the do not register as apocalyptic events in the“fierce urgency” of a crisis that links today and full glare of world media attention. They gotomorrow. That crisis is climate change. It is unnoticed in fi nancial markets and in thestill a preventable crisis—but only just. The measurement of world gross domestic productworld has less than a decade to change course. (GDP). But increased exposure to drought,No issue merits more urgent attention—or to more intense storms, to floods and envi-more immediate action. ronmental stress is holding back the efforts Climate change is the defi ning human of the world’s poor to build a better life fordevelopment issue of our generation. All devel- themselves and their children.opment is ultimately about expanding human Climate change will undermine inter-potential and enlarging human freedom. It is national efforts to combat poverty. Seven yearsabout people developing the capabilities that ago, political leaders around the world gatheredempower them to make choices and to lead to set targets for accelerated progress in humanlives that they value. Climate change threatens development. The Millennium Developmentto erode human freedoms and limit choice. It Goals (MDGs) defined a new ambition for 2015.calls into question the Enlightenment princi- Much has been achieved, though many countriesple that human progress will make the future remain off track. Climate change is hamperinglook better than the past. efforts to deliver the MDG promise. Looking to The early warning signs are already visible. the future, the danger is that it will stall and thenToday, we are witnessing at first hand what reverse progress built-up over generations not justcould be the onset of major human develop- in cutting extreme poverty, but in health, nutri-ment reversal in our lifetime. Across developing tion, education and other areas. 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 1
  • 16. Climate change provides How the world deals with climate change we address these questions. Our starting point a potent reminder of the today will have a direct bearing on the human is that the battle against climate change can— development prospects of a large section of and must—be won. The world lacks neither the one thing that we share in humanity. Failure will consign the poorest financial resources nor the technological capabil- common. It is called planet 40 percent of the world’s population—some ities to act. If we fail to prevent climate change Earth. All nations and all 2.6 billion people—to a future of diminished it will be because we were unable to foster the opportunity. It will exacerbate deep inequalities political will to cooperate. people share the within countries. And it will undermine efforts Such an outcome would represent not just a same atmosphere to build a more inclusive pattern of globaliza- failure of political imagination and leadership, tion, reinforcing the vast disparities between but a moral failure on a scale unparalleled in the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. history. During the 20th Century failures In today’s world, it is the poor who are of political leadership led to two world wars. bearing the brunt of climate change. Tomor- Millions of people paid a high price for row, it will be humanity as a whole that faces what were avoidable catastrophes. Dangerous the risks that come with global warming. The climate change is the avoidable catastrophe of the rapid build-up of greenhouse gases in the 21st Century and beyond. Future generations Earth’s atmosphere is fundamentally changing will pass a harsh judgement on a generation that the climate forecast for future generations. We looked at the evidence on climate change, under- are edging towards ‘tipping points’. These are stood the consequences and then continued on a unpredictable and non-linear events that could path that consigned millions of the world’s most open the door to ecological catastrophes—ac- vulnerable people to poverty and exposed future celerated collapse of the Earth’s great ice sheets generations to the risk of ecological disaster. being a case in point—that will transform patterns of human settlement and undermine Ecological interdependence the viability of national economies. Our gen- Climate change is different from other prob- eration may not live to see the consequences. lems facing humanity—and it challenges us But our children and their grandchildren to think differently at many levels. Above all, will have no alternative but to live with them. it challenges us to think about what it means Aversion to poverty and inequality today, and to live as part of an ecologically interdependent to catastrophic risk in the future provides a human community. strong rationale for urgent action. Ecological interdependence is not an abstract Some commentators continue to cite uncer- concept. We live today in a world that is divided tainty over future outcomes as grounds for a at many levels. People are separated by vast gulfs limited response to climate change. That start- in wealth and opportunity. In many regions, ing point is flawed. There are indeed many rival nationalisms are a source of conflict. All unknowns: climate science deals in probability too often, religious, cultural and ethnic identity and risk, not in certainties. However, if we value are treated as a source of division and difference the well-being of our children and grandchildren, from others. In the face of all these differences, even small risks of catastrophic events merit an climate change provides a potent reminder insurance-based precautionary approach. And of the one thing that we share in common. uncertainty cuts both ways: the risks could be It is called planet Earth. All nations and all greater than we currently understand. people share the same atmosphere. And we Climate change demands urgent action now only have one. to address a threat to two constituencies with a Global warming is evidence that we are little or no political voice: the world’s poor and overloading the carrying capacity of the future generations. It raises profoundly impor- Earth’s atmosphere. Stocks of greenhouse tant questions about social justice, equity and gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are human rights across countries and generations. accumulating at an unprecedented rate. In the Human Development Report 2007/2008 Current concentrations have reached 3802 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
  • 17. parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide While the world’s poor walk the Earth We are recklesslyequivalent (CO2e) exceeding the natural range with a light carbon footprint they are bear- mismanaging our ecologicalof the last 650,000 years. In the course of the ing the brunt of unsustainable management21st Century, average global temperatures could of our ecological interdependence. In rich interdependence. Ourincrease by more than 5°C. countries, coping with climate change to date generation is running To put that figure in context, it is equiva- has largely been a matter of adjusting thermo- up an unsustainablelent to the change in temperature since the stats, dealing with longer, hotter summers,last ice age—an era in which much of Europe and observing seasonal shifts. Cities like ecological debt that futureand North America was under more than one London and Los Angeles may face flooding generations will inheritkilometre of ice. The threshold for dangerous risks as sea levels rise, but their inhabitantsclimate change is an increase of around 2°C. are protected by elaborate flood defenceTh is threshold broadly defi nes the point at systems. By contrast, when global warmingwhich rapid reversals in human development changes weather patterns in the Horn ofand a drift towards irreversible ecological dam- Africa, it means that crops fail and people goage would become very difficult to avoid. hungry, or that women and young girls spend Behind the numbers and the measurement more hours collecting water. And, whateveris a simple overwhelming fact. We are recklessly the future risks facing cities in the rich world,mismanaging our ecological interdependence. today the real climate change vulnerabilitiesIn effect, our generation is running up an linked to storms and floods are to be foundunsustainable ecological debt that future gen- in rural communities in the great river deltaserations will inherit. We are drawing down the of the Ganges, the Mekong and the Nile, andstock of environmental capital of our children. in sprawling urban slums across the develop-Dangerous climate change will represent the ing world.adjustment to an unsustainable level of green- The emerging risks and vulnerabilitieshouse gas emissions. associated with climate change are the out- Future generations are not the only con- comes of physical processes. But they are alsostituency that will have to cope with a problem a consequence of human actions and choices.they did not create. The world’s poor will suffer Th is is another aspect of ecological inter-the earliest and most damaging impacts. Rich dependence that is sometimes forgotten. Whennations and their citizens account for the over- people in an American city turn on the air-whelming bulk of the greenhouse gases locked conditioning or people in Europe drive theirin the Earth’s atmosphere. But, poor countries cars, their actions have consequences. Thoseand their citizens will pay the highest price for consequences link them to rural communitiesclimate change. in Bangladesh, farmers in Ethiopia and slum The inverse relationship between responsi- dwellers in Haiti. With these human connec-bility for climate change and vulnerability to its tions come moral responsibilities, including aimpacts is sometimes forgotten. Public debate responsibility to reflect upon—and change—in rich nations increasingly highlights the threat energy policies that inflict harm on other peo-posed by rising greenhouse gas emissions from ple or future generations.developing countries. That threat is real. Butit should not obscure the underlying problem. The case for actionMahatma Gandhi once reflected on how many If the world acts now it will be possible—justplanets might be needed if India were to follow possible—to keep 21st Century global temper-Britain’s pattern of industrialization. We are ature increases within a 2°C threshold aboveunable to answer that question. However, we preindustrial levels. Achieving this future willestimate in this Report that if all of the world’s require a high level of leadership and unparalleledpeople generated greenhouse gases at the same international cooperation. Yet climate change israte as some developed countries, we would a threat that comes with an opportunity. Aboveneed nine planets. all, it provides an opportunity for the world to 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 3
  • 18. The real choice facing come together in forging a collective response down stocks. People living at the start of the political leaders and people to a crisis that threatens to halt progress. 22nd Century will live with the consequences The values that inspired the drafters of of our emissions, just as we are living with the today is between universal the Universal Declaration of Human Rights consequences of emissions since the indus- human values, on the one provide a powerful point of reference. That trial revolution. Time-lags are an important side, and participating document was a response to the political failure consequence of climate change inertia. Even that gave rise to extreme nationalism, fascism stringent mitigation measures will not materi- in the widespread and and world war. It established a set of entitle- ally affect average temperatures changes until systematic violation of ments and rights—civil, political, cultural, the mid-2030s—and temperatures will not human rights on the other social and economic—for “all members of the peak until 2050. In other words, for the fi rst human family”. The values that inspired the half of the 21st Century the world in general, Universal Declaration were seen as a code of and the world’s poor in particular, will have conduct for human affairs that would prevent to live with climate change to which we are the “disregard and contempt for human rights already committed. that have resulted in barbarous acts which have The cumulative nature of the climate outraged the conscience of mankind”. change has wide-ranging implications. Perhaps The drafters of the Universal Declaration of the most important is that carbon cycles do not Human Rights were looking back at a human follow political cycles. The current generation of tragedy, the second world war, that had already political leaders cannot solve the climate change happened. Climate change is different. It is a problem alone because a sustainable emissions human tragedy in the making. Allowing that pathway has to be followed over decades, not tragedy to evolve would be a political failure years. However, it has the power either to prise that merits the description of an “outrage to open the window of opportunity for future the conscience of mankind”. It would represent generations, or to close that window. a systematic violation of the human rights of Urgency is the second feature of the climate the world’s poor and future generations and change challenge—and a corollary of inertia. a step back from universal values. Conversely, In many other areas of international relations, preventing dangerous climate change would inaction or delayed agreements have limited hold out the hope for the development of costs. International trade is an example. This is multilateral solutions to the wider problems an area in which negotiations can break down facing the international community. Climate and resume without inflicting long-term dam- change confronts us with enormously complex age on the underlying system—as witnessed questions that span science, economics and by the unhappy history of the Doha Round. international relations. These questions have to With climate change, every year of delay in be addressed through practical strategies. Yet it reaching an agreement to cut emissions adds to is important not to lose sight of the wider issues greenhouse gas stocks, locking the future into that are at stake. The real choice facing political a higher temperature. In the seven years since leaders and people today is between universal the Doha Round started, to continue the anal- human values, on the one side, and participat- ogy, stocks of greenhouse gases have increased ing in the widespread and systematic violation by around 12 ppm of CO2e—and those stocks of human rights on the other. will still be there when the trade rounds of the The starting point for avoiding dangerous 22nd Century get underway. climate change is recognition of three distinc- There are no obvious historical analogies tive features of the problem. The first feature is for the urgency of the climate change problem. the combined force of inertia and cumulative During the Cold War, large stockpiles of nuclear outcomes of climate change. Once emitted, missiles pointed at cities posed a grave threat to carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse human security. However, ‘doing nothing’ was gases stay in the atmosphere for a long time. a strategy for containment of the risks. Shared There are no rapid rewind buttons for running recognition of the reality of mutually assured4 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
  • 19. destruction offered a perversely predictable Following the publication of the Stern Review No one country can winstability. With climate change, by contrast, on The Economics of Climate Change, most the battle against climatedoing nothing offers a guaranteed route to governments also accept that solutions to cli-a further build-up greenhouse gases, and to mate change are affordable—more affordable change acting alone.mutually assured destruction of human devel- than the costs of inaction. Collective action is not anopment potential. Political momentum is also gathering option but an imperative The third important dimension of the pace. Many governments are setting boldclimate change challenge is its global scale. The targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.Earth’s atmosphere does not differentiate green- Climate change mitigation has now registeredhouse gases by country of origin. One tonne of firmly on the agenda of the Group of Eightgreenhouse gases from China carries the same (G8) industrialized nations. And dialogueweight as one tonne of greenhouse gases from between developed and developing countriesthe United States—and one country’s emissions is strengthening.are another country’s climate change problem. It All of this is positive news. Practical out-follows that no one country can win the battle comes are less impressive. While governmentsagainst climate change acting alone. Collective may recognize the realities of global warming,action is not an option but an imperative. When political action continues to fall far short of theBenjamin Franklin signed the American Declara- minimum needed to resolve the climate changetion of Independence in 1776, he is said to have problem. The gap between scientific evidencecommented: “We must all hang together, or and political response remains large. In themost assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” In developed world, some countries have yet toour unequal world, some people—notably poor establish ambitious targets for cutting green-people—might hang sooner than others in the house gas emissions. Others have set ambitiousevent of a failure to develop collective solutions. targets without putting in place the energyBut ultimately, this is a preventable crisis that policy reforms needed to achieve them. Thethreatens all people and all countries. We too deeper problem is that the world lacks a clear,have the choice between hanging together and credible and long-term multilateral frameworkforging collective solutions to a shared problem, that charts a course for avoiding dangerousor hanging separately. climate change—a course that spans the divide between political cycles and carbon cycles.Seizing the moment—2012 and beyond With the expiry of the current commitmentConfronted with a problem as daunting as period of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, the inter-climate change, resigned pessimism might national community has an opportunity to putseem a justified response. However, resigned that framework in place. Seizing that opportu-pessimism is a luxury that the world’s poor nity will require bold leadership. Missing it willand future generations cannot afford—and push the world further on the route to danger-there is an alternative. ous climate change. There is cause for optimism. Five years Developed countries have to take theago, the world was still engaged in debating lead. They carry the burden of historic re-whether or not climate change was taking place, sponsibility for the climate change problem.and whether or not it was human-induced. And they have the fi nancial resources andClimate change scepticism was a flourishing technological capabilities to initiate deep andindustry. Today, the debate is over and climate early cuts in emissions. Putting a price onscepticism is an increasingly fringe activity. The carbon through taxation or cap-and-tradefourth assessment review of the International systems is the starting point. But marketPanel on Climate Change has established an pricing alone will not be enough. The develop-overwhelming scientific consensus that climate ment of regulatory systems and public–privatechange is both real and man-made. Almost partnerships for a low-carbon transition areall governments are part of that consensus. also priorities. 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 5
  • 20. The world’s poor and The principle of “common but differenti- voice but a powerful claim to social justice and future generations cannot ated responsibility”—one of the foundations respect for human rights: the world’s poor and of the Kyoto framework—does not mean that future generations. afford the complacency developing countries should do nothing. The cred- People engaged in a daily struggle to improve and prevarication that ibility of any multilateral agreement will hinge their lives in the face of grinding poverty continues to characterize on the participation of major emitters in the and hunger ought to have first call on human developing world. However, basic principles of solidarity. They certainly deserve something more international negotiations equity and the human development imperative than political leaders who gather at international on climate change of expanding access to energy demand that de- summits, set high-sounding development targets veloping countries have the flexibility to make and then undermine achievement of the very the transition to a low-carbon growth path at a same targets by failing to act on climate change. rate consistent with their capabilities. And our children and their children’s grandchil- International cooperation has a critical role dren have the right to hold us to a high standard to play at many levels. The global mitigation of accountability when their future—and maybe effort would be dramatically enhanced if a their survival—is hanging in the balance. They post-2012 Kyoto framework incorporated too deserve something more than a generation of mechanisms for finance and technology political leaders who look at the greatest challenge transfers. These mechanisms could help remove humankind has ever faced and then sit on their obstacles to the rapid disbursement of the low- hands. Put bluntly, the world’s poor and future carbon technologies needed to avoid dangerous generations cannot afford the complacency and climate change. Cooperation to support the prevarication that continues to characterize inter- conservation and sustainable management national negotiations on climate change. Nor can of rainforests would also strengthen the they afford the large gap between what leaders mitigation effort. in the developed world say about climate change Adaptation priorities must also be addressed. threats and what they do in their energy policies. For too long, climate change adaptation has been Twenty years ago Chico Mendes, the treated as a peripheral concern, rather than as a Brazilian environmentalist, died attempting to core part of the international poverty reduction defend the Amazon rainforest against destruc- agenda. Mitigation is an imperative because it will tion. Before his death, he spoke of the ties that define prospects for avoiding dangerous climate bound his local struggle to a global movement change in the future. But the world’s poor cannot for social justice: “At first I thought I was fight- be left to sink or swim with their own resources ing to save rubber trees, then I thought I was while rich countries protect their citizens behind fighting to save the Amazon rainforest. Now I climate-defence fortifications. Social justice and realise I am fighting for humanity.” respect of human rights demand stronger interna- The battle against dangerous climate tional commitment on adaptation. change is part of the fight for humanity. Winning that battle will require far-reaching Our legacy changes at many levels—in consumption, in The post-2012 Kyoto framework will power- how we produce and price energy, and in in- fully influence prospects for avoiding climate ternational cooperation. Above all, though, it change—and for coping with the climate will require far-reaching changes in how we change that is now unavoidable. Negotiations think about our ecological interdependence, on that framework will be shaped by govern- about social justice for the world’s poor, and ments with very different levels of negotiating about the human rights and entitlements of leverage. Powerful vested interests in the corpo- future generations. rate sector will also make their voices heard. As governments embark on the negotiations for a The 21st Century climate challenge post-2012 Kyoto Protocol, it is important that Global warming is already happening. World they reflect on two constituencies with a limited temperatures have increased by around 0.7°C6 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
  • 21. since the advent of the industrial era—and the in China and India is leading to a gradual con- By the end of therate of increase is quickening. There is over- vergence in ‘aggregate’ emissions. However, per 21st Century, the spectrewhelming scientific evidence linking the rise in capita carbon footprint convergence is moretemperature to increases in the concentration limited. The carbon footprint of the United of catastrophic ecologicalof greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. States is five times that of China and over 15 impacts could have moved There is no hard-and-fast line separating times that of India. In Ethiopia, the average per from the bounds of the‘dangerous’ from ‘safe’ climate change. Many of capita carbon footprint is 0.1 tonnes of CO2the world’s poorest people and most fragile eco- possible to the probable compared with 20 tonnes in Canada.logical systems are already being forced to adapt What does the world have to do to get onto dangerous climate change. However, beyond an emissions trajectory that avoids dangerousa threshold of 2°C the risk of large-scale human climate change? We address that question bydevelopment setbacks and irreversible ecologi- drawing upon climate modeling simulations.cal catastrophes will increase sharply. These simulations define a carbon budget for Business-as-usual trajectories will take the the 21st Century.world well beyond that threshold. To have a If everything else were equal, the global50:50 chance of limiting temperature increase carbon budget for energy-related emissionsto 2°C above preindustrial levels will require would amount to around 14.5 Gt CO2 annually.stabilization of greenhouse gases at concentra- Current emissions are running at twice thistions of around 450ppm CO2e. Stabilization level. The bad news is that emissions are on aat 550ppm CO2e would raise the probability rising trend. The upshot: the carbon budget forof breaching the threshold to 80 percent. In the entire 21st Century could expire as early astheir personal lives, few people would know- 2032. In effect, we are running up unsustainableingly undertake activities with a serious injury ecological debts that will lock future generationsrisk of this order of magnitude. Yet as a global into dangerous climate change.community, we are taking far greater risks with Carbon budget analysis casts a new light onplanet Earth. Scenarios for the 21st Century concerns over the share of developing countriespoint to potential stabilization points in excess in global greenhouse gas emissions. While thatof 750ppm CO2e, with possible temperature share is set to rise, it should not divert attentionchanges in excess of 5°C. from the underlying responsibilities of rich Temperature scenarios do not capture the nations. If every person in the developing worldpotential human development impacts. Average had the same carbon footprint as the averagechanges in temperature on the scale projected person in Germany or the United Kingdom,in business-as-usual scenarions will trigger current global emissions would be four timeslarge-scale reversals in human development, the limit defined by our sustainable emissionsundermining livelihoods and causing mass pathway, rising to nine times if the develop-displacement. By the end of the 21st Century, ing country per capita footprint were raised tothe spectre of catastrophic ecological impacts Canadian or United States levels.could have moved from the bounds of the pos- Changing this picture will require deepsible to the probable. Recent evidence on the adjustments. If the world were a single countryaccelerated collapse of ice sheets in the Antarctic it would have to cut emissions of greenhouseand Greenland, acidification of the oceans, the gases by half to 2050 relative to 1990 levels,retreat of rainforest systems and melting of Arctic with sustained reductions to the end of thepermafrost all have the potential—separately or 21st Century. However, the world is not a singlein interaction—to lead to ‘tipping points’. country. Using plausible assumptions, we esti- Countries vary widely in their contribution mate that avoiding dangerous climate changeto the emissions that are driving up atmospheric will require rich nations to cut emissions by atstocks of greenhouse gases. With 15 percent of least 80 percent, with cuts of 30 percent by 2020.world population, rich countries account for Emissions from developing countries would peakalmost half of emissions of CO2 . High growth around 2020, with cuts of 20 percent by 2050. 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 7
  • 22. Current investment patterns Our stabilization target is stringent but capabilities. No single climate shock can be attrib- are putting in place a affordable. Between now and 2030, the aver- uted to climate change. However, climate change age annual cost would amount to 1.6 percent of is ratcheting up the risks and vulnerabilities carbon intensive energy GDP. This is not an insignificant investment. facing the poor. It is placing further stress infrastructure, with coal But it represents less than two-thirds of global on already over-stretched coping mechanisms playing a dominant role military spending. The costs of inaction could and trapping people in downward spirals of be much higher. According to the Stern Review, deprivation. they could reach 5–20 percent of world GDP, Vulnerability to climate shocks is unequally depending upon how costs are measured. distributed. Hurricane Katrina provided a Looking back at emission trends highlights potent reminder of human frailty in the face the scale of the challenge ahead. Energy related of climate change even in the richest coun- CO2 emissions have increased sharply since tries—especially when the impacts interact 1990, the reference years for the reductions with institutionalized inequality. Across the agreed under the Kyoto Protocol. Not all developed world, public concern over expo- developed countries ratified the Protocol’s sure to extreme climate risks is mounting. targets, which would have reduced their average With every flood, storm and heat wave, that emissions by around 5 percent. Most of those concern is increasing. Yet climate disasters are that did are off track for achieving their com- heavily concentrated in poor countries. Some mitments. And few of those that are on track 262 million people were affected by climate can claim to have reduced emissions as a result disasters annually from 2000 to 2004, over 98 of a policy commitment to climate change percent of them in the developing world. In the mitigation. The Kyoto Protocol did not place Organisation for Economic Co-operation and any quantitative restrictions on emissions from Development (OECD) countries one in 1,500 developing countries. If the next 15 years of people was affected by climate disaster. The emissions follows the linear trend of the past 15, comparable figure for developing countries is dangerous climate change will be unavoidable. one in 19—a risk differential of 79. Projections for energy use point precisely High levels of poverty and low levels of in this direction, or worse. Current investment human development limit the capacity of poor patterns are putting in place a carbon intensive households to manage climate risks. With energy infrastructure, with coal playing a dom- limited access to formal insurance, low incomes inant role. On the basis of current trends and and meagre assets, poor households have to present policies, energy-related CO2 emissions deal with climate-related shocks under highly could rise by more than 50 percent over 2005 constrained conditions. levels by 2030. The US$20 trillion projected Strategies for coping with climate risks can to be spent between 2004 and 2030 to meet reinforce deprivation. Producers in drought energy demand could lock the world on to an prone areas often forego production of crops unsustainable trajectory. Alternatively, new in- that could raise income in order to minimize vestments could help to decarbonize economic risk, preferring to produce crops with lower eco- growth. nomic returns but resistant to drought. When climate disasters strike, the poor are often Climate shocks: risk and vulnerability in forced to sell productive assets, with attendant an unequal world implications for recovery, in order to protect Climate shocks already figure prominently in the consumption. And when that is not enough lives of the poor. Events such as droughts, floods households cope in other ways: for example, by and storms are often terrible experiences for those cutting meals, reducing spending on health and affected: they threaten lives and leave people taking children out of school. These are desper- feeling insecure. But climate shocks also erode ation measures that can create life-long cycles long-term opportunities for human development, of disadvantage, locking vulnerable households undermining productivity and eroding human into low human development traps.8 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
  • 23. Research carried out for this report under- undermining efforts to cut rural poverty. The Global temperaturelines just how potent these traps can be. Using additional number affected by malnutrition increases of 3–4°C couldmicrolevel household data we examined some of could rise to 600 million by 2080.the long-term impacts of climate-shocks in the result in 330 million people • Water stress and water insecurity. Changedlives of the poor. In Ethiopia and Kenya, two run-off patterns and glacial melt will add being permanently orof the world’s most drought-prone countries, to ecological stress, compromising flows of temporarily displacedchildren aged five or less are respectively 36 and 50 water for irrigation and human settlements inpercent more likely to be malnourished if they were the process. An additional 1.8 billion people through floodingborn during a drought. For Ethiopia, that trans- could be living in a water scarce environmentlates into some 2 million additional malnourished by 2080. Central Asia, Northern China andchildren in 2005. In Niger, children aged two or the northern part of South Asia face immenseless born in a drought year were 72 percent more vulnerabilities associated with the retreatlikely to be stunted. And Indian women born of glaciers—at a rate of 10–15 metres a yearduring a flood in the 1970s were 19 percent less in the Himalayas. Seven of Asia’s great riverlikely to have attended primary school. systems will experience an increase in flows The long-run damage to human devel- over the short term, followed by a decline asopment generated through climate shocks is glaciers melt. The Andean region also facesinsufficiently appreciated. Media reporting of imminent water security threats with the col-climate-related disasters often plays an important lapse of tropical glaciers. Several countries inrole in informing opinion—and in capturing the already highly water-stressed regions such ashuman suffering that comes with climate shocks. the Middle East could experience deep lossesHowever, it also gives rise to a perception that in water availability.these are ‘here-today-gone-tomorrow’ experi- • Rising sea levels and exposure to climateences, diverting attention from the long-run disasters. Sea levels could rise rapidly withhuman consequences of droughts and floods. accelerated ice sheet disintegration. Global Climate change will not announce itself temperature increases of 3–4°C could resultas an apocalyptic event in the lives of the in 330 million people being permanently orpoor. Direct attribution of any specific event temporarily displaced through flooding.to climate change will remain impossible. Over 70 million people in Bangladesh, 6However, climate change will steadily increase million in Lower Egypt and 22 million inthe exposure of poor and vulnerable house- Viet Nam could be affected. Small islandholds to climate-shocks and place increased states in the Caribbean and Pacific couldpressure on coping strategies, which, over suffer catastrophic damage. Warming seastime, could steadily erode human capabilities. will also fuel more intense tropical storms. We identify five key transmission mecha- With over 344 million people currently ex-nisms through which climate change could stall posed to tropical cyclones, more intensiveand then reverse human development: storms could have devastating consequences• Agricultural production and food security. for a large group of countries. The 1 billion Climate change will affect rainfall, temper- people currently living in urban slums on ature and water availability for agriculture fragile hillsides or flood-prone river banks in vulnerable areas. For example, drought- face acute vulnerabilities. affected areas in sub-Saharan Africa could • Ecosystems and biodiversity. Climate change expand by 60–90 million hectares, with is already transforming ecological systems. dry land zones suffering losses of US$26 Around one-half of the world’s coral reef billion by 2060 (2003 prices), a figure in systems have suffered ‘bleaching’ as a result excess of bilateral aid to the region in 2005. of warming seas. Increasing acidity in the Other developing regions—including Latin oceans is another long-term threat to ma- America and South Asia—will also expe- rine ecosystems. Ice-based ecologies have rience losses in agricultural production, also suffered devastating climate change 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 9
  • 24. Avoiding the unprecedented impacts, especially in the Arctic region. sion limits for the post-2012 Kyoto Protocol threats posed by dangerous While some animal and plant species will commitment period can—and must—frame adapt, for many species the pace of climate the global carbon budget. However, a sustain- climate change will change is too rapid: climate systems are able global emissions pathway will only be require an unparalleled moving more rapidly than they can follow. meaningful if it is translated into practical collective exercise in With 3°C of warming, 20–30 percent of national strategies—and national carbon land species could face extinction. budgets. Climate change mitigation is about international cooperation • Human health. Rich countries are already transforming the way that we produce and use preparing public health systems to deal with energy. And it is about living within the bounds future climate shocks, such as the 2003 of ecological sustainability. European heatwave and more extreme sum- Setting credible targets linked to global mer and winter conditions. However, the mitigation goals is the starting point for the tran- greatest health impacts will be felt in develop- sition to a sustainable emissions pathway. These ing countries because of high levels of poverty targets can provide a basis for carbon budgeting and the limited capacity of public health exercises that provide a link from the present systems to respond. Major killer diseases to the future through a series of rolling plans. could expand their coverage. For example, an However, credible targets have to be backed by additional 220–400 million people could be clear policies. The record to date in this area is exposed to malaria—a disease that already not encouraging. Most developed countries are claims around 1 million lives annually. falling short of the targets set under the Kyoto Dengue fever is already in evidence at higher Protocol: Canada is an extreme case in point. In levels of elevation than has previously been some cases, ambitious ‘Kyoto-plus’ targets have the case, especially in Latin America and been adopted. The European Union and the parts of East Asia. Climate change could United Kingdom have both embraced such tar- further expand the reach of the disease. gets. For different reasons, they are both likely None of these five separate drivers will op- to fall far short of the goals set unless they move erate in isolation. They will interact with wider rapidly to put climate mitigation at the centre social, economic and ecological processes that of energy policy reform. shape opportunities for human development. Two major OECD countries are not bound Inevitably, the precise mix of transmission by Kyoto targets. Australia has opted for a mechanisms from climate change to human wide-ranging voluntary initiative, which has development will vary across and within coun- produced mixed results. The United States does tries. Large areas of uncertainty remain. What is not have a federal target for reducing emissions. certain is that dangerous climate change has the Instead, it has a ‘carbon-intensity’ reduction potential to deliver powerful systemic shocks goal which measures efficiency. The problem is to human development across a large group of that efficiency gains have failed to prevent large countries. In contrast to economic shocks that aggregate increases in emissions. In the absence affect growth or inflation, many of the human of federal targets, several United States’ states development impacts—lost opportunities for have set their own mitigation goals. California’s health and education, diminished productive Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 is a potential, loss of vital ecological systems, for bold attempt to align greenhouse gas reduction example—are likely to prove irreversible. targets with reformed energy policies. Setting ambitious targets for mitigation Avoiding dangerous climate change: is an important first step. Translating targets strategies for mitigation into policies is politically more challenging. Avoiding the unprecedented threats posed The starting point: putting a price on carbon by dangerous climate change will require emissions. Changed incentive structures are a an unparalleled collective exercise in inter- vital condition for an accelerated transition to national cooperation. Negotiations on emis- low-carbon growth. In an optimal scenario, the10 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
  • 25. carbon price would be global. This is politically windfall gains at public expense. And only a Carbon markets are aunrealistic in the short-run because the world small fraction of ETS permits—less than 10 necessary condition for thelacks the required governance system. The more percent in the second phase—can be auctioned,realistic option is for rich countries to develop depriving governments of revenue for tax reform transition to a low-carboncarbon pricing structures. As these structures and opening the door to political manipulation economy. They are notevolve, developing countries could be integrated and generating inefficiencies. Restricting ETS a sufficient conditionover time as institutional conditions allow. quota allocations in line with the European There are two ways of putting a price on Union’s commitment to a 20–30 percent cut incarbon. The first is to directly tax CO2 emis- emissions by 2020 would help to align carbonsions. Importantly, carbon taxation does not markets with mitigation goals.imply an increase in the overall tax burden. The Carbon markets are a necessary conditionrevenues can be used in a fiscally neutral way to for the transition to a low-carbon economy. Theysupport wider environmental tax reforms—for are not a sufficient condition. Governmentsexample, cutting taxes on labour and invest- have a critical role to play in setting regula-ment. Marginal taxation levels would require tory standards and in supporting low-carbonadjustment in the light of greenhouse gas emis- research, development and deployment.sion trends. One approach, broadly consistent There is no shortage of positive examples.with our sustainable emissions pathway, would Renewable energy provision is expandingentail the introduction of taxation at a level in part because of the creation of incentivesof US$10–20/t CO2 in 2010, rising in annual through regulation. In Germany, the ‘feed-in’increments of US$5–10/t CO2 towards a level tariff has boosted the share of renewable sup-of US$60–100/t CO2 . Such an approach would pliers in the national grid. The United Statesprovide investors and markets with a clear and has successfully used tax incentives to encour-predictable framework for planning future age the development of a vibrant wind powerinvestments. And it would generate strong industry. However, while the rapid growth ofincentives for a low-carbon transition. renewable energy has been encouraging, overall The second route to carbon pricing is cap- progress falls far short of what is possible—andand-trade. Under a cap-and-trade system, the of what is required for climate change mitiga-government sets an overall emissions cap and tion. Most OECD countries have the potentialissues tradable allowances that grant business the to raise the share of renewable energy in powerright to emit a set amount. Those who can reduce generation to at least 20 percent.emissions more cheaply are able to sell allowances. Enhanced energy efficiency has the po-One potential disadvantage of cap-and-trade tential to deliver a ‘double dividend’. It canis energy price instability. The potential advan- reduce CO2 emissions and cut energy costs. If alltage is environmental certainty: the cap itself electrical appliances operating in OECDis a quantitative ceiling applied to emissions. countries in 2005 had met the best efficiencyGiven the urgency of achieving deep and early standards, it would have saved some 322 Mtquantitative cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, CO2 of emissions by 2010—equivalent to takingwell-designed cap-and-trade programmes have over 100 million cars off the road. Householdthe potential to play a key role in mitigation. electricity consumption would fall by one-quarter. The European Union’s Emissions Trading Personal transportation is another areaScheme (ETS), is the world’s largest cap-and- where regulatory standards can unlock dou-trade programme. While much has been ble-dividends. The automobile sector accountsachieved, there are serious problems to be for about 30 percent of greenhouse gas emis-addressed. The caps on emissions have been set sions in developed countries—and the sharefar too high, primarily because of the failure of is rising. Regulatory standards matter becauseEuropean Union member states to resist the they can influence fleet efficiency, or the aver-lobbying efforts of powerful vested interests. age number of miles travelled per gallon (andSome sectors—notably power—have secured hence CO2 emissions). In the United States, 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 11
  • 26. The rapid development and fuel efficiency standards have slipped over time. emitters such as the China, India and the deployment of low-carbon They are now lower than in China. Raising United States. CCS is important because it standards by 20 miles per gallon would cut holds out the promise of coal-fired power gen- technologies is vital to oil consumption by 3.5 million barrels a day eration with near-zero emissions. With a more climate change mitigation and save 400 Mt CO2 emissions a year—more active programme of public–private investment, than the total emissions from Thailand. Efforts aligned with carbon pricing, CCS technologies to raise fuel efficiency standards are often could be developed and deployed more rapidly. countered by powerful vested interests. In Both the European Union and the United Europe, for example, European Commission States have the capacity to put in place at least proposals to raise standards have been 30 demonstration plants by 2015. countered by a coalition of automobile manu- Low levels of energy efficiency in develop- facturers. Several member states have rejected ing countries are currently a threat to climate the proposals, raising wider questions about change mitigation efforts. Raising efficiency the European Union’s capacity to translate levels through international cooperation could climate change goals into tangible policies. transform that threat into an opportunity, gen- International trade could play a much larger erating large gains for human development in role in expanding markets for alternative fuels. the process. We demonstrate this by examining Brazil is more efficient than either the European the impact on CO2 emissions of an accelerated Union or the United States in producing etha- technology transfer programme for the coal nol. Moreover, sugar-based ethanol is more sector in China. For China alone, emissions efficient at cutting carbon emissions. The prob- in 2030 would be 1.8 Gt CO2 below the level lem is that imports of Brazilian ethanol are projected by the International Energy Agency. restricted by high import tariffs. Removing That figure is equivalent to around one-half of these tariffs would generate gains not just for current European Union emissions. Similar Brazil, but for climate change mitigation. efficiency gains are attainable in other areas. The rapid development and deployment Enhanced energy efficiency is a win–win of low-carbon technologies is vital to climate scenario. Developing countries stand to gain change mitigation. Picking winners in technol- from improved energy efficiency and lower ogy is a hazardous affair. Governments have environmental pollution. All countries stand at best a mixed record. However, confronted to gain from CO2 mitigation. Unfortunately, with a national and global threat on the scale the world currently lacks a credible mecha- of climate change, governments cannot afford nism for unlocking this win–win scenario. to stand back and wait for markets to deliver. We propose the development, under the Energy policy is an area in which the scale of auspices of the post-2012 Kyoto framework, upfront investments, time horizon, and uncer- of a Climate Change Mitigation Facility tainty combine to guarantee that markets (CCMF) to fill this gap. The CCMF would alone will fail to deliver technological change mobilize US$25–50 billion annually to at the pace required by mitigation. In earlier finance low-carbon energy investments in periods, major technological breakthroughs developing countries. Financing provisions have followed decisive government action: the would be linked to the circumstances of Manhattan Project and the United States space individual countries, with a menu of grants, programme are examples. concessional support and risk guarantees Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS) is a key available. Support would be programme- breakthrough technology. Coal is the major based. It would cover the incremental costs of source of power for electricity generation world- achieving defined emission reduction targets wide. Reserves are widely dispersed. Coupled by scaling-up nationally-owned energy poli- with rising prices for oil and natural gas, this cies in areas such as renewable energy, clean is one reason why coal figures prominently in coal and enhanced efficiency standards for the present and planned energy mix of major transport and buildings.12 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
  • 27. Deforestation is another key area for inter- themselves. In the Horn of Africa, ‘adaptation’ We are drifting into a worldnational cooperation. Currently, the world is means that women and young girls walk further of adaptation apartheidlosing the carbon assets contained in rainfor- to collect water. In the Ganges Delta, peopleests at a fraction of the market value they would are erecting bamboo flood shelters on stilts.have even at low carbon prices. In Indonesia, And in the Mekong Delta people are plantingevery US$1 generated through deforestation to mangroves to protect themselves against stormgrow palm oil would translate into a US$50– surges, and women and children are being100 loss if the reduced carbon capacity could be taught to swim.traded on the European Union’s ETS. Beyond Inequalities in capacity to adapt to climatethese market failures, the loss of rainforests change are becoming increasingly apparent. Forrepresents the erosion of a resource that plays one part of the world—the richer part—adap-a vital role in the lives of the poor, in the pro- tation is a matter of erecting elaborate climatevision of ecosystem services and in sustaining defence infrastructures, and of building homesbiodiversity. that ‘float on’ water. In the other part adapta- There is scope for exploring the potential tion means people themselves learning to ‘floatof carbon markets in the creation of incentives in’ flood water. Unlike people living behindto avoid deforestation. More broadly, carbon the flood defences of London and Los Angeles,finance could be mobilized to support the res- young girls in the Horn of Africa and peopletoration of degraded grasslands, generating in the Ganges Delta do not have a deep car-benefits for climate change mitigation, adapta- bon footprint. As Desmond Tutu, the formertion and environmental sustainability. Archbishop of Cape Town, has argued, we are drifting into a world of adaptation apartheid.Adapting to the inevitable: national action Planning for climate change adaptationand international cooperation confronts governments in developing countriesWithout urgent mitigation action the world with challenges at many levels. These challengescannot avoid dangerous climate change. But pose systemic threats. In Egypt, delta floodingeven the most stringent mitigation will be could transform conditions for agriculturalinsufficient to avoid major human development production. Changes to coastal currents insetbacks. The world is already committed to southern Africa could compromise the future offurther warming because of the inertia built Namibia’s fisheries sector. Hydroelectric powerinto climate systems and the delay between generation will be affected in many countries.mitigation and outcome. For the first half of the Responding to climate change will require21st Century there is no alternative to adapta- the integration of adaptation into all aspects oftion to climate change. policy development and planning for poverty Rich countries already recognize the im- reduction. However, planning and implemen-perative to adapt. Many are investing heavily tation capacity is limited:in the development of climate defence infra- • Information. Many of the world’s pooreststructures. National strategies are being drawn countries lack the capacity and the resourcesup to prepare for more extreme and less certain to assess climate risks. In sub-Saharan Africa,future weather patterns. The United Kingdom high levels of rural poverty and dependenceis spending US$1.2 billion annually on flood on rainfed agriculture makes meteorologicaldefences. In the Netherlands, people are invest- information an imperative for adaptation.ing in homes that can float on water. The Swiss However, the region has the world’s low-alpine ski industry is investing in artificial est density of meteorological stations. Insnow-making machines. France, the meteorological budget amounts Developing countries face far more severe to US$388 million annually, compared withadaptation challenges. Those challenges have to just US$2 million in Ethiopia. The 2005be met by governments operating under severe G8 summit pledged action to strengthenfi nancing constraints, and by poor people Africa’s meteorological monitoring capacity. 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 13
  • 28. Support for the MDGs Follow-up has fallen far short of the commit- capacity development. Support for the MDGs provides another powerful ments made. provides another powerful rationale for action: • Infrastructure. In climate change adap- adaptation is a key requirement for achieving rationale for action: tation, as in other areas, prevention is the 2015 targets and creating the conditions adaptation is a key better than cure. Every US$1 invested in for sustained progress. Application of the legal requirement for achieving pre-disaster risk management in develop- principles of protection from harm and com- ing countries can prevent losses of US$7. pensation for damage would constitute further the 2015 targets and In Bangladesh, research among impoverished grounds for action. creating the conditions populations living on char islands shows that Expressed in diplomatic language, the for sustained progress adaptation against flooding can strengthen international response on adaptation has fallen livelihoods, even in extreme conditions. Many far short of what is required. Several dedicated countries lack the financial resources required multilateral financing mechanisms have been for infrastructural adaptation. Beyond disaster created, including the Least Developed Country prevention, the development of community- Fund and the Special Climate Change Fund. based infrastructure for water harvesting can Delivery through these mechanisms has been reduce vulnerability and empower people to limited. Total financing to date has amounted cope with climate risks. Partnerships between to around US$26 million—a derisory response. communities and local governments in Indian For purposes of comparison, this is equivalent states such as Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat to one week’s worth of spending under the provide examples of what can be achieved. United Kingdom flood defence programme. • Insurance for social protection. Climate change Current pledged funding amounts to US$279 is generating incremental risks in the lives million for disbursement over several years. of the poor. Social protection programmes This is an improvement over past delivery but can help people cope with those risks while still a fraction of what is required. It represents expanding opportunities for employment, less than one-half of what the German state nutrition and education. In Ethiopia the of Baden-Würtemberg will allocate to the Productive Safety Net Programme is an strengthening of flood defences. attempt to strengthen the capacity of poor It is not just the lives and the livelihoods of households to cope with droughts without the poor that require protection through adap- having to sacrifice opportunities for health tation. Aid programmes are also under threat. and education. In Latin America condi- We estimate that around one-third of cur- tional cash transfers have been widely used rent development assistance is concentrated in to support a wide range of human devel- areas facing varying degrees of climate change opment goals, including the protection of risk. Insulating aid budgets from that risk will basic capabilities during a sudden crisis. In require additional investment of around southern Africa cash transfers have been used US$4.5 billion. At the same time, climate during droughts to protect long-run produc- change is contributing to a diversion of aid into tive capacity. While social protection figures disaster relief. This has been one of the fastest- only marginally in current climate change growing areas for aid flows, accounting for 7.5 adaptation strategies, it has the potential to percent of total commitments in 2005. create large human development returns. Estimating the aid financing requirements The case for international action on adapta- for adaptation is inherently difficult. In the tion is rooted in past commitments, shared absence of detailed national assessments of values, the global commitment to poverty climate change risks and vulnerabilities, any reduction and the liability of rich nations for assessment must remain a ‘guesstimate’. Our climate change problems. Under the terms of ‘guesstimate’ is that by 2015 at least US$44 billion the United Nations Framework Convention will be required annually for ‘climate proofing’ on Climate Change (UNFCCC), northern development investments (2005 prices). Build- governments are obliged to support adaptation ing human resilience is another priority area.14 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
  • 29. Investments in social protection and wider to be shifted towards national programmes There could be no clearerhuman development strategies are needed to and budgets. demonstration than climatestrengthen the capacity of vulnerable people The integration of adaptation planning intoto cope with risk. Our ballpark estimate is wider poverty reduction strategies is a priority. that economic wealththat at least US$40 billion will be needed by Successful adaptation policies cannot be grafted creation is not the same2015 to strengthen national strategies for pov- on to systems that are failing to address under- thing as human progresserty reduction in the face of climate change lying causes of poverty, vulnerability and widerrisks. To put this figure in context, it represents disparities based on wealth, gender and location.around 0.5 percent of projected 2015 GDP for Dialogue over Poverty Reduction Strategy Paperslow income and lower middle income coun- (PRSPs) provides a possible framework for inte-tries. Provision for disaster and post-disaster grating adaptation in poverty reduction planning.recovery will also have to be strengthened as Revision of PRSPs through nationally-owneddroughts, floods, storms and landslides pose processes to identify financing requirements andgreater threats. Provision of an additional policy options for adaptation could provide a focalUS$2 billion a year is implied by our estimates. point for international cooperation. Adaptation financing requirements shouldbe seen as ‘new and additional’ commitments. Conclusion and summary ofThat is, they should supplement rather than recommendationsdivert existing aid commitments. Northern Climate change confronts humanity with starkgovernments have pledged to double aid by choices. We can avoid 21st Century reversals in2010, though the record on delivery is mixed. human development and catastrophic risks forAny shortfall in delivery will compromise future generations, but only by choosing to actprogress towards the MDGs and compound with a sense of urgency. That sense of urgencyproblems in climate change adaptation. is currently missing. Governments may use The headline figure for new and additional the rhetoric of a ‘global security crisis’ whenadaptation financing appears large—but has to describing the climate change problem, butbe placed in context. The total of around US$86 their actions—and inactions—on energy policybillion by 2015 may be required to prevent aid reform tell a different story. The starting pointdiversion. It would represent around 0.2 per- for action and political leadership is recogni-cent of developed country GDP, or around tion on the part of governments that they areone-tenth of what they currently allocate to confronted by what may be the gravest threatmilitary expenditure. Measured in terms of ever to have faced humanity.returns for human security, adaptation financ- Facing up to that threat will createing is a highly cost-effective investment. There challenges at many levels. Perhaps most fun-are a range of innovative financing mechanisms damentally of all, it challenges the way that wethat could be explored to mobilize resources. think about progress. There could be no clearerThese include carbon taxation, levies admin- demonstration than climate that economicistered under cap-and-trade programmes and wealth creation is not the same thing as humandedicated levies on air transport and vehicles. progress. Under the current energy policies, ris- International support for adaptation has ing economic prosperity will go hand-in-handto go beyond financing. Current international with mounting threats to human developmentefforts suffer not just from chronic under- today and the well-being of future genera-financing, but also a lack of coordination tions. But carbon-intensive economic growthand coherence. The patchwork of multilat- is symptomatic of a deeper problem. One oferal mechanisms is delivering small amounts the hardest lessons taught by climate change isof finance with very high transaction costs, that the economic model which drives growth,most of it through individual projects. While and the profligate consumption in rich nationsproject-based support has an important role that goes with it, is ecologically unsustainable.to play, the locus for adaptation planning has There could be no greater challenge to our 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 15
  • 30. For the current generation, assumptions about progress than that of realign- International cooperation must also ad- the challenge is to keep ing economic activities and consumption with dress the pressing issue of climate change ad- ecological realities. aptation. Even with stringent mitigation, the open the window of Combating climate change demands that world is already committed to sustained global opportunity by bending we place ecological imperatives at the heart warming for the first half of the 21st Century. greenhouse gas emissions of economics. That process has to start in the Having created the problem, the world’s rich- developed world—and it has to start today. est countries cannot stand aside and watch the in a downward direction The uncertainties have to be acknowledged. In hopes and the aspirations of the world’s poor be this report we have argued that, with the right undermined by increased exposure to the risks reforms, it is not too late to cut greenhouse gas and vulnerabilities that will come with climate emissions to sustainable levels without sacrific- change. ing economic growth: that rising prosperity and Fighting climate change is a cross-genera- climate security are not conflicting objectives. tional exercise. For the current generation, The current state of international coopera- the challenge is to keep open the window of tion and multilateralism on climate change is opportunity by bending greenhouse gas emis- not fit for the purpose. As a priority, the world sions in a downward direction. The world needs a binding international agreement to cut has a historic opportunity to begin this task. greenhouse gas emissions across a long time In 2012, the current commitment period of horizon, but with stringent near-term and the Kyoto Protocol expires. The successor medium-term targets. The major developing agreement could set a new course, impos- countries have to be party to that agreement ing stringent limits on future emissions and and make commitments to reduce emissions. providing a framework for international col- However, those commitments will need to lective action. Negotiations could be brought reflect their circumstances and capabilities, forward so that the quantitative targets are set and the overarching need to sustain progress in by 2010, providing governments with goals poverty reduction. Any multilateral agreement for national carbon budgets. Carbon budget- without quantitative commitments from devel- ing backed by radical energy policy reforms oping countries will lack credibility in terms of and government action to change incentive climate change mitigation. At the same time, structures for consumers and investors is the no such agreement will emerge unless it incor- foundation for effective climate change miti- porates provisions for finance and technology gation. There is no such thing as a last chance transfer from the rich nations that bear historic in human affairs. But the post-2012 Kyoto responsibility for climate change. framework comes close.16 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
  • 31. Recommendations1 Develop a multilateral • Utilise revenues from carbon taxation and framework for avoiding cap-and-trade to fi nance progressive tax dangerous climate change reform, with reductions in taxes on labour under the post-2012 Kyoto and investments, and the development of Protocol incentives for low-carbon technology. • Reform of the European Union’s Emissions• Establish an agreed threshold for dangerous Trading Scheme to reduce quotas, increase climate change at 2°C above preindustrial auctioning and limit windfall gains for the levels. private sector.• Set a stabilization target for atmospheric • Create an enabling environment for renew- concentrations of CO2e at 450 ppm (the able energy through ‘feed-in’ tariffs and costs are estimated at 1.6 percent of average market regulation, with a 20 percent target global GDP to 2030). by 2020 in renewable power generation.• Agree to a global sustainable emissions • Increase energy efficiency through reg- pathway aimed at 50 percent reductions ulatory standards for appliances and of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 from buildings. 1990 levels. • Reduce CO2 emissions from transport• Targets under the current Kyoto commit- through stronger fuel efficiency standards ment period implemented by developed in the European Union, with a target of countries, with a further agreement to cut 120g CO2/km by 2012 and 80g CO2/km greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per- by 2020, and more stringent Corporate cent by 2050, with 20–30 percent cuts by Average Fuel Economy Standards (CAFE) 2020. in the United States with the introduction• Major emitters in developing countries to of taxation of aviation. aim at an emissions trajectory that peaks in • Increase fi nancing, incentives and regu- 2020, with 20 percent cuts by 2050. latory support for the development of breakthrough technologies, with a focus on2 Put in place policies for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)—the sustainable carbon budgeting— United States should aim at 30 demon- the agenda for mitigation stration plants by 2015, and the European Union should have a comparable level• Set a national carbon budget in all devel- of ambition. oped countries with targets for reducing overall emissions from a 1990 reference year 3 Strengthen the framework for incorporated into national legislation. international cooperation• Put a price on carbon through taxation or cap-and-trade programmes consistent with • Develop international cooperation to national carbon budget goals. enhance access to modern energy services• Carbon taxation to be introduced at a level and reduce dependence on biomass, the pri- of US$10–20/t CO2 in 2010, rising in an- mary source of energy for about 2.5 billion nual increments to US$60–100/t CO2 . people.• Adopt cap-and-trade programmes that aim • Reduce the rate of increase in carbon emis- at 20–30 percent cuts in CO2 emissions by sions in developing countries through 2020 with 90–100 percent of allowances strengthened energy sector reforms, backed auctioned by 2015. by finance and technology transfer. 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 17
  • 32. • Create a Climate Change Mitigation • Act on G8 commitments to strengthen Facility (CCMF) to mobilize the meteorological monitoring capacity in sub- US$25–50 billion needed annually to Saharan Africa through partnerships under support low-carbon transitions in devel- the Global Climate Observing System. oping countries through a mix of grants, • Empower and enable vulnerable people to concessional aid and risk guarantees for adapt to climate change by building resil- investment under nationally-owned energy ience through investments in social protec- sector reform programmes. tion, health, education and other measures. • Integrate project based carbon-fi nancing • Integrate adaptation into poverty reduction through the Clean Development Mecha- strategies that address vulnerabilities linked nism and other Kyoto flexibility provi- to inequalities based on wealth, gender, lo- sions into programme-based and sectoral cation and other markers for disadvantage. national strategies for supporting low-car- • Provide at least US$86 billion in ‘new and bon transition. additional’ fi nance for adaptation through • Significantly strengthen international transfers from rich to poor by 2016 to cooperation on coal, with the creation of protect progress towards the MDGs and incentives for the development and deploy- prevent post-2015 reversals in human ment on Integrated Gasification Combined development. Cycle (IGCC) technology and CCS. • Expand multilateral provisions for respond- • Develop international incentives for the ing to climate-related humanitarian conservation and sustainable management emergencies and supporting post-disaster of rainforests. recovery to build future resilience, with • Extend carbon fi nancing beyond indus- US$2 billion in financing by 2016 under trial sector mitigation to land-use arrangements such as the UN’s Central programmes—such as forest conservation Emergency Response Fund and the and grasslands restoration—that offer World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster benefits for the poor. Reduction and Recovery. • Explore a range of innovative fi nancing 4 Put climate change adaptation options beyond development assistance to at the centre of the post-2012 mobilize support for adaptation, including Kyoto framework and carbon taxation, levies on quotas issued international partnerships for under cap-and-trade programmes, air poverty reduction transport taxes and wider measures. • Streamline the current structure of dedi- • Recognize that the world is committed to cated multilateral funds which are delivering significant climate change, that even strin- limited support (US$26 million to date and gent mitigation will not materially affect US$253 million in the pipeline, with high temperature change until the mid-2030s, transition costs), and shift the locus of sup- and that average global temperatures port from projects to programme-based will rise to 2050 even under a ‘good case’ financing. scenario. • Use Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers • Strengthen the capacity of developing (PRSPs) to conduct national estimates of countries to assess climate change risks the costs of scaling-up existing programmes, and integrate adaptation into all aspects of identifying priority areas for reducing national planning. vulnerability.18 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
  • 33. 1The 21st Centuryclimate challenge
  • 34. “One generation plants a tree; thenext generation gets the shade.”Chinese Proverb“You already know enough. So do I.It is not knowledge we lack.What is missing is the courage tounderstand what we know andto draw conclusions.”Sven Lindqvist
  • 35. 1 CHAPTER The 21st Century climate challenge 1 The 21st Century climate challenge The supreme reality of Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean is one of the most remote locations on Earth. our time is the spectre of The gigantic stone statues located in the Rono Raraku volcanic crater are all that re-dangerous climate change main of what was a complex civilization. That civilization disappeared because of the over-exploitation of environmental resources. Competition between rival clans led to rapid deforestation, soil erosion and the destruction of bird populations, under- mining the food and agricultural systems that sustained human life.1 The warning signs of impending destruction were picked up too late to avert collapse. The Easter Island story is a case study in the the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) consequences of failure to manage shared eco- and deepening inequalities within and across logical resources. Climate change is becoming a countries. Left unattended, it will lead to 21st Century variant of that story on a global human development reversals throughout the scale. There is, however, one important difference. 21st Century. The people of Easter Island were overtaken by a The second catastrophe is located in the fu- crisis that they could not anticipate—and over ture. Like the threat of nuclear confrontation which they had little control. Today, ignorance during the Cold War, climate change poses is no defence. We have the evidence, we have the risks not just for the world’s poor, but for the resources to avert crisis, and we know the conse- entire planet—and for future generations. Our quences of carrying on with business-as-usual. current path offers a one-way route to ecological President John F. Kennedy once remarked disaster. There are uncertainties relating to the that “the supreme reality of our time is our speed of warming, and to the exact timing and indivisibility and our common vulnerability forms of the impacts. But the risks associated on this planet”. 2 He was speaking in 1963 in with accelerated disintegration of the Earth’s the aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis at the great ice sheets, the warming of the oceans, the height of the Cold War. The world was living collapse of rainforest systems and other possible with the spectre of nuclear holocaust. Four outcomes are real. They have the potential to set decades on, the supreme reality of our time is in train processes that could recast the human the spectre of dangerous climate change. and physical geography of our planet. That spectre confronts us with the threat Our generation has the means—and of a twin catastrophe. The first is an immediate the responsibility—to avert that outcome. threat to human development. Climate change Immediate risks are heavily skewed towards affects all people in all countries. However, the the world’s poorest countries and their most world’s poorest people are on the front line. vulnerable citizens. However, there are no risk They stand most directly in harm’s way—and free havens over the long term. Rich countries they have the least resources to cope. This first and people not on the front line of the unfold- catastrophe is not a distant future scenario. It ing disaster will ultimately be affected. That is is unfolding today, slowing progress towards why precautionary climate change mitigation is 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 21
  • 36. 1 The Earth’s capacity to an essential insurance against future catastro- But at least the political debate is now rooted in absorb carbon dioxide and phe for humanity as a whole, including future scientific evidence. generations in the developed world. The problem is that there is a large gapThe 21st Century climate challenge other greenhouse gases The heart of the climate change problem between scientific evidence and political is being overwhelmed is that the Earth’s capacity to absorb carbon action. So far most governments have been dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases failing the test on climate change mitiga- is being overwhelmed. Humanity is living tion. Most have responded to the recently beyond its environmental means and running released Fourth Assessment Report of the up ecological debts that future generations will Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change be unable to repay. (IPCC) by recognizing that the evidence on cli- Climate change challenges us to think mate change is “unequivocal” and that urgent in a profoundly different way about human action is needed. Successive meetings of the Group interdependence. Whatever else divides us, of Eight (G8) industrialized countries have reaf- humanity shares a single planet just as surely as firmed the need for concrete measures to be put in the people of Easter Island shared a single island. place. They have acknowledged that the ship is The ties that bind the human community on the heading for an object that looks ominously planet stretch across countries and generations. like an iceberg. Unfortunately, they have yet to No nation, large or small, can be indifferent to the initiate decisively evasive action by charting a fate of others, or oblivious to the consequences of new emissions trajectory for greenhouse gases. today’s actions for people living in the future. There is a very real sense in which time Future generations will see our response is running out. Climate change is a chal- to climate change as a measure of our ethical lenge that has to be addressed throughout the values. That response will provide a testimony 21st Century. No quick technological fi xes are on how political leaders today acted on their available. But the long-time horizon is not a pledges to combat poverty and build a more window of opportunity for prevarication and inclusive world. Leaving large sections of indecision. In forging a solution, governments humanity even more marginalized would sig- have to confront the problems of stocks and nify a disregard for social justice and equity flows in the global carbon budget. Stocks of between countries. Climate change also asks greenhouse gases are building up, driven by tough questions about how we think about rising emissions. However, even if we stopped our links to people in the future. Our actions all emissions tomorrow the stocks would fall will serve as a barometer of our commitment only very slowly. The reason: once emitted CO2 to cross-generational social justice and stays in the atmosphere a long time and climate equity—and as a record against which future systems respond slowly. This inertia built into generations will judge our actions. the system means that there is a long time-lag There are encouraging signs. Five years ago, between today’s carbon mitigation and tomor- climate change scepticism was a flourishing row’s climate outcomes. industry. Liberally financed by large companies, The window of opportunity for successful widely cited in the media, and attentively mitigation is closing. There is a limit to the listened to by some governments, climate amount of carbon dioxide that the Earth’s sceptics exercised an undue influence on public sinks can absorb without creating dangerous understanding. Today, every credible climate climate change effects—and we are nearing scientist believes that climate change is real, that those limits. We have less than a decade to it is serious, and that it is linked to the release ensure that the window of opportunity is kept of CO2 . Governments across the world share open. That does not mean we have a decade that view. Scientific consensus does not mean to decide on whether to act and to formu- that debates on the causes and consequences of late a plan, but a decade in which to start the global warming are over: the science of climate transition to low-carbon energy systems. One change deals in probabilities, not certainties. certainty in an area marked by high levels of 22 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
  • 37. uncertainty is this: if the next decade looks both the deepest carbon footprints, and the tech- 1the same as the last one, then the world will nological and financial capabilities to achievebe locked on course for the avoidable ‘twin deep and early cuts in emissions. However, a The 21st Century climate challengecatastrophe’ of near-term human development successful multilateral framework will requirereversals and the risk of ecological disaster for the active participation of all major emitters,future generations. including those in the developing world. Like the catastrophe that struck Easter Island, Establishing a framework for collectivethat outcome is preventable. Expiry of the current action that balances urgency with equity iscommitment period of the Kyoto Protocol in the starting point for avoiding dangerous2012 provides an opportunity to develop a climate change.multilateral strategy that could redefine how we This chapter sets out the scale of the challengemanage global ecological interdependence. The ahead. Section 1 looks at the interaction betweenpriority, as the world’s governments negotiate climate change and human development. Inthat agreement, is to define a sustainable carbon section 2, we set out the evidence provided bybudget for the 21st Century, and to develop climate science and scenarios for temperaturea strategy for budget implementation that changes. Section 3 provides a breakdown of therecognizes the “common but differentiated” world’s carbon footprint. Then in section 4, weresponsibilities of countries. contrast current emission trends with a sustain- Success will require the world’s richest able emissions pathway for the 21st Century,countries to demonstrate leadership: they have drawing upon climate modelling work—and we Special contribution Climate change—together we can win the battle The Human Development Report 2007/2008 comes at a time when Tackling climate change requires action on two fronts. First, climate change—long on the international agenda—is starting to the world urgently needs to step up action to mitigate greenhouse receive the very highest attention that it merits. The recent find- gas emissions. Industrialized countries need to make deeper ings of the IPCC sounded a clarion call; they have unequivocally emission reductions. There needs to be further engagement of affirmed the warming of our climate system and linked it directly developing countries, as well as incentives for them to limit their to human activity. emissions while safeguarding economic growth and efforts to The effects of these changes are already grave, and they are eradicate poverty. growing. This year’s Report is a powerful reminder of all that is at Adaptation is the second global necessity. Many countries, stake: climate change threatens a ‘twin catastrophe’, with early set- especially the most vulnerable developing nations, need assistance backs in human development for the world’s poor being succeeded in improving their capacity to adapt. There also needs to be a major by longer term dangers for all of humanity. push to generate new technologies for combating climate change, We are already beginning to see these catastrophes unfold. As to make existing renewable technologies economically viable, and sea levels rise and tropical storms gather in intensity, millions of to promote a rapid diffusion of technology. people face displacement. Dryland inhabitants, some of the most Climate change threatens the entire human family. Yet it also vulnerable on our planet, have to cope with more frequent and provides an opportunity to come together and forge a collective more sustained droughts. And as glaciers retreat, water supplies response to a global problem. It is my hope that we will rise as are being put at risk. one to face this challenge, and leave a better world for future This early harvest of global warming is having a dispropor- generations. tionate effect on the world’s poor, and is also hindering efforts to achieve the MDGs. Yet, in the longer run, no one—rich or poor— can remain immune from the dangers brought by climate change. I am convinced that what we do about this challenge will define the era we live in as much as it defines us. I also believe that climate change is exactly the kind of global challenge that the United Nations is best suited to address. That is why I have made it my personal priority to work with Member States to ensure that Ban Ki-moon the United Nations plays its role to the full. Secretary-General of the United Nations 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 23
  • 38. 1 Climate change will be look at the cost of making the transition to a more alternative. The chapter ends by setting out the one of the defining forces sustainable future. Section 5 contrasts our sustain- ethical and economic case for urgent action on able emissions pathway with the business-as-usual climate change mitigation and adaptation.The 21st Century climate challenge shaping prospects for human development during the 21st Century 1.1 Climate change and human development Human development is about people. It is about shaped by differences in localized climate expanding people’s real choices and the substan- effects, by differences in social and economic tive freedoms—the capabilities—that enable coping capacities, and by public policy choices, them to lead lives that they value. Choice and among other factors. The starting point freedom in human development mean something for any consideration of how climate change more than the absence of constraints.3 People scenarios might play out is the human whose lives are blighted by poverty, ill-health or development backdrop. illiteracy are not in any meaningful sense free to That backdrop includes some good news lead the lives that they value. Neither are people stories that are often overlooked. Since the first who are denied the civil and political rights they Human Development Report was published need to influence decisions that affect their lives. in 1990 there have been spectacular—if Climate change will be one of the defi n- spectacularly uneven—advances in human ing forces shaping prospects for human development. The share of the population living development during the 21st Century. Through in developing countries on less than US$1 a its impact on ecology, rainfall, temperature and day has fallen from 29 percent in 1990 to 18 weather systems, global warming will directly percent in 2004. Over the same period, child affect all countries. Nobody will be immune to mortality rates have fallen from 106 deaths per its consequences. However, some countries and thousand live births to 83 and life expectancy people are more vulnerable than others. In the has increased by 3 years. Progress in education long term, the whole of humanity faces risks but has gathered pace. Globally, the primary school more immediately, the risks and vulnerabilities completion rate rose from 83 percent to 88 are skewed towards the world’s poorest people. percent between 1999 and 2005.4 Climate change will be superimposed upon Economic growth, a condition for a world marked by large human development sustained progress in poverty reduction, has deficits. While there are many uncertainties accelerated across a large group of countries. about the timing, nature and scale of future Based on this strong growth, numbers living impacts, the forces unleashed by global warming in extreme poverty fell by 135 million between can be expected to magnify existing disadvan- 1999 and 2004. Much of this progress has tages. Location and livelihood structures will been driven by East Asia in general and China emerge as powerful markers for disadvan- in particular. More recently, the emergence tage. Concentrated in fragile ecological areas, of India as a high-growth economy, with drought-prone arid lands, flood-prone coastal per capita incomes rising at an average of areas, and precarious urban slums, the poor are 4–5 percent since the mid-1990s, has created highly exposed to climate change risks—and enormous opportunities for accelerated they lack the resources to manage those risks. human development. While sub-Saharan Africa lags behind on many dimensions of The backdrop human development, here too there are signs of progress. Economic growth has picked up The interface between climate change and since 2000 and the share of people in the human development outcomes will be region living in extreme poverty has finally 24 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
  • 39. started to fall, although the absolute number One-half of all rural children are under- While globalization has 1of poor has not declined.5 weight for their age—roughly the same created unprecedented The bad news is that forces generated by proportion as in 1992.7 The 21st Century climate challengeclimate change will be superimposed on a • Child mortality. Progress on child mortality opportunities for some,world marked by deep and pervasive human lags behind progress in other areas. Around others have been leftdevelopment deficits, and by disparities that 10 million children die each year before the behinddivide the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. While age of 5, the vast majority from poverty andglobalization has created unprecedented oppor- malnutrition. Only around 32 countries outtunities for some, others have been left behind. of 147 monitored by the World Bank are onIn some countries—India is an example— track to achieve the MDG of a two-thirdsrapid economic growth has produced modest reduction in child mortality by 2015.8 Southprogress in poverty reduction and in nutrition. Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are compre-In others—including most of sub-Saharan hensively off track. On current trends theAfrica—economic growth is too slow and MDG target will be missed by a marginuneven to sustain rapid progress in poverty that will represent 4.4 million additionalreduction. Despite high growth across much deaths in 2015.9of Asia, on current trends most countries are • Health. Infectious diseases continue tooff track for achieving the MDG targets for blight the lives of the poor across the world.reducing extreme poverty and deprivation in An estimated 40 million people are livingother areas by 2015. with HIV/AIDS, with 3 million deaths in The state of human development is presented 2004. Every year there are 350–500 millionin more detail elsewhere in this Report. What is cases of malaria, with 1 million fatalities:important in the context of climate change is Africa accounts for 90 percent of malarialthat emerging risks will fall disproportionally on deaths and African children account for overcountries already characterized by high levels of 80 percent of malaria victims worldwide.10poverty and vulnerability: These deficits in human development draw• Income poverty. There are still around attention to deep inequalities across the world. 1 billion people living at the margins of The 40 percent of the world’s population living survival on less than US$1 a day, with on less than US$2 a day accounts for 5 percent of 2.6 billion—40 percent of the world’s global income. The richest 20 percent accounts population—living on less than US$2 a day. for three-quarters of world income. In the case of Outside East Asia, most developing regions sub-Saharan Africa, a whole region has been left are reducing poverty at a slow pace—too behind: it will account for almost one-third of slowly to achieve the MDG target of halving world poverty in 2015, up from one-fifth in 1990. extreme poverty by 2015. Unless there is an Income inequality is also rising within acceleration of poverty reduction from 2008 countries. Income distribution influences onwards, the target looks likely to be missed the rate at which economic growth translates by around 380 million people.6 into poverty reduction. More than 80 percent• Nutrition. Around 28 percent of all chil- of the world’s population lives in countries dren in developing countries are estimated where income differentials are widening. One to be underweight or stunted. The two consequence is that more growth is needed regions that account for the bulk of the defi- to achieve an equivalent poverty reduction cit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa— outcome. According to one analysis, developing and both are off track in terms of achieving countries have to grow at over three times the the MDG target of halving under-nutrition pre-1990 rate to achieve the same reduction in by 2015. If India’s high economic growth poverty incidence.11 is unequivocal good news, the bad news is Skewed income distribution intersects with that this has not been translated into accel- wider inequalities. Child death rates among erated progress in cutting under-nutrition. the poorest one-fi ft h in the developing world 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 25
  • 40. 1 With the global rise in are falling at half the average rate for the richest, important. We know that the world is warming temperature, local rainfall reflecting deep disparities in nutrition and and that the average global temperature has access to health provision.12 In an increasingly increased by around 0.7°C (1.3°F) since theThe 21st Century climate challenge patterns are changing, urbanized world, disparities between rural and advent of the industrial era. We know also ecological zones are shifting, urban populations remain substantial. Rural that the trend is accelerating: average global the seas are warming and areas account for three in every four people living mean temperature is rising at 0.2°C every on less than US$1 a day and a similar share of the decade. With the global rise in temperature, ice caps are melting world population suffering from malnutrition.13 local rainfall patterns are changing, ecological However, urbanization is not synonymous with zones are shifting, the seas are warming and human progress. Urban slum growth is outpacing ice caps are melting. Forced adaptation to urban growth by a wide margin. climate change is already happening across The state of the world’s environment is a the world. In the Horn of Africa, adaptation vital link between climate change and human means that women have to walk further development. In 2005, the United Nations’ (UN) to find water in the dry season. In Bangladesh Millennium Ecosystem Assessment drew attention and Viet Nam, it means that small-scale to the global deterioration of vital ecosystems, farmers have to cope with losses caused by including mangrove swamps, wetlands and more intense storms, floods and sea surges. forests. These ecosystems are highly vulnerable to Fifteen years have now passed since the UN climate change—as are the people who depend Framework Convention on Climate Change on the services they provide. (UNFCCC) set out the broad objectives for At a time when climate change concerns are multilateral action. Those objectives include mounting across the world, it is important that stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in complex future scenarios are considered in the the atmosphere at “a level that would prevent context of initial human development conditions. dangerous anthropogenic interference with the Climate change is a global phenomenon. climate system”. Indicators for the prevention However, the human development impacts of danger include stabilization within a time of climate change cannot automatically be frame that allows ecosystems to adapt naturally, inferred from global scenarios, or from predicted the avoidance of disruption to food systems, movements in average global temperatures. and the maintenance of conditions for sustain- People (and countries) vary in their resilience able economic development. and capacity to manage the incremental risks associated with climate change. They vary in Defining dangerous their capacity to adapt. At what point does climate change become Inequalities in capacity to cope with these dangerous? That question invites another: risks will fuel wider inequalities in opportunity. Dangerous for whom?15 What is dangerous for As the incremental risks created by climate a small-scale farmer living in Malawi might not change intensify over time, they will interact appear very dangerous for a large, mechanized with existing structures of disadvantage. farm in the Midwest of the United States. Climate Prospects for sustained human development in change scenarios for rising sea levels that might be the years and decades after the 2015 target date viewed with equanimity from behind the flood for the MDGs are directly threatened. defence systems of London or lower Manhattan might reasonably be regarded with alarm in Dangerous climate change—fi ve Bangladesh, or in Viet Nam’s Mekong Delta. human development Such considerations caution against the ‘tipping points’ drawing of hard and fast lines separating ‘safe’ from ‘dangerous’ climate change. Dangerous Average global temperature has become a climate change cannot be inferred from a set popular metric for the state of the global of scientific observations alone. The threshold climate.14 That metric tells us something for what is dangerous depends on value 26 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
  • 41. judgements over what is an unacceptable cost climate risks on the other, points to a high poten- Through its impact on 1in social, economic and ecological terms at any tial for human development reversals. agriculture and foodgiven level of warming. For millions of people The 21st Century climate challengeand for many ecosystems the world has already From climate change to stalled security, climate changepassed the danger threshold. Determining what human progress—the transmission could leave an additionalis an acceptable upper-limit target for future mechanisms 600 million facing acuteglobal temperature increases raises fundamental Climate change is global but the effects will bequestions about power and responsibility. The local. Physical impacts will be determined by malnutrition by the 2080sextent to which those facing the greatest risks are geography and microlevel interactions betweenable to articulate their concerns, and the weight global warming and existing weather patterns.attached to their voice, matters a great deal. The immense scope of these impacts makes Yet with all of these caveats any successful generalization difficult: drought-prone areas inclimate change mitigation effort has to start by sub-Saharan Africa will face different problemsestablishing a target. Our starting point is the from flood-prone areas in South Asia. Humangrowing consensus among climate scientists development impacts will also vary as changeson the threshold marker for dangerous climate in climate patterns interact with pre-existingchange. That consensus identifies 2°C (3.6°F) as social and economic vulnerabilities. However,a reasonable upper-bound.16 five specific risk-multipliers for human develop- Beyond this point, the future risks of ment reversals can be identified:catastrophic climate change rise sharply. • Reduced agricultural productivity. AroundAccelerated melting of the Greenland and West three-quarters of the world’s populationAntarctic ice sheets could set in train irreversible living on less than US$1 a day dependprocesses, leading eventually to sea levels rising directly on agriculture. Climate changeby several metres—an outcome that would cause scenarios point to large losses in productivityforced human resettlement on a vast scale. Large for food staples linked to drought andareas of rainforest could be transformed into rainfall variation in parts of sub-Saharansavannah. The world’s already shrinking glaciers Africa and South and East Asia. Projectedwould be set on course for rapid decline. Above the revenue losses for dryland areas in2°C threshold, the pressure on ecological systems sub-Saharan Africa amount to 26 percentsuch as coral reefs and biodiversity would intensify. by 2060, with total revenue losses of US$26Complex carbon on biodiversity feedback effects billion (in constant 2003 terms)—in excess oflinked to the warming of the oceans, the loss of bilateral aid transfers to the region. Throughrainforests and melting ice sheets would accelerate its impact on agriculture and food security,the pace of climate change. climate change could leave an additional Crossing the 2°C threshold would be a step 600 million facing acute malnutrition byacross the boundary that marks significant risk the 2080s over and above the level in aof catastrophic outcomes for future generations. no-climate change scenario.17More immediately, it would trigger setbacks in • Heightened water insecurity. Exceeding thehuman development. Developing countries are at 2°C threshold will fundamentally change thea double disadvantage in this area: they are located distribution of the world’s water resources.in tropical areas that stand to experience some of Accelerated glacial melt in the Himalayasthe most severe early impacts from climate change; will compound already severe ecologicaland agriculture—the sector most immediately problems across northern China, India andaffected—plays a far greater social and economic Pakistan, initially increasing floods beforerole. Above all, they are characterized by high reducing the flow of water to major riverlevels of poverty, malnutrition and disadvantage in systems vital for irrigation. In Latin America,health. The combination of acute deprivation on accelerated melting of tropical glaciers willthe one side, with weak social insurance provision threaten water supplies for urban popu-and limited infrastructural capacity to contain lations, agriculture and hydroelectricity, 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 27
  • 42. 1 Special contribution Climate policy as human developmentThe 21st Century climate challenge How does human development relate to our environmental concerns in general and to climate change in particular? There are well established traditions in policy discussions to make us think of the demands of development and the preservation of the environment in rather antagonistic terms. Attention is often concentrated on the fact that many of the deteriorating environmental trends in the world, including global warming and other disturbing evidence of climate change, are linked with heightened economic activity, such as industrial growth, increased energy consumption, more intensive irrigation, commercial felling of trees, and other activities that tend to correlate with economic expansion. At a superficial level, it may well appear that the process of development is responsible for environmental damage. On the other side, environmental protagonists are frequently accused by development enthusiasts of being ‘anti-development’ since their activism often takes the form of being rather unwelcoming to processes that can raise incomes and reduce poverty—because of their allegedly unfavourable environmental impact. The battle lines may or may not be very sharply drawn, but it is hard to escape the sense of tension that does exist, in varying degrees, between the champions of poverty reduction and development, on one side, and the advocates of ecology and environmental preservation, on the other. Does the human development approach have something to offer to make us understand whether this apparent conflict between development and environmental sustainability is real or imaginary? There is a huge contribution that the human development approach can make by invoking the central perspec- tive of seeing development as the expansion of substantive human freedom, which is indeed the point of departure of the human development approach. In this broader perspective, assessment of development cannot be divorced from considering the lives that people can lead and the real freedoms that they can enjoy. Development cannot be seen merely in terms of enhancement of inanimate objects of convenience, such as a rise in the GNP (or in personal incomes). This is the basic insight that the human development approach brought to the development literature right from the outset of that approach, and this insight is critically important today for clarity regarding environmental sustainability. Once we appreciate the necessity of seeing the world in the broader perspective of the substantive freedoms of human beings, it immediately becomes clear that development cannot be divorced from ecological and environmental concerns. Indeed, important components of human freedoms—and crucial ingredients of our quality of life—are thoroughly dependent on the integrity of the environment, involving the air we breathe, the water we drink, the epidemiological surroundings in which we live, and so on. Development has to be environment-inclusive, and the belief that development and environment must be on a collision course is not compatible with the central tenets of the human development approach. The environment is sometimes misleadingly seen as the state of ‘nature’, reflected by such measures as the extent of forest cover, the depth of the groundwater table, and so on. This understanding, however, is seriously incomplete for two important reasons. First, the value of the environment cannot be just a matter of what there is, but also of the opportunities it actually offers. The impact of the environment on human lives must inter alia be among the relevant considerations in assessing the richness of the environment. Indeed, the visionary report of the World Commission on Environment and Development chaired by Gro Brundtland, Our Common Future (1987), made this clear by focusing on sustaining the fulfilment of human ‘needs’. We can, in fact, go beyond the Brundtland Report’s focus on human needs and bring in the larger domain of human freedoms, since the human development approach requires us to see people not merely as ‘needy’, but as people whose freedom to do what they have reason to do is important and demands sustaining (and if possible expansion). People have reason to satisfy their needs, of course, and the elementary applications of the human development approach (for example what we get from the simple Human Development Index, the HDI) do indeed focus exactly on that. But the domain of freedom can go well beyond that, and the use of the fuller human development perspective can take into account the freedom of people to do things that 28 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
  • 43. Special contribution Climate policy as human development (continued) 1 The 21st Century climate challengeare not governed exclusively by their own needs. Human beings may not, for example, ‘need’ spottedowls in any obvious sense, and yet if they have reason to object to the extinction of such species, thenthe value of their freedom to achieve this deliberated goal can be the basis of a reasoned judgement.Prevention of the extinction of animal species that we human beings want to preserve (not so muchbecause we ‘need’ these animals in any specific way, but because we judge that it is a bad idea tolet existing species disappear forever) can be an integral part of the human development approach.In fact, the preservation of biodiversity is likely to be among the concerns in our responsible thinkingabout climate change. Second, the environment is not only a matter of passive preservation, but also one of active pursuit.We must not think of the environment exclusively in terms of pre-existing natural conditions, since theenvironment can also include the results of human creation. For example, purification of water is a partof improving the environment in which we live. The elimination of epidemics, such as smallpox (whichhas already occurred) and malaria (which ought to occur very soon if we can get our acts together), isa good illustration of an environmental improvement that we can bring about. This positive recognition does not, of course, change the significant fact that the processof economic and social development can, in many circumstances, also have strongly destructiveconsequences. Those unfavourable effects have to be clearly identified and firmly resisted, along withstrengthening the positive and constructive contributions of development. Even though many humanactivities that accompany the process of development may have destructive consequences, it is alsowithin human power to resist and reverse many of these bad consequences if timely action is taken. In thinking about the steps that may be taken to halt environmental destruction we have to searchfor constructive human intervention. For example, greater levels of female education and women’semployment can help to reduce fertility rates, which in the long run can reduce the pressure on globalwarming and the increasing destruction of natural habitats. Similarly, the spread of school educationand improvements in its quality can make us more environmentally conscious. Better communicationand a richer media can make us more aware of the need for environment-oriented thinking. Indeed, the need for public participation in ensuring environmental sustainability is criticallyimportant. It is also crucial not to reduce important issues of human evaluation, which demand reflectionand deliberative social assessment, into narrowly technocratic matters of formulaic calculation. Forexample, consider the ongoing debate on what ‘discount rate’ to use in balancing present sacrificesagainst future security. A central aspect of such discounting is social evaluation of gains and lossesover time. This is at bottom a deeply reflective exercise and a matter for public deliberation, rather thanone for some kind of a mechanical resolution on the basis of some simple formula. Perhaps the most telling concern here comes from the uncertainty that is inescapably associatedwith any future prediction. One reason for being cautious about the ‘best guess’ regarding the future isthe possibility that if we get it wrong, the world we end up with may be extremely precarious. There areeven fears that what can be prevented now may become close to irreversible if no preventive action istaken without delay, no matter how much the future generations might be ready to spend to reverse thecatastrophe. Some of these predicaments may be particularly damaging for the developing world (forexample, the submerging of parts of Bangladesh or the whole of the Maldives due to rising sea levels). These are critically important matters for public consideration and discussion, and the develop-ment of such public dialogue is an important part of the human development approach. The need forsuch public deliberation is as important in dealing with climate change and environmental dangersas it is in tackling more traditional problems of deprivation and continuing poverty. What character-izes human beings—perhaps more than anything else—is our ability to think and to talk to each other,and to decide what to do and then to do it. We need to make good use of this quintessential humancapability as much for reasoned sustaining of the environment as we do for coordinated eradication ofold-fashioned poverty and deprivation. Human development is involved in both. Amartya Sen 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 29
  • 44. 1 By 2080, climate change especially in the Andean region. By 2080, These five drivers for major human could increase the climate change could increase the number of development reversal cannot be viewed in people facing water scarcity around the world isolation. They will interact with each other,The 21st Century climate challenge number of people facing by 1.8 billion.18 and with pre-existing human development water scarcity around • Increased exposure to coastal flooding and problems, creating powerful downward spirals. the world by 1.8 billion extreme weather events. The IPCC forecasts While the processes are already apparent in an increase in extreme weather events.19 many countries, breaching the 2°C threshold Droughts and floods are already the main would mark a qualitative shift: it would mark drivers of a steady increase in climate-related a transition to far greater ecological, social and disasters. On average around 262 million economic damage. people were affected each year between That transition will have important 2000 and 2004, over 98 percent of them implications for long term human development living in developing countries. With an prospects. Climate change scenarios provide a increase in temperatures above 2°C, warmer snapshot of a plausible future. They enable us seas will fuel more violent tropical cyclones. not to predict when or where a specific climate Drought-affected areas will increase in event might happen, but the average probabilities extent, jeopardizing livelihoods and com- associated with emerging climate patterns. promising progress in health and nutrition. From a human development perspec- The world is already committed to rising tive, these are outcomes that can set in sea levels in the 21st Century because of past train dynamic and cumulative processes of emissions. Temperature increases in excess disadvantage. In chapter 2 we set out a model of 2°C would accelerate the rise, causing the that captures this process through detailed widespread displacement of people in analysis of household survey data. The countries such as Bangladesh, Egypt and results powerfully illustrate a hidden dimen- Viet Nam and the inundation of several sion of human costs associated with climate small-island states. Rising sea levels and change. To give one example, Ethiopian more intense tropical storm activity could children who were born in a drought year in increase the number of people experiencing their district are 41 percent more likely than coastal flooding by between 180 million and their counterparts born in a non-drought 230 million.20 year to be stunted. For 2 million Ethiopian • The collapse of ecosystems. All predicted children this translates into diminished species extinction rates accelerate beyond opportunities for the development of human the 2°C threshold, with 3°C marking the capabilities. The important implication is point at which 20–30 percent of species that even a small incremental risk of more would be at ‘high risk’ of extinction. 21 droughts can lead to large human develop- Coral reef systems, already in decline, would ment setbacks. Climate change will create suffer extensive ‘bleaching’ leading to the large incremental risks. transformation of marine ecologies, with large Not all of the human development losses of biodiversity and ecosystem services. costs associated with climate change can be Th is would adversely affect hundreds of measured in terms of quantitative outcomes. millions of people dependent upon fish for At a fundamental level, human development is their livelihoods and nutrition. also about people having a say in the decisions • Increased health risks. Climate change will that affect their lives. In articulating a vision of impact on human health at many levels. development as freedom, the Nobel Laureate Globally an additional 220–400 million Amartya Sen draws attention to the role of people could be at increased risk of malaria. human beings as agents of social change, Exposure rates for sub-Saharan Africa, which emphasizing both “the processes that allow accounts for around 90 percent of deaths, are freedoms of actions and decisions, and actual projected to increase by 16–28 percent.22 opportunities that people have, given their 30 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
  • 45. personal and social circumstances”. 23 Climate 2.6 billion—will have to respond to climate The world is now at or near 1change is a profound denier of freedom of change forces over which they have no control, the warmest level on recordaction and a source of disempowerment. One manufactured through political choices in The 21st Century climate challengesection of humanity—broadly the poorest countries, where they have no voice. in the current interglacial period, which began around 12,000 years ago1.2 Climate science and future scenariosUnderstanding the scientific evidence on climate change. Temperatures in the past half-centurychange is a starting point for understanding have probably been the highest of any 50-yearthe human development challenges of the period for the past 1,300 years. The world is21st Century. There is a vast amount of scientific now at or near the warmest level on recordliterature on the subject. Here we focus on the in the current interglacial period, whichconsensus set out by the IPCC, while drawing began around 12,000 years ago. There isattention to the large areas of uncertainty strong evidence that the process is accelerat-over future outcomes. In looking at the future ing. Eleven of the twelve warmest years sinceunder climate change there are many ‘known 1850 occurred between 1995 and 2006. Overunknowns’—events that can be predicted but the past 100 years the Earth has warmed bywithout any certainty as to their timing or 0.7°C. There are large interannual variations.magnitude. It should come as no surprise that However, on a decade-by-decade basis, thescientists cannot be certain about precisely how linear warming trend for the past 50 yearsthe Earth’s ecological systems will respond to is nearly twice that for the past 100 yearshuman-induced greenhouse gas emissions: we (figure 1.1). 24are living with an experiment that has never There is an overwhelming body of scientificbeen conducted before. evidence linking rising temperatures to increased One of the ‘knowns’ is that we are on a atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and othertrajectory that, if uncorrected, will lead to a very greenhouse gases. The effect of these gases inhigh probability of dangerous climate change the atmosphere is to retain part of the outgoingoutcomes. Those outcomes would provide a solar radiation, thereby raising the temperaturecontinuum from near-term human develop- of the Earth. Th is natural ‘greenhouse effect’ment setbacks to long term ecological disaster. is what keeps our planet habitable: without it, the planet would be 30°C colder. ThroughoutHuman-induced climate change the Earth’s four previous glacial and warming cycles, there has been a high correlationTh roughout its history, the earth has expe- between atmospheric concentrations of CO2rienced oscillations between warm and cool and temperature.25periods. These shift s in climate have been What is different about the currenttraced to a wide variety of ‘climate forcings’, warming cycle is the rapid rate at which CO2including orbital variations, solar fluctuations, concentrations are increasing. Since preindustrialvolcanic activity, water vapour, and the atmo- times, atmospheric CO2 stocks have increasedspheric concentration of greenhouse gases, such by one-third—a rate of increase unprecedentedas CO2 . The changes that we see happening during at least the last 20,000 years. Evidencetoday are occurring at a more rapid rate, with from ice cores shows that current atmosphericstronger magnitudes and patterns that cannot concentrations exceed the natural range of thebe explained by natural cycles. last 650,000 years. The increase in stocks of CO2 Average global surface temperature is has been accompanied by rising concentrationsthe most fundamental measure of climate of other greenhouse gases. 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 31
  • 46. Figure 1.1 Rising CO2 emissions are1 supplemented by natural gas, has transformed pushing up stocks and increasing temperature human societies, providing the energy that has driven vast increases in wealth and productivity.The 21st Century climate challenge 0.9 0.8 0.7 It has also fuelled climate change. Temperature (°C) In recent years there has been a protracted relative to preindustrial levels debate over the attribution of global temperature changes to human activities. 0.1 0.0 Some scientists have argued that natural cycles –0.1 and other forces are more important. However, while natural factors such as volcanic activity 400 and solar intensity can explain much of 375 350 the global temperature trend in the early Atmospheric CO2 concentration 19th Century, they do not explain the rise since 300 (ppm CO2) then. Other candidates for explaining global 275 warming have also been rejected. For example, 250 it has been argued that recent temperature changes can be traced not to greenhouse gases 30 but to increases in the sun’s output and cosmic 25 rays. Detailed research investigating this claim showed that, for the past two decades, the sun’s CO2 emissions output has in fact declined while temperatures (Gt CO2) 5 on Earth have risen. 26 0 Debates on attribution may continue. But the scientific jury came in with the verdict on 1856 1870 1890 1910 1930 1950 1970 1990 2004 the core issues some time ago. That verdict was Source: CDIAC 2007; IPCC 2007a. confirmed in the IPCC’s most recent assessment, which concluded that “it is extremely unlikely that global climate change can be explained While the current warming cycle is not without external forcing”. 27 Put differently, unique in terms of temperature change, it is there is greater than 90 percent likelihood that unique in one important respect: it is the first most of the observed warming is due to human- time that humanity has decisively changed a generated greenhouse gases. cycle. Mankind has been releasing CO2 into the atmosphere through burning and land-use Global carbon accounting—stocks, changes for over 500,000 years. But climate flows and sinks change can be traced back to two great trans- formations in energy use. In the first, water Climate change has provided an important power was replaced by coal—a source of energy reminder of a sometimes forgotten fact. Human condensed by nature over millions of years. It activities take place in ecological systems that are was coal harnessed to new technologies that not marked by national borders. Unsustainable fuelled the industrial revolution, unleashing management of these systems has consequences unprecedented increases in productivity. for the environment and for the well-being of The second great transformation happened people today and in the future. Reduced to 150 years later. Oil had been a source of human its essentials, the threat of dangerous climate energy for millennia: China had oil wells in change is a symptom of unsustainable ecological the 4th Century. However, the harnessing of oil resource management on a global scale. to the internal combustion engine in the early Human energy systems interact with 20th Century marked the start of a revolution global ecological systems in complex ways. in transport. The burning of coal and oil, The burning of fossil fuels, land-use changes 32 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
  • 47. and other activities release greenhouse gases, Take the world’s largest sink—its oceans. These Atmospheric concentrations 1which are continuously recycled between the naturally absorb just 0.1 Gt more CO2 per year of CO2 are on aatmosphere, oceans and land biosphere. Current than they release. Now they are soaking up The 21st Century climate challengeconcentrations of greenhouse gases are the net an extra 2 Gt a year—more than 20 times the sharply rising trendresults of past emissions, offset by chemical natural rate.33 The result is serious ecologicaland physical removal processes. The Earth’s damage. Oceans are becoming warmer andsoils, vegetation and oceans act as large ‘carbon increasingly acidic. Rising acidity attackssinks’. Emissions of CO2 are the primary source carbonate, one of the essential building blocksof increased concentrations. Other long-lived for coral and small organisms at the start of thegreenhouse gases like methane and nitrous marine food chain. Based on current trends,dioxide generated from agricultural activities future carbon dioxide releases could produceand industry, mix with CO2 in the atmosphere. chemical conditions in the oceans that have notThe total warming or ‘radiative forcing’ effect been witnessed in the past 300 million years,is measured in terms of CO2 equivalence, except during brief catastrophic events.34or CO2e. 28 The sustained rate of increase in The future rate of accumulation in greenhouseradiative forcing from greenhouse gases over the gas stocks will be determined by the relationshippast four decades is at least six times faster than between emissions and carbon sinks. There is badat any time before the industrial revolution. news on both fronts. By 2030 greenhouse gas The global carbon cycle can be expressed in emissions are set to increase by between 50 andterms of a simple system of positive and negative 100 percent above 2000 levels.35 Meanwhile, theflows. Between 2000 and 2005 an average of capacity of the Earth’s ecological systems to absorb26 Gt CO2 was released into the atmosphere these emissions could shrink. This is becauseeach year. Of this flow, around 8 Gt CO2 was feedbacks between the climate and the carbonabsorbed into the oceans and another 3 Gt CO2 cycle may be weakening the absorptive capacitywas removed by oceans, land and vegetation. The of the world’s oceans and forests. For example,net effect: an annual increase of 15 Gt CO2 in the warmer oceans absorb less CO2 and rainforestsEarth’s atmospheric stocks of greenhouse gases. could shrink with higher temperatures and Global mean concentration of CO2 in reduced rainfall.2005 was around 379 ppm. Other long-lived Even without taking into accountgreenhouse gases add about 75 ppm to this uncertainties over future carbon absorption westock measured in terms of radiative forcing are heading for a rapid increase in greenhouseeffects. However, the net effect of all human- gas stock accumulation. In effect, we areinduced greenhouse gas emissions is reduced by opening the taps to increase the flow of waterthe cooling effect of aerosols. 29 There are large into an already overflowing bath. The overflowdegrees of uncertainty associated with these is reflected in the rate at which CO2 is enteringcooling effects. According to the IPCC, they are and being locked into the Earth’s atmosphere.roughly equivalent to the warming generated bynon-CO2 greenhouse gases.30 Climate change scenarios—the Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are on known, the known unknowns,a sharply rising trend.31 They are increasing at and the uncertainaround 1.9 ppm each year. For CO2 alone theannual concentration growth rate over the past The world is already committed to future10 years has been around 30 percent faster than climate change. Atmospheric stocks ofthe average for the past 40 years.32 In fact, in greenhouse gases are rising with increases inthe 8,000 years prior to industrialization, atmo- emissions. Total emissions of all greenhousespheric CO2 increased by only 20 ppm. gases amounted to around 48 Gt CO2 e in Current rates of absorption by carbon sinks 2004—an increase of one-fi ft h since 1990.are sometimes confused with the ‘natural’ rate. Rising concentrations of greenhouse gasesIn reality, carbon sinks are being overwhelmed. mean that global temperatures will continue 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 33
  • 48. 1 to increase over time. The rate of increase and requires that emissions must be reduced to the the ultimate level of temperature change will point at which they are equivalent to the rate at be determined by concentrations of CO2 and which CO2 can be absorbed through naturalThe 21st Century climate challenge other greenhouse gases. processes, without damaging the ecological Climate models cannot predict specific systems of the carbon sinks. The longer that events associated with global warming. What emissions remain above this level, the higher they can do is simulate ranges of probability the point at which accumulated stocks will for average temperature change. While the stabilize. Over the long term, the Earth’s natural modelling exercises themselves are enormously capacity to remove greenhouse gases without complex, one simple conclusion emerges: sustaining damage to the ecological systems following current trends concentrations of of carbon sinks is probably between 1 and 5 greenhouse gases could commit the world Gt CO2 e. With emissions running at around to climate change at levels far above the 2°C 48 Gt CO2 e, we are currently overloading threshold. the Earth’s carrying capacity by a factor of between 10 and 50. The world is warming If emissions continue to rise following cur- One of the early pioneers of climate science, the rent trends then stocks will be increasing at 4–5 Swedish physicist Svante Arrenhuis, predicted ppm a year by 2035—almost double the current with surprising accuracy that a doubling of rate. Accumulated stocks will have risen to 550 CO2 stocks in the Earth’s atmosphere would ppm. Even without further increases in the rate raise average global temperatures between of emissions, stocks of greenhouse gases would 4 and 5°C—a marginal overestimate according reach over 600 ppm by 2050 and 800 ppm by to recent IPCC models.36 Less accurately, the end of the 21st Century.37 Arrhenuis assumed that it would take around The IPCC has developed a family of six 3,000 years for atmospheric concentrations to scenarios identifying plausible emissions path- double over preindustrial levels. On current ways for the 21st Century. These scenarios are trends that point, around 550 ppm, could be differentiated by assumptions about population reached by the mid-2030s. change, economic growth, energy use patterns Future temperature increases will depend and mitigation. None of the scenarios points on the point at which stocks of greenhouse to stabilization below 600 ppm and three are gases stabilize. At whatever level, stabilization associated with greenhouse gas concentrations of 850 ppm or above. Table 1.1 Temperature ranges rise with CO ² stocks — The relationship between stabilization projections for 2080 point and temperature change is uncertain. The IPCC scenarios have been used to identify a set IPCC scenarios Relative to Relative to 1980–1999 preindustrial of possible ranges for 21st Century temperature average temperature (°C) temperature (°C) change, with a ‘best-estimate’ indicator within Constant year 2000 concentrations 0.6 (0.3–0.9) 1.1 each range (table 1.1 and figure 1.2). That best B1 scenario 1.8 (1.1–2.9) 2.3 estimate is between 2.3°C and 4.5°C (factoring A1T scenario 2.4 (1.4–3.8) 2.9 in the 0.5°C increase from the start of the B2 scenario 2.4 (1.4–3.8) 2.9 industrial era to 1990).38 With the doubling of A1B scenario 2.8 (1.7–4.4) 3.3 atmospheric concentrations, the IPCC projects A2 scenario 3.4 (2.0–5.4) 3.9 a temperature increase of 3°C as the most likely A1FI scenario 4.0 (2.4–6.4) 4.5 outcome with the rider that “values substantially Note: IPCC scenarios describe plausible future patterns of population growth, economic growth, technological change and associated CO2 higher than 4.5°C cannot be excluded.” 39 emissions. The A1 scenarios assume rapid economic and population growth combined with reliance on fossil fuels (A1FI), non-fossil energy In other words, none of the IPCC scenarios (A1T) or a combination (A1B). The A2 scenario assumes lower economic growth, less globalization and continued high population growth. The B1 and B2 scenarios contain some mitigation of emissions, through increased resource efficiency and technology improvement (B1) and point to a future below the 2°C threshold for through more localized solutions (B2). Source: IPCC 2007a. dangerous climate change. 34 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
  • 49. Figure 1.2 Global temperature forecast: three IPCC scenarios overshooting the 2°C dangerous climate 1 change threshold.40 • Stabilization at 650 ppm carries a probability The 21st Century climate challenge Mean surface warming projections (°C) of between 60 and 95 percent of exceeding 3°C. Some studies predict a 35–68 percent 4 3.5 likelihood of overshooting 4°C.41 • At around 883 ppm, well within the IPCC Uncertainty range non-mitigation scenario range, there would 3 2.5 be a 50 percent chance of exceeding a 5°C temperature increase.42 Probability ranges are a complex device for Dangerous climate change 2 1.5 capturing something of great importance for the future of our planet. An increase in average global temperature in excess of 2–3°C would bring with it enormously damaging ecological, 1 0.5 social and economic impacts. It would also create a heightened risk of catastrophic impacts, acting as a trigger for powerful feedback effects 0 –0.5 from temperature change to the carbon cycle. Relative to preindustrial levels Relative to 1990 levels Temperature increases above 4–5°C would 2000 2025 2050 2075 2100 amplify the effects, markedly increasing the probability of catastrophic outcomes IPCC scenario A1B IPCC scenario A2 in the process. In at least three of the IPCC IPCC scenario B1 scenarios, the chances of exceeding a 5°C Note: IPCC scenarios describe plausible future pat terns of population grow th, economic grow th, technological change increase are greater than 50 percent. Put and associated CO 2 emissions. The A1 scenarios assume rapid economic and population grow th combined with reliance on fossil differently, under current scenarios, there is fuels ( A1FI ) , non-fossil energy ( A1T ) or a combination ( A1B ) . The A 2 scenario assumes lower economic grow th, less a far stronger likelihood that the world will globalization and continued high population grow th. The B1 and B2 scenarios contain some mitigation of emissions, through overshoot a 5°C threshold than keep within increased resource ef ficiency and technology improvement ( B1) the 2°C climate change threshold. and through more localized solutions ( B2 ) . One way of understanding these risks is to Source: IPCC 2007a. reflect on what they might mean in the lives of ordinary people. We all live with risks. AnybodyHeading for dangerous climate change who drives a car or walks down a street faces aIn two important respects the IPCC’s best- very small risk of an accident that will createestimate range for the 21st Century might serious injury. If the risk of such an accidentunderstate the problem. First, climate change increased above 10 percent most people wouldis not just a 21st Century phenomenon. think twice about driving or taking a stroll:Temperature adjustments to rising concentra- a one in ten chance of serious injury is not ations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases will negligible risk. If the odds on a serious accidentcontinue to take place in the 22nd Century. increased to 50:50, the case for embarking uponSecond, IPCC best-estimates do not rule out serious risk reduction measures would becomethe possibility of higher levels of climate change. overwhelming. Yet we are on a greenhouseAt any given level of stabilization, there is a proba- gas emission course that makes dangerousbility range for exceeding a specified temperature. climate change a virtual certainty, with a veryIllustrative probability ranges identified in high risk of crossing a threshold for ecologicalmodelling work include the following: catastrophe. This is an overwhelming case for• Stabilization at 550 ppm, which is below risk reduction, but the world is not acting. the lowest point on the IPCC scenarios, In the course of one century or slightly would carry an 80 percent probability of more, there is a very real prospect that current 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 35
  • 50. 1 Today, we are living with trends will see global temperatures increase by power station, designed by Thomas Edison the consequences of the more than 5°C. That figure approximates the and opened in lower Manhattan in 1882. increase in average temperature that has taken Today, we are living with the consequencesThe 21st Century climate challenge greenhouses gases emitted place since the end of the last ice age some 10,000 of the greenhouses gases emitted by earlier by earlier generations—and years ago. During that age, most of Canada and generations—and future generations will live future generations will live large areas of the United States were under ice. with the consequences of our emissions. The giant Laurentide glacier covered much of • Stocks, flows and stabilization. There are no with the consequences the north-east and north-central United States rapid rewind buttons for running down of our emissions with ice several miles deep. The retreat of that stocks of greenhouse gases. People living at ice created the Great Lakes and scoured-out the end of the 21st Century will not have the new land formations, including Long Island. opportunity to return in their lifetime to a Much of northern Europe and north-west Asia world of 450 ppm if we continue on a busi- were also covered in ice. ness-as-usual path. The accumulated stock Comparisons between 21st Century climate of greenhouse gases that they inherit will change and the transition from the last ice age depend on the emissions pathway that links should not be overstated. There is no direct anal- the present to the future. Keeping emissions ogy for the warming processes now underway. at current levels would not reduce stocks be- However, geological evidence strongly suggests cause they exceed the absorptive capacity of that temperature changes on the scale and at the the Earth’s carbon sinks. Stabilizing emis- pace of those now underway could culminate in sions at 2000 levels would increase stocks by transformations of the Earth’s geography, along over 200 ppm by the end of the 21st Century. with marked changes in the distribution of spe- Because of cumulative processes, the rate of cies and human geography. emissions reduction required to meet any sta- Probability ranges for temperature change bilization goal is very sensitive to the timing associated with greenhouse gas concentrations and the level of the peak in global emissions. help to identify targets for mitigation. By changing The later and the higher the peak, the deeper the flow of emissions we can alter the rate at which and the more rapid the cuts needed to achieve stocks of greenhouse gases accumulate and hence a specified stabilization target. the probabilities of overshooting specific tempera- • Climate systems respond slowly. By the late ture targets. However, the relationship between 21st Century, actions taken today will be greenhouse gas flows, accumulated stocks and the major factor affecting climate change. future temperature scenarios is not simple. Long However, mitigation efforts today will not time-lags between today’s actions and tomorrow’s produce significant effects until after 2030.43 outcomes are built into the system. Policies for The reason: changing emission pathways climate change mitigation have to deal with does not produce a simultaneous response powerful forces of inertia that have an important in climate systems. The oceans, which have bearing on the timing of mitigation. absorbed about 80 percent of the increase in • Current emissions define future stocks. Basic global warming, would continue to rise, and chemistry is one force of inertia. When CO2 ice sheets would continue melting under any is released into the atmosphere it stays there a medium-term scenario. long time. Half of every tonne emitted remains in the atmosphere for a period of between Uncertain future and ‘nasty several centuries and several thousand years. surprises’—catastrophic risk under What this means is that traces of the CO2 climate change released when the first coal-powered steam Rising global average temperature is a predict- engines designed by John Newcomen were able climate change outcome. It is one of the operating in the early 18th Century are still ‘knowns’ that emerge from climate modelling in the atmosphere. So are traces of the emis- exercises. There is also a wide range of ‘known sions generated by the world’s first coal-fired unknowns’. These are predictable events with 36 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
  • 51. large areas of uncertainty attached to their recent models provide evidence pointing to Uncertain but significant 1timing and magnitude. Uncertain but signifi- processes that could “increase the vulnerability risks of catastrophiccant risks of catastrophic outcomes are part of of the ice-sheets to warming”.45 The 21st Century climate challengethe emerging climate change scenario. outcomes are part of These uncertainties are of more than passing The IPCC’s fourth assessment draws academic concern. Consider first the evidence the emerging climateattention to a wide range of uncertainties linked on the melting of ice sheets and rising sea levels. change scenarioto potentially catastrophic events. Two such So far, the rise in sea level has been dominatedevents have figured prominently in debates by thermal expansion due to increased tem-on climate change. The first is a reversal of the peratures rather than glacial melt—but thismeridional overturning circulation (MOC), could change. For humanity as a whole, thethe vast conveyor of warm water in the Atlantic accelerated disintegration and eventual demiseOcean. The heat transported by the Gulf Stream of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheetsis equivalent to around 1 percent of humanity’s are perhaps the greatest of all the threats linkedcurrent energy use.44 As a result of this heat to climate change. Recent evidence suggeststransport, Europe is up to 8°C warmer, with the that warming ocean waters are now thinninglargest effects apparent in winter. It is the threat some West Antarctic ice shelves by severalto the comparatively mild European climate, as metres a year. The area of Greenland on whichwell as climate concerns elsewhere, that has given summer melting of ice took place has increasedrise to worries about the future of the MOC. by more than 50 percent during the past 25 years. Additional fresh water flowing into the Concern over the fate of Antarctic ice shelves hasNorth Atlantic as a result of glacial melting has been gathering since the enormous Larsen B icebeen identified as a potential force for shutting shelf collapsed in 2002. Several more ice shelvesdown or slowing the MOC. Switching off the have broken up rapidly in recent years.46Gulf Stream would put northern Europe on One of the reasons for uncertainty aboutcourse for an early ice age. While the IPCC the future is that ice sheet disintegration, unlikeconcludes that a large abrupt transition is very ice sheet formation, can happen very rapidly.unlikely in the 21st Century, it warns that According to one of the world’s most prominent“longer-term changes in the MOC cannot be climate scientists working at the North Americanassessed with confidence”. Moreover, the likeli- Space Agency (NASA), a business-as-usualhood range for an abrupt transition is still 5–10 scenario for ice sheet disintegration in the 21stpercent. While this may be “very unlikely” in Century could yield sea level rises in the order ofterms of the IPCC’s statistical accounting, the 5 metres this century. Note that this does not takemagnitude of the threat and the considerable into account accelerated melting of the Greenlanduncertainty that surrounds it make a powerful ice sheet, the complete elimination of whichcase for precautionary behaviour in the interests would add around 7 metres to sea levels.47 Theof future generations. IPCC sets out what can be thought of as a lowest The same applies to rising sea levels. The common denominator consensus. However, itsIPCC scenarios point to rises of between 20 and assessment of the risks and uncertainties does not60 centimetres by the end of the 21st Century. include recent evidence of accelerated melting,That is more than a marginal change. Moreover, nor does it factor in the possibility of large-scale,the fourth assessment acknowledges that “larger but imperfectly understood, carbon cycle effects.values cannot be excluded.” Outcomes will The upshot is that the headline risk numbers maydepend upon complex ice formation and melting err on the side of understatement.processes, and on wider carbon cycle effects. The The ‘known unknowns’ surrounding risingIPCC anticipates the continuing contraction of sea levels are a particularly striking examplethe great ice sheet in Greenland as a source of of threats facing the whole of humanity.rising sea levels, with uncertainty over the future The one certainty is that current trends and pastof the ice sheets of Antarctica. However, in the evidence are a weak guide to the future. Climatecase of Antarctica the IPCC acknowledges that change could trigger a range of ‘surprises’: 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 37
  • 52. 1 rapid, non-linear responses of the climate system of humanity that would not have to await the to human-induced forcing (box 1.1). advanced disintegration of ice sheets to experi- Climate scientists have drawn a distinction ence catastrophe under these conditions. PreciseThe 21st Century climate challenge between ‘imaginable surprises’, which are currently numbers can be debated, but for the poorest 40 seen as possible but unlikely (deglaciation of polar percent of the world’s population—around 2.6 ice sheets or MOC reversals are examples) and ‘true billion people—we are on the brink of climate surprises’, or risks that have not been identified change events that will jeopardize prospects for because of the complexity of climate systems.48 human development. We will develop this point Feedback effects between climate change and the further in chapter 2. carbon cycle, with changes in temperature giving rise to unpredictable outcomes, are the source of Risk and uncertainty as a case these potential surprises. for action There is growing evidence that natural carbon How should the world respond to the uncer- absorption will weaken as temperatures rise. tainties associated with climate change? Modelling by the Hadley Centre suggests that Some commentators argue for a ‘wait-and-see’ climate change feedback effects could reduce the approach, with the mitigation effort to be scaled absorptive capacity consistent with stabilization up in light of developments. The fact that the at 450 ppm by 500 Gt CO2 , or 17 years of IPCC’s assessment and wider climate science global emissions at current levels.49 The practical point to uncertain risks with low probabilities of consequence of carbon cycle feedback effects is global catastrophe in the medium term is cited as that emissions may need to peak at lower levels or grounds for delayed action. be cut more rapidly, especially at higher levels of Such responses fail a number of public greenhouse gas concentrations. policy tests for the development of climate The focus on potentially catastrophic out- change mitigation strategies. Consider first the comes should not divert attention from the response to the range of possibilities identi- more immediate risks. There is a large section fied by climate science. These ranges are not a Box 1.1 Feedback effects could accelerate climate change There are many positive feedback effects that could transform climate The interaction between climate change and the carbon sink change scenarios for the 21st Century. High levels of uncertainty about capacity of rainforests provides another example of positive positive feedback effects are reflected in IPCC scenario projections. feedback uncertainties. Rainforests can be thought of as vast Multiple feedbacks have been observed in ice sheet disintegra- ‘carbon banks’. Trees in the Amazon region of Brazil alone store tion. One example is the ‘albedo flip’—a process that occurs when 49 billion tonnes of carbon. Another 6 billion tonnes is stored in snow and ice begin to melt. Snow-covered ice reflects back to Indonesia’s forests. As global temperatures rise, changing climate space most of the sunlight that strikes it. When surface ice melts, patterns could generate processes that will lead to the release of darker wet ice absorbs more solar energy. The meltwater produced large amounts of carbon from these reservoirs. burrows through the ice sheet, lubricating its base, and speeding Rainforests are already contracting at an alarming rate the discharge of icebergs into the ocean. As an ice sheet discharges in the face of commercial pressures, illegal logging and other more icebergs into the ocean, it loses mass and its surface sinks activities. Under a business-as-usual scenario, climate models to a lower altitude, where the temperature is warmer, causing it to forecast temperatures in most of the Amazon region rising melt even faster. Meanwhile, warming oceans add yet another posi- by 4–6°C by 2100. This could convert up to 30 percent of tive feedback to this process, melting the offshore accumulation the Amazon rain forest into a type of dry savannah, according of ice—ice shelves—that often form a barrier between ice sheets to research carried out under the auspices of Brazil’s National and the ocean. Space Research Institute. Such an outcome would in turn drive The accelerated melting of permafrost in Siberia with global warm- up net global emissions of CO 2. Because rainforests recycle ing is another concern. This could release vast amounts of methane— at least half of rainfall back into the atmosphere, accelerated a highly potent greenhouse gas—into the atmosphere, which would deforestation would also increase drought and fuel the spread of increase warming and the rate at which permafrost melts. savannah areas. Source: FAO 2007b; Hansen 2007a, 2007b; Houghton 2005; Nobre 2007; Volpi 2007. 38 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
  • 53. justification for inaction. They are an invitation grounds for inaction but as evidence of the case In a one-country world 1to assess the nature of identified risks and to for acting with resolve to reduce the risks. inhabited by citizens whodevelop strategies for risk mitigation. As a group In a world of many countries at vastly The 21st Century climate challengeof eminent United States military leaders has different levels of development there is a shared a concern forargued, no commander in the field would look complementary case for urgent action. That case the well-being of futureat risks comparable to those posed by climate is first of all rooted in considerations of social generations, climatechange and decide not to act because of uncer- justice, human rights and ethical concern fortainty: “We cannot wait for certainty. Failing the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. change mitigation wouldto act because a warning is not precise enough Millions of these people are already dealing be an urgent priorityis not acceptable.” 50 with the early impacts of climate change. These The nature of the risks associated with impacts are already slowing human progressclimate change uncertainties reinforces that and all plausible scenarios point to more of theassessment on three counts. First, these are same, and worse. Because mitigation will have arisks that threaten the whole of future genera- limited influence on climate change for severaltions of humanity with catastrophic outcomes. decades, investment in adaptation should beThe sea level rises that would accompany the seen as part of the insurance policy for thecollapse of the ice sheets on Greenland and world’s poor.the West Antarctic would overwhelm the Both mitigation and adaptation should beflood defences of even the richest countries, seen as human security imperatives in a broadersubmerging large areas of Florida and much sense. Dangerous climate change, and theof the Netherlands, as well as inundating the ecological damage that will follow in its wake,Ganges Delta, Lagos and Shanghai. Second, threatens to cause massive human displacementthe outcomes associated with the risks are and the collapse of livelihoods on a vast scale.irreversible: the West Antarctic ice sheet The ripple effects would extend far beyond thecannot be restored by future generations. localities of those most immediately affected.Th ird, uncertainty cuts both ways: there is as Associated outcomes will extend from themuch chance of outcomes being more malign movement of displaced people across nationalas there is of them being more benign. borders to the potential collapse of fragile states. In a one-country world inhabited by citi- In an interdependent world, no country wouldzens who shared a concern for the well-being of be immune to the consequences. Of course,future generations, climate change mitigation many rich countries might seek to protect theirwould be an urgent priority. It would be viewed citizens against climate insecurity throughas an insurance policy against catastrophic risk investment in flood defences and other actions.and as an imperative rooted in considerations However, the anger and resentment that wouldof cross-generational equity. Uncertainty in be felt by those most immediately affectedthis one-country world would be viewed not as would create wider insecurities.1.3 From global to local—measuring carbon footprintsin an unequal worldFor global carbon accounting purposes whether the marginal tonne of CO2 comesthe world is a single country. The Earth’s from a coal-fired power plant, from a car,atmosphere is a common resource without or from a loss of carbon sinks in tropicalborders. Emissions of greenhouse gases mix rainforests. Similarly, when greenhouse gasesfreely in the atmosphere over time and space. enter the Earth’s atmosphere they are notIt makes no difference for climate change segmented by country of origin: a tonne of 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 39
  • 54. 1The 21st Century climate challenge CO2 from Mozambique is the same weight as National and regional footprints— a tonne of CO2 from the United States. the limits to convergence While each tonne of carbon dioxide carries equal weight, the global account masks large Most human activities—fossil fuel variations in contributions to overall emissions combustion for power generation, transport, from different sources. All activities, all land-use changes and industrial processes— countries and all people register in the global generate emissions of greenhouse gases. That carbon account—but some register far more is one of the reasons why mitigation poses such heavily than others. In this section we look at daunting challenges. the carbon footprint left by emissions of CO2 . The breakdown of the distribution of Differences in the depth of carbon footprints greenhouse gas emissions underlines the scope can help to identify important issues of equity of the problem (figure 1.3). In 2000, just over and distribution in approaches to mitigation half of all emissions came from the burning and adaptation. of fossil fuels. Power generation accounted for around 10 Gt CO2e, or around one-quarter of Figure 1.4 Rich countries dominate the cumulative emissions account the total. Transport is the second largest source of energy-related CO2e emissions. Over the past Share of global CO 2 emissions, 1840–2004 (%) three decades, energy supply and transport have 30 increased their greenhouse gas emissions by 25 145 and 120 percent respectively. The critical role of the power sector in global emissions is 20 not fully captured by its current share. Power 15 generation is dominated by capital-intensive infrastructural investments. Those investments 10 create assets that have a long lifetime: power 5 plants opening today will still be emitting CO2 in 0 50 years time. United Russian China Germany United Japan France India Canada Poland Land-use change also plays an important States Federation a Kingdom role. Deforestation is by far the largest source a. Includes a share of USSR emissions proportional to the Russian Federation’s current share of CIS emissions. of CO2 emissions in this context, releasing Source: CDIAC 2007. sequestered carbon into the atmosphere as a 40 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
  • 55. result of burning and loss of biomass. Data in this European Union (EU), China and India— 1area are more uncertain than for other sectors. would encompass a large share of the totalHowever, best estimates suggest that around 6 flow of emissions. The 21st Century climate challengeGt CO2 are released annually.51 According to Much has been made of the convergence inthe IPCC, the share of CO2 originating from emissions between developed and developingdeforestation ranges between 11 and 28 percentof total emissions.52 Figure 1.5 Global CO2 emissions are highly concentrated One of the conclusions to emerge from Share of globalthe sectoral analysis of carbon footprints CO 2 emissions, 2004 (%)is that mitigation aimed at reducing CO2 100 Australiaemissions from power generation, transport and Austria Afghanistan Belgium Angoladeforestation is likely to generate high returns. Canada Bangladesh National carbon footprints can be Czech Republic Benin Denmark Bhutanmeasured in terms of stocks and f lows. 90 Finland Burkina Faso France BurundiNational footprint depth is closely related Germany Cambodiato historic and current energy use patterns. Others Greece Cape Verde Hungary Central AfricanWhile the aggregate footprint of the Iceland Republic 80 Irelanddeveloping world is becoming deeper, historic Chad Italy Comorosresponsibility for emissions rests heavily with Japan Congo, Dem. Korea, Rep. of Rep. of thethe developed world. Luxembourg Djibouti Rich countries dominate the overall 70 Mexico Equatorial Guinea Netherlands Eritreaemissions account (figure 1.4). Collectively, New Zealand Austria Ethiopia Italy Norway Belgiumthey account for about 7 out of every 10 tonnes Bulgaria Gambia Korea, Rep. of Poland Guineaof CO2 that have been emitted since the start United Kingdom Portugal Cyprus Guinea-Bissau Slovakia Czech Republic Haitiof the industrial era. Historic emissions 60 Canada Spain Canada Denmark Kiribatiamount to around 1,100 tonnes of CO2 per Germany Sweden France Estonia Lao Peoples Switzerland Germany Finland Democratic Rep.capita for Britain and America, compared Turkey Italy France Lesotho Japan United Kingdom Germany Liberiawith 66 tonnes per capita for China and 23 United States Japan Greece 50 Russian Madagascartonnes per capita for India.53 These historic India Federation Hungary Malawi United Kingdom Ireland Maldivesemissions matter on two counts. First, as OECD United States Italy Malinoted earlier, cumulative past emissions Russian Latvia Mauritania Federation Lithuania Mozambiquedrive today’s climate change. Second, the Luxembourg Myanmar 40 G8 Malta Nepalenvelope for absorbing future emissions is a Netherlands Nigerresidual function of past emissions. In effect, Poland Rwanda Portugal Samoathe ecological ‘space’ available for future Romania Sao Tome and China Slovakiaemissions is determined by past action. 30 Principe Slovenia Senegal Turning from stocks to flows produces a Spain Sierra Leone Sweden Solomon Islandsdifferent picture. One striking feature of that United Kingdom Somaliapicture is that emissions are highly concen- Sudan 20 Timor-Lestetrated in a small group of countries (fi gure Togo EU1.5). The United States is the largest emitter, Tuvalu Ugandaaccounting for around one-fi ft h of the total. Tanzania, United Rep. ofCollectively, the top five—China, India, United States Vanuatu 10Japan, the Russian Federation and the United Yemen ZambiaStates —account for more than half; the topten for over 60 percent. While climate change LDCsis a global problem, national and multilateral 0action involving a relatively small group of Source: CDIAC 2007.countries or groupings—such as the G8, the 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 41
  • 56. 1 countries. At one level, the process of convergence 0.8–2.5 billion tonnes of carbon were released is real. Developing countries account for a to the atmosphere through fires in peat forests.56 rising share of global emissions. In 2004, they In Indonesia, land-use change and forestryThe 21st Century climate challenge accounted for 42 percent of energy-related CO2 are estimated to release about 2.5 Gt CO2 e emissions, compared to around 20 percent in annually—around six times the emissions 1990 (appendix table). China may be about to from energy and agriculture combined.57 For overtake the United States as the world’s largest Brazil, emissions linked to land use changes emitter and India is now the world’s fourth account for 70 percent of the national total. largest emitter. By 2030 developing countries Convergence in aggregate emissions is are projected to account for just over half of sometimes cited as evidence that develop- total emissions.54 ing countries as a group need to embark on Factoring in deforestation reconfi gures rapid mitigation. That assessment overlooks the global CO2 emissions league table. If some important considerations. Developing the world’s rainforests were a country, that country participation will be required if global country would stand at the top of the world’s mitigation is to succeed. However, the extent of league table for CO2 emissions. Taking into convergence has been heavily overstated. account just emissions from deforestation, With just 15 percent of the world population, Indonesia, would rank as the third largest rich countries account for 45 percent of CO2 source of annual CO2 emissions (2.3 Gt CO2) emissions. Sub-Saharan Africa also accounts with Brazil ranking fi ft h (1.1 Gt CO2).55 There for around 11 percent of the world population, are large interannual variations in emissions, but represents 2 percent of global emissions. making it difficult to compare countries. Low income countries as a group account for In 1998, when El Niño events triggered severe one-third of the world’s population but for just droughts in South-east Asia, an estimated 7 percent of emissions. Map 1.1 Mapping the global variation in CO2 emissions Russian Federation United States 1.5 Gt CO2 6.0 Gt CO2 China 5.0 Gt CO2 European Union 4.0 Gt CO2 Japan 1.3 Gt CO2 Latin America North Africa 1.4 Gt CO2 0.5 Gt CO2 India 1.3 Gt CO2 Sub-Saharan Africa 0.7 Gt CO2 Energy-related CO2 emissions, 2004 (Gt CO2) Each country’s size is relative to its annual CO2 emissions World total The size of this square equals 1 Gt CO2 29.0 Gt CO2 Note: The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply offical endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations. Dotted lines represent approximately the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir agreed upon by India and Pakistan. The final status of Jammu and Kashmir has not yet been agreed upon by the parties. Source: Mapping Worlds 2007, based on data from CDIAC. 42 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
  • 57. Figure 1.6 Rich countries—Inequalities in carbon the world’s largest emitter of CO2 , per capita 1 deep carbonfootprinting—some people walk emissions are just one-fi ft h of the size. Emis- footprintsmore lightly than others sions from India are on a rising trend. Even The 21st Century climate challenge so, its per capita carbon footprint is less than CO 2 emissions (t CO 2 per capita )Differences in the depth of carbon footprints are one-tenth of that in high-income countries. In 2004linked to the history of industrial development. Ethiopia, the average per capita carbon foot- 1990But, they also reflect the large ‘carbon debt’ print is 0.1 tonnes, compared with 20 tonnesaccumulated by rich countries—a debt rooted in Canada. The per capita increase in emissions United Statesin the over-exploitation of the Earth’s atmo- since 1990 for the United States (1.6 tonnes) 20.6sphere. People in the rich world are increasingly is higher than the total per capita emissions 19.3concerned about emissions of greenhouse gases for India in 2004 (1.2 tonnes). The overallfrom developing countries. They tend to be less increase in emissions from the United Statesaware of their own place in the global distribu- exceeds sub-Saharan Africa’s total emissions.tion of CO2 emissions (map 1.1). Consider the The per capita increase for Canada since 1990 Canadafollowing examples: (5 tonnes) is higher than per capita emissions 20.0 15.0• The United Kingdom (population 60 for China in 2004 (3.8 tonnes). million) emits more CO2 than Egypt, The distribution of current emissions Nigeria, Pakistan, and Viet Nam combined points to an inverse relationship between Russian (total population 472 million). climate change risk and responsibility. The Federation 10.6• The Netherlands emits more CO2 than world’s poorest people walk the Earth with 13.4 (1992) Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay and a very light carbon footprint. We estimate the seven countries of Central America the carbon footprint of the poorest 1 billion combined. people on the planet at around 3 percent of United Kingdom• The state of Texas (population 23 million) the world’s total footprint. Living in vulner- 9.8 10.0 in the United States registers CO2 emissions able rural areas and urban slums, the poorest of around 700 Mt CO2 or 12 percent of the billion people are highly exposed to climate United States’ total emissions. That figure change threats for which they carry negligible France 6.0 is greater than the total CO2 footprint left responsibility. 6.4 by sub-Saharan Africa—a region of 720 million people. The global energy divide China 3.8• The state of New South Wales in Australia Inequalities in aggregate and per capita carbon 2.1 (population 6.9 million) has a carbon footprints are intimately related to wider footprint of 116 Mt CO2 . Th is figure is inequalities. They mirror the relationship between Egypt 2.3 1.5 comparable to the combined total for economic growth, industrial development Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and access to modern energy services. That Morocco, Nepal and Sri Lanka. relationship draws attention to an important Brazil 1.8 1.4• The 19 million people living in New York human development concern. Climate change State have a higher carbon footprint than the and the curtailment of excessive fossil fuel use Viet Nam 1.2 0.3 146 Mt CO2 left by the 766 million people may be the greatest challenge of the 21st Century, living in the 50 least developed countries. but an equally urgent and more immediate India 1.2 0.8Extreme inequalities in national carbon footprints challenge is the expanded provision of affordable Nigeria 0.9 0.5reflect disparities in per capita emissions. Adjusting energy services to the world’s poor.CO2 emission accounts to factor in these disparities Living without electricity affects many Bangladesh 0.3 0.1demonstrates the very marked limits to carbon dimensions of human development. Energy Tanzania 0.1 0.1convergence (figure 1.6). services play a critical role not just in supporting Ethiopia 0.1 0.1 Carbon footprint convergence has been economic growth and generating employment,a limited and partial process that has started but also in enhancing the quality of people’s Source: CDIAC 2007.from different emission levels. While China lives. Around 1.6 billion people in the worldmay be about to overtake the United States as lack access to such services (figure 1.7). Most 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 43
  • 58. 1 modern energy services in 2030 if current trends continue (box 1.2).60 Currently some 2.5 billion people depend on biomass (figure 1.8).The 21st Century climate challenge Changing this picture is vital for human development. The challenge is to expand access to basic energy services while limiting increases in the depth of the developing world’s per capita carbon footprint. Enhanced efficiency in energy use and the development of low-carbon technologies hold the keys, as we show in chapter 3. There are overwhelming practical and equitable grounds for an approach that ref lects past responsibility and current capabilities. Mitigation responsibilities live in sub-Saharan Africa,58 where only around and capabilities cannot be derived from the one-quarter of people use modern energy arithmetic of carbon footprinting. Even so, services, and South Asia. that arithmetic does provide some obvious The vast global deficit in access to basic insights. For example, if everything else were energy services has to be considered alongside equal, a cut of 50 percent in CO2 emissions concerns over the rise in CO2 emissions from for South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa would developing countries. Emissions of CO2 from reduce global emissions by 4 percent. Similar India may have become a matter of global reductions in high-income countries would concern for climate security. That perspective reduce emissions by 20 percent. The equity is very partial. The number of people in India arguments are equally compelling. An average living without access to modern electricity air-conditioning unit in Florida emits more is around 500 million—more than the total CO2 in a year than a person in Afghanistan population of the enlarged European Union. or Cambodia during their lifetime. And These are people who live without so much as a an average dishwasher in Europe emits as light bulb in their homes and rely on firewood much CO2 in a year as three Ethiopians. Figure 1.8 Biomass dependence or animal dung for cooking.59 While access to While climate change mitigation is a global continues in energy is increasing across the developing world, challenge, the starting place for mitigation many countries progress remains slow and uneven, holding back is with the countries that carry the bulk of Traditional fuel consumption advances in poverty reduction. Worldwide, there historic responsibility and the people that (% of total energy requirements) will still be 1.4 billion people without access to leave the deepest footprints. Bangladesh 1.4 Avoiding dangerous climate change—a sustainable Afghanistan emissions pathway Zambia Mozambique Niger Climate change is a global problem that has to chart an emissions pathway consistent demands an international solution. The starting with the objective of avoiding dangerous Tanzania, (United Republic of) point must be an international agreement on climate change. Ethiopia the limitation of greenhouse gas emissions. In this section we set out such a pathway. 0 25 50 75 100 Strategies for limitation have to be developed We start by identifying a global carbon budget at a national level. What is required at the for the 21st Century. The concept of a carbon Source: Calculated on the basis of data on traditional fuel consumption and total international level is a framework that sets budget is not new. It was developed by the archi- energy requirement from UN 2007c. limits on overall emissions. That framework tects of the Kyoto Protocol and has been taken 44 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
  • 59. Box 1.2 Millions are denied access to modern energy services 1 “Our day starts before five in the morning as we need to collect depend on firewood and dung for cooking and heat, pollution The 21st Century climate challenge water, prepare breakfast for the family and get our children ready from unprocessed biofuels accounts for some 17 percent of for school. At around eight, we start collecting wood. The journey is child deaths. Electrification is often associated with wider several kilometres long. When we cannot get wood we use animal advances in health status. For example, in Bangladesh, rural dung for cooking—but it is bad for the eyes and for the children.” electrification is estimated to increase income by 11 percent— Elisabeth Faye, farmer, aged 32, Mbour, Senegal and to avert 25 child deaths for every 1000 households In most rich countries access to electricity is taken for granted. connected. At the flick of a switch the lights come on, water is heated and food • Gender. Women and young girls have to allocate large amounts is cooked. Employment and prosperity are supported by the energy of time to the collection of firewood, compounding gender systems that sustain modern industry, drive computers and power inequalities in livelihood opportunities and education. Collecting transport networks. fuelwood and animal dung is a time-consuming and exhausting For people like Elisabeth Faye access to energy has a very task, with average loads often in excess of 20kg. Research different meaning. Collecting wood for fuel is an arduous and time- in rural Tanzania has found that women in some areas walk consuming activity. It takes 2–3 hours a day. When she is unable 5–10 kilometres a day collecting and carrying firewood, with to collect wood, she has no choice but to use animal dung for loads averaging 20kg to 38kg. In rural India, average collection cooking—a serious health hazard. times can amount to over 3 hours a day. Beyond the immediate In developing countries there are some 2.5 billion people like burden on time and body, fuelwood collection often results in Elisabeth Faye who are forced to rely on biomass—fuelwood, young girls being kept out of school. charcoal and animal dung—to meet their energy needs for • Economic costs. Poor households often spend a large share cooking (figure 1.8). In sub-Saharan Africa, over 80 percent of the of their income on fuelwood or charcoal. In Guatemala and population depends on traditional biomass for cooking, as do over Nepal, wood expenditure represents 10–15 percent of total half of the populations of India and China. household expenditure in the poorest quintile. Collection Unequal access to modern energy is closely correlated time for fuelwood has significant opportunity costs, limiting with wider inequalities in opportunities for human development. opportunities for women to engage in income generating Countries with low levels of access to modern energy systems figure activities. More broadly, inadequate access to modern energy prominently in the low human development group. Within countries, services restricts productivity and helps keep people poor. inequalities in access to modern energy services between rich and • Environment. Deficits in access to modern energy can create a poor and urban and rural areas interact with wider inequalities in vicious circle of environmental, economic and social reversal. opportunity. Unsustainable production of charcoal in response to rising urban Poor people and poor countries pay a high price for deficits in demand has placed a huge strain on areas surrounding major modern energy provision: cities such as Luanda in Angola and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. • Health. Indoor air pollution resulting from the use of solid fuels In some cases, charcoal production and wood collection has is a major killer. It claims the lives of 1.5 million people each contributed to local deforestation. As resources shrink, dung year, more than half of them below the age of five: that is 4000 and residues are diverted to fuel use instead of being ploughed deaths a day. To put this number in context, it exceeds total back into fields, undermining soil productivity. deaths from malaria and rivals the number of deaths from Expanded access to affordable electricity for the poor remains tuberculosis. Most of the victims are women, children and the an overarching development priority. Current projections show that rural poor. Indoor air pollution is also one of the main causes the number of people relying on biomass will increase over the of lower respiratory tract infections and pneumonia in children. next decade and beyond, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. This In Uganda, children under the age of five are reported to suffer will compromise progress towards several MDGs, including those 1–3 episodes of acute respiratory tract infection annually. relating to child and maternal survival, education, poverty reduction In India, where three in every four households in rural areas and environmental sustainability. Source: IEA 2006c; Kelkar and Bhadwal 2007; Modi et al. 2005; Seck 2007b; WHO 2006; World Bank 2007b.up by some governments (chapter 3). In effect, Because the emissions that drive the accumula-the carbon budget is akin to a financial budget. tion of greenhouse gas stocks are cumulativeJust as financial budgets have to balance spend- and long-lived, we have to set an expenditureing against resources, so carbon budgets have framework that spans decades rather thanto balance greenhouse gas emissions against years.ecological capacity. However, carbon budgets There are further parallels between finan-have to operate over a very long time-horizon. cial budgeting and carbon budgeting. When 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 45
  • 60. 1 Our carbon budget has households or governments set budgets they Keeping within 2°C—the ‘fifty–fifty’ a single goal: keeping target a range of objectives. Households have to point avoid unsustainable spending patterns or face In our simulation we set the bar at the lowestThe 21st Century climate challenge average global temperature the prospect of debt. Government budgets are reasonable level. That is, we identify the level increases (over preindustrial geared towards a range of public policy goals of greenhouse gas stocks consistent with an levels) below 2°C in areas such as employment, inflation and approximately even chance of avoiding dan- economic growth. If public spending exceeds gerous climate change. Th is level is around revenues by large margins, the consequences 450 ppm CO2e. It might be argued that this are reflected in large fiscal deficits, inflation and is insufficiently ambitious: most people would the accumulation of debt. Ultimately, budgets not stake their future well-being on the toss of are about living within the bounds of financial a coin. However, stabilizing at 450 ppm CO2e sustainability. will entail a sustained global effort. Setting the bar above our target would Carbon budgeting for lengthen the odds on avoiding dangerous a fragile planet climate change. At greenhouse gas stock levels of 550 ppm CO2e the likelihood of overshooting Carbon budgets defi ne the bounds of eco- the dangerous climate change threshold of logical sustainability. Our carbon budget has a 2°C increases to around 80 percent (figure single goal: keeping average global temperature 1.9). Opting for a 550 ppm CO2e target would increases (over preindustrial levels) below 2°C. be taking a gamble at very long odds on the The rationale for this goal is, as we have seen, future of the planet and 21st Century human rooted in climate science and human develop- development prospects. In fact, there would be ment imperatives. Climate science identifies a one-in-three chance of overshooting 3°C. 2°C as a potential ‘tipping point’ for long-run catastrophic outcomes. More immediately, it Figure 1.9 The risk of dangerous climate represents a ‘tipping point’ for large scale human change rises with greenhouse development reversals during the 21st Century. gas stocks Remaining within the 2°C threshold should Probability of exceeding a 2ºC temperature increase (%) be seen as a reasonable and prudent long term objective for avoiding dangerous climate change. 100 Very Many governments have adopted that objective. 90 likely Sustainable carbon budget management should 80 Likely be seen as a means to that end. What is the upper limit on greenhouse gas 70 emissions for a world committed to avoiding dan- 60 gerous climate change? We address that question Medium by using simulations carried out at the Potsdam 50 likelihood Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). 40 Stabilization of greenhouse gas stocks requires a balance between current emissions 30 and absorption. A specific stabilization target 20 Unlikely can be achieved through a number of possible 10 emission trajectories. In broad terms, emissions Very unlikely can peak early and decline gradually, or they 0% 350 400 450 500 550 600 650 700 750 can peak later and decline more rapidly. If the CO2e stabilization level (ppm) aim is to avoid dangerous climate change, the Note: Data refer to the highest, lowest and midpoint estimate starting point is to identify a stabilization target resulting from several dif ferent climate models. For details see Meinshausen 2007. consistent with the world staying within the Source: Meinshausen 2007. 2°C dangerous climate change threshold. 46 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
  • 61. The emerging consensus that climate change debts will be inherited by future generations, who 1must be limited to a 2°C ceiling sets an ambi- will have to compensate at great human and finan-tious but achievable goal. Realising that goal cial cost for our actions and also face the threats The 21st Century climate challengewill require concerted strategies to limit the posed by dangerous climate change.accumulation of greenhouse gas stocks to 450 The second part of the budget story is equallyppm. While there is uncertainty at the margin, stark. It is that time is running out. The fact thatthis remains the most plausible best-estimate the carbon budget is set to expire between 2032for a sustainable carbon budget. and 2042 does not mean we have two or three If the world were a single country, it would decades to act. Once the critical threshold hasbe implementing a recklessly extravagant and been reached, there is no way back to a moreunsustainable carbon budget. If that budget secure climate option. Moreover, emissionswere a fi nancial budget the government of pathways cannot be changed overnight. Theythat country would be running a large fiscal require extensive reforms in energy policies anddeficit, exposing its citizens to hyperinflation behaviour implemented over several years.and unsustainable debt. The lack of prudencein carbon budgeting can best be described by How many planets?looking across the whole century. On the eve of India’s independence, Mahatma We use the PIK simulations to address Gandhi was asked whether he thought thethis task. Our approach focuses on fossil country could follow the British model offuel-related CO 2 emissions because these industrial development. His response retainsare of the most direct relevance to policy a powerful resonance in a world that has todebates on climate change mitigation. It redefine its relation to the earth’s ecology: “Itidentifies a level of emissions consistent with took Britain half the resources of this planet toavoiding dangerous climate change. Brieflysummarized, the 21st Century budget amountsto 1,456 Gt CO2 , or around 14.5 Gt CO2 Figure 1.10 The 21st Century carbon budget is set for early expiryon a simple annual average basis. 61 Current Cumulative total CO2 emissions (Gt CO2)emissions are running at twice this level. Put 1in financial budget terms, expenditure is 7,000outstripping income by a factor of two. 1 IPCC s cenar io A1Fl 2 2 IPCC s cenar io A2 The bad news is that things are worse than 6,000 3 IPCC s cenar io A1B 4 IPCC s cenar io B2they look because emissions are rising with 5 IPCC s cenar io A1T 3population growth and economic growth. 5,000 6 IPCC s cenar io B1 7 S us t ainable emis sio nsUsing IPCC scenarios, the 21st Century budget pat hway 4,000consistent with avoiding dangerous climate 4 5change could expire as early as 2032, or in 2042 6 3,000under more benign assumptions (figure 1.10). Carbon budget to avoid dangerous climate change 2,000Scenarios for climate security— 1,456 7time is running out 1,000These projections tell an important story in two 0 2000 2032 2042 2100parts. The first part relates to basic budget manage-ment. As a global community, we are failing the Note: IPCC scenarios describe plausible future pat terns of population grow th, economic grow th, technologicalmost basic tests of sound budget practice. In effect, change and associated CO 2 emissions. The A1 scenarios assume rapid economic and population grow th combined with reliance on fossil fuels ( A1FI ) , non-fossil energy ( A1T ) or a combination ( A1B ) . The A 2 scenariowe are spending our monthly pay cheque in 10 assumes lower economic grow th, less globalization and continued high population grow th. The B1 and B2 scenarios contain some mitigation of emissions, through increased resource ef ficiency and technologydays. Today’s energy use and emission patterns are improvement ( B1) and through more localized solutions ( B2 ) .running down the Earth’s ecological assets, and Source: Meinshausen 2007.running up unsustainable ecological debts. Those 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 47
  • 62. 1 achieve its prosperity. How many planets will The challenge is to develop a global carbon India require for development?” budget that charts an equitable and sustainable We ask the same question for a world edging course away from dangerous climate change.The 21st Century climate challenge towards the brink of dangerous climate change. Using the annual ceiling of 14.5 Gt CO2 , if Charting a course away from emissions were frozen at the current level of 29 dangerous climate change Gt CO2 we would need two planets. However, We use the PIK model to identify plausible some countries are running a less sustainable pathways for keeping within the 2°C threshold. account than others. With 15 percent of the One pathway treats the world as a single country, world population, rich countries are using 90 which for carbon accounting purposes it is, percent of the sustainable budget. How many then identifies targets for rationing or ‘burden planets would we need if developing countries sharing’. However, the viability of any system of were to follow the example of these countries? burden sharing depends on participants in the If every person living in the developing system perceiving the distribution of rations world had the same carbon footprint as the av- to be fair. The UNFCCC itself acknowledges erage for high income countries, global CO2 this through an injunction to “protect the emissions would rise to 85 Gt CO2—a level climate system…on the basis of equity and in that would require six planets. With a global accordance with…common but differentiated per capita footprint at Australian levels, we responsibilities and respective capabilities.” would need seven planets, rising to nine for a While interpretation of that injunction is world with Canada and United States levels of a matter for negotiation, we have distinguished per capita emissions (table 1.2). between industrialized countries and develop- The answer to Gandhi’s question raises some ing countries, charting separate pathways for wider questions about social justice in climate the two groups. The results are summarized in change mitigation. As a global community, figure 1.11. The cuts from a 1990 base-year we are running up a large and unsustainable on our sustainable emissions pathway are as carbon debt, but the bulk of that debt has been follows: accumulated by the world’s richest countries. • The world. Emissions for the world will have to be reduced by around 50 percent by 2050, Table 1.2 Global carbon footprints at OECD levels with a peak around 2020. Emissions would would require more than one planet a fall towards zero in net terms by the end of CO2 emissions Equivalent global CO2 Equivalent number of the 21st Century. per capita (t CO2 ) emissions (Gt CO2 ) sustainable carbon • Developed countries. High-income coun- 2004 2004 b budgets c tries would have to target an emissions peak World d 4.5 29 2 between 2012 and 2015, with 30 percent cuts Australia 16.2 104 7 by 2020 and at least 80 percent cuts by 2050. Canada 20.0 129 9 • Developing countries. While there would be France 6.0 39 3 large variations, major emitters in the devel- Germany 9.8 63 4 oping world would maintain a trajectory of Italy 7.8 50 3 rising emissions to 2020, peaking at around Japan 9.9 63 4 80 percent above current levels, with cuts of Netherlands 8.7 56 4 20 percent against 1990 levels by 2050. Spain 7.6 49 3 United Kingdom 9.8 63 4 Contraction and convergence— United States 20.6 132 9 sustainability with equity a. As measured in sustainable carbon budgets. b. Refers to global emissions if every country in the world emitted at the same per capita level as the specified country. We emphasize that these are feasible pathways. c. Based on a sustainable emissions pathway of 14.5 Gt CO2 per year. They are not specific proposals for individual d. Current global carbon footprint. Source: HDRO calculations based on Indicator Table 24. countries. Yet the pathways do serve an important purpose. Governments are embarking 48 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
  • 63. Figure 1.11 Halving emissions by 2050 could avoid dangerous climate change 1 The 21st Century climate challenge +100% 1 2 3 IPCC scenarios 1 IPCC s cenar io A1F l 2 IPCC s cenar io A2 3 IPCC s cenar io A1B 4 IPCC s cenar io B2 5 IPCC s cenar io A1T 4 6 IPCC s cenar io B1 5 +50% 6 Greenhouse gas emissions, CO 2e (% of 1990 emissions) 1990 = 0% Sustainable emissions pathways Developing countries –50% World 50% chance <2°C Peaking 500ppm CO 2e Developed Stabilization 450ppm CO 2e countries –100% 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 2060 Note: IPCC scenarios describe plausible future pat terns of population grow th, economic grow th, technological change and associated CO 2 emissions. The A1 scenarios assume rapid economic and population grow th combined with reliance on fossil fuels ( A1FI ) , non-fossil energy ( A1T ) or a combination ( A1B ) . The A 2 scenario assumes lower economic grow th, less globalization and continued high population grow th. The B1 and B2 scenarios contain some mitigation of emissions, through increased resource ef ficiency and technology improvement ( B1) and through more localized solutions ( B2 ) . Source: Meinshausen 2007.on negotiations for the multilateral framework But the corollary would be far deeper cutsto succeed the current Kyoto Protocol following required over a reduced time horizon. In ourthe expiry of the current commitment period view that would be a prescription for failurein 2012. The PIK simulations identify the scale because costs would rise and adjustmentsof emission reductions that will be required would become even more difficult. Anotherto put the world on a pathway that avoids scenario could be drawn up in which somedangerous climate change. There are various major Organisation for Economic Co-opera-trajectories that could be adopted to achieve the tion and Development (OECD) countries do2050 targets. What our sustainable emissions not participate in quantitative carbon budget-pathway does is to emphasize the importance of ing. Such an approach would all but guaranteelinking near-term and long term goals. failure. Given the magnitude of emission The emissions pathways also serve to high- reductions required in the OECD countries,light the importance of early and concerted it is unlikely that participating countriesaction. In theory starting points for carbon would be able to compensate for the non-emission reductions could be pushed back. participation of major emitters. Even if they 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 49
  • 64. 1 did, it is unlikely that they would embrace an argues that every person in the world ought to enjoy agreement that allowed ‘free riding’. an equivalent right to emit greenhouse gases, with Participation of the developing world in countries that exceed their quota compensatingThe 21st Century climate challenge quantitative reductions is equally vital. In some those that underutilize their entitlement. Although respects, our ‘two-country’ model oversimplifies proposals in this framework are often couched in the issues to be addressed in negotiations. The terms of rights and equity, it is not clear that they developing world is not homogenous: the United have a rights-based foundation: the presumed Republic of Tanzania is not in the same position ‘right to emit’ is clearly something different than as China, for example. Moreover, what matters the right to vote, the right to receive an education is the overall volume of emission reductions. or the right to enjoy basic civil liberties.62 At a From a global carbon budget perspective, practical level, attempts to negotiate a ‘pollution deep reductions in sub-Saharan Africa carry rights’ approach is unlikely to gain broad support. negligible weight relative to reductions in major Our pathway is rooted in a commitment to achieve emitting countries. a practical goal: namely, the avoidance of dangerous However, with developing countries climate change. The route taken requires a process accounting for nearly half of worldwide emis- of overall contraction in greenhouse gas flows and sions, their participation in any international convergence in per capita emissions (figure 1.12). agreement is increasingly important. At the same time, even high growth developing Urgent action and delayed countries have pressing human development response—the case for adaptation needs that must be taken into account. So too Deep and early mitigation does not offer a short- must the very large ‘carbon debt’ that the rich cut for avoiding dangerous climate change. Our countries owe the world. Repayment of that sustainable emissions pathway demonstrates the debt and recognition of human development importance of the time lag between mitigation imperatives demand that rich countries cut actions and outcomes. Figure 1.13 captures the emissions more deeply and support low-carbon lag. It compares the degree of warming above transitions in the developing world. preindustrial levels associated with the IPCC’s We acknowledge that many other emissions’ non-mitigation scenarios, with the anticipated pathways are possible. One school of thought warming if the world stabilizes greenhouse gas stocks at 450 ppm CO2e. Temperature divergence Figure 1.12 Contracting and converging to a sustainable future begins between 2030 and 2040, becoming more emphatically marked after 2050, by which time Emissions per capita for stabilization at 450 ppm CO 2e (t CO 2 per capita) all but one of the IPCC scenarios breach the 2°C 18 Developed and transition countries dangerous climate change threshold. 16 Developing countries The timing of the temperature divergence 14 12 World draws attention to two important public policy 10 issues. First, even the stringent mitigation 8 implied by our sustainable emissions pathway 6 will not make a difference to world temperature 4 trends until after 2030. Until then, the world 2 in general and the world’s poor in particular 0 will have to live with the consequences of past 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 2060 2070 2080 2090 2100 emissions. Dealing with these consequences Note: IPCC scenarios describe plausible future pat terns of population grow th, economic grow th, technological while maintaining progress towards the MDGs change and associated CO 2 emissions. The A1 scenarios assume rapid economic and population grow th combined with reliance on fossil fuels ( A1FI ) , non-fossil energy ( A1T ) or a combination ( A1B ) . The A 2 scenario and building on that progress after 2015 is a assumes lower economic grow th, less globalization and continued high population grow th. The B1 and B2 matter not for mitigation but for adaptation. scenarios contain some mitigation of emissions, through increased resource ef ficiency and technology improvement ( B1) and through more localized solutions ( B2 ) . Second, the real benefits of mitigation will Source: Meinshausen 2007. build cumulatively across the second half of the 21st Century and beyond. 50 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
  • 65. Figure 1.13 Stringent mitigation does not deliver early results achieving specific mitigation goals, our 2°C 1 threshold is a far more stringent target than those assessed in most of these studies. While The 21st Century climate challenge Surface warming projections (°C) our sustainable climate pathway may be desir- able, is it affordable? 4 We address that question by drawing on an approach that combines quantitative results Uncertainty range from a large number of models in order to 3 investigate the costs of achieving specified stabi- lization outcomes.63 These models incorporate dynamic interactions between technology and Dangerous climate change 2 investment, exploring a range of scenarios for achieving specified mitigation targets. 64 We use them to identify global costs for achieving a target of 450 ppm CO2e. 1 Emissions of CO2 can be cut in several ways. Increased energy efficiency, reduced demand for carbon-intensive products, changes in the 0 energy mix—all have a role to play. Mitigation 2000 2025 2050 2075 2100 costs will vary according to how reductions are Relative to preindustrial levels achieved and the time frame for achieving them. They arise from fi nancing the development Sustainable emissions pathway (for illustrative purposes only) IPCC scenario A1B and deployment of new technologies and from IPCC scenario A2 IPCC scenario B1 the cost to consumers of switching to lower- Note: IPCC scenarios describe plausible future pat terns of emissions goods and services. In some cases, population grow th, economic grow th, technological change and associated CO 2 emissions. The A1 scenarios assume rapid major reductions can be achieved at low cost: economic and population grow th combined with reliance on fossil increased energy efficiency is an example. fuels ( A1FI ) , non-fossil energy ( A1T ) or a combination ( A1B ) . The A 2 scenario assumes lower economic grow th, less In others initial costs can generate benefits over globalization and continued high population grow th. The B1 and B2 scenarios contain some mitigation of emissions, through the longer term. Deployment of a new generation increased resource ef ficiency and technology improvement ( B1) and through more localized solutions ( B2 ) . of efficient, low-emission coal-fired power Source: IPCC 2007a and Meinshausen 2007. stations might fit in this category. Gradually reducing the flow of greenhouse gases over time is a lower-cost option than abrupt change. One important implication is that the moti- Modelling work carried out for this Reportvation for urgent mitigation has to be informed estimates the costs of stabilization at 450 ppmby a concern for future generations. The world’s CO2e under various scenarios. Expressed inpoor will face the most immediate adverse terms of headline dollars, the figures are veryimpacts of temperature divergence. By the end large. However, the costs of action are spreadof the 21st Century, with some of the IPCC over many years. In a simple reference scenario,scenarios pointing to temperature increases of averaging out these costs produces a figure4–6°C (and rising), humanity as a whole will of around 1.6 percent of annual world GDPbe facing potentially catastrophic threats. between now and 2030.65 That is not an insignificant investment. ItThe cost of a low-carbon would be wrong to underestimate the massivetransition—is mitigation affordable? effort required to stabilize CO2e emissions close to 450 ppm. However, the costs have to be putSetting carbon budgets is an exercise that has in perspective. As the Stern Review powerfullyimplications for financial budgets. While there reminded the world’s governments, they havehave been many studies looking at the cost of to be evaluated against the costs of inaction. 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 51
  • 66. 1 Measured in economic The 1.6 percent of global GDP required to achieve above are perfectly plausible—and political terms the case for the 450 ppm targets for CO2e represents less than leaders need to communicate the uncertainties two-thirds of global military expenditures. In the of financing for a 2°C climate change threshold.The 21st Century climate challenge stringent mitigation makes context of OECD countries, where government At the same time, it is also possible that costs good business sense expenditure typically represents 30 to 50 percent could be lower. International emissions trading of GDP, the stringent mitigation goals hardly and the integration of carbon taxation into wider appear unaffordable, especially if expenditures environmental tax reforms have the potential to in other areas—such as military budget and drive down mitigation costs.67 agricultural subsidies—can be reduced. All governments have to assess the financial The human and ecological costs of dangerous implications of achieving climate change miti- climate change cannot readily be captured in gation targets. Multilateral climate protection simple cost–benefit analysis. However, measured architecture will be left on an insecure founda- in economic terms the case for stringent mitiga- tion if it is not rooted in financial commitments. tion makes good business sense. Over the long The 1.6 percent of average global GDP required term the costs of inaction will be larger than the for stringent mitigation implies a claim on costs of mitigation. Estimating the costs of climate scarce resources. But the alternatives are not change impacts is intrinsically difficult. With cost-free. Political debate on fi nancing must warming of 5–6°C economic models that include also address the question of whether dangerous the risk of abrupt and large-scale climate change climate change is an affordable option. point to losses of 5 to 10 percent of global GDP. That question goes to the heart of the twin Poor countries could suffer losses in excess of 10 case for urgent action set out in this chapter. Given percent.66 Catastrophic climate change impacts the momentous nature of the catastrophic ecologi- could push the losses above this level. Reducing cal risks that will accompany dangerous climate the risk of catastrophic outcomes is one of the change, 1.6 percent of global GDP might be seen most powerful arguments for early investment in as a small price to pay on an insurance policy to mitigation to achieve the 450 ppm target. protect the well-being of future generations. Given It has to be emphasized that there are large that the same investment has the potential to margins of uncertainty in any assessment of prevent large-scale and very immediate reversals mitigation costs. Most obviously, the cost struc- in human development for millions of the more tures for future low-carbon technologies, the vulnerable people across the world, the cross- timing of their introduction, and other factors generational and the cross-country social justice are unknown. Higher costs than those indicated imperatives are mutually reinforcing. 1.5 Business-as-usual—pathways to an unsustainable climate future Trend is not destiny and past performance can be of a 21st Century carbon budget. The Protocol a weak guide to future outcomes. In the case of cli- provides a multilateral framework that mate change that is unequivocally a good thing. If sets limits on greenhouse gas emissions. the next 20 years look like the past 20 the battle Negotiated under the auspices of the against dangerous climate change will be lost. UNFCCC, it took 5 years to reach an agreement—and another 8 years before that Looking back—the world since 1990 agreement was ratified by enough countries to become operational. 68 The headline target for Experience under the Kyoto Protocol provides greenhouse gas emissions cuts was 5 percent some important lessons for the development from 1990 levels. 52 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
  • 67. Measured in terms of aggregate global emis- energy revolution that shaped the industrial Looking ahead, the 1sions the Kyoto protocol did not set particularly revolution. Even without climate change, scenarios for future energyambitious targets. Moreover, quantitative ceil- the future of fossil-fuel energy systems The 21st Century climate challengeings were not applied to developing countries. would be the subject of intense debate. use and emissions pointThe decisions of Australia and the United Energy security—broadly defined as access to unmistakably towardsStates not to ratify the protocol further limited reliable and affordable supplies—is an increasingly a dangerous climatethe size of the intended cuts. The implication prominent theme on the international agenda.of these exceptions can be illustrated by refer- Since 2000, oil prices have increased by a future, unless the worldence to energy-related CO2 emissions. From factor of five in real terms, to around US$70 changes coursethe 1990 base year the commitment madeunder the Kyoto protocol translates into a Figure 1.14 Some developed countries2.5 percent reduction of energy-related CO2 far short of Kyoto commitments and targetsemissions in real terms by the 2010/2012target date.69 Kyoto 2008–2012 greenhouse gas Delivery against the targets has been emissions target (% of 1990 emissions)disappointing so far. In 2004, overall Greenhouse gas emissions, 2004 (% of 1990 emissions) agreenhouse emissions for Annex I coun-tries were 3 percent below 1990 levels.70However, the headline figure masks two S Spain 49major problems. First, since 1999 overall n Canadaemissions have been on a rising trend, rais-ing questions about whether the overall Australiab rtarget will be achieved. Second, there are United Statesb alarge variations in country performance(figure 1.14). Much of the overall decline can Italybe traced to deep reductions in emissions in theRussian Federation and other transition a Japaneconomies—in some cases in excess of 30 a Netherlandspercent. This outcome owes less to energypolicy reform than to the effects of deep Belgium geconomic recession in the 1990s. Emissions European Union nare now rising with economic recovery.As a group, non-transition Annex I par- Franceties—broadly the OECD—have increasedemissions by 11 percent from 1990 to 2004 k Denmark(box 1.3). United Kingdom iLooking ahead—locked on y Germanya rising trajectory PolandLooking back, trends since the 1990 Russian F Federationreference-point for the Kyoto Protocolare cause for concern. Looking ahead, the –55.3 Ukrainescenarios for future energy use and emissions –40 –20 0 20 40point unmistakably towards a dangerousclimate future, unless the world changes a. Excludes emissions from land use changes. b. Australia and the United States have signed but not ratified the Kyotocourse. Protocol and so are not bound by its targets. Changing course will require a shift Source: EEA 2006 and UNFCCC 2006.in energy use patterns as far-reaching as the 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 53
  • 68. 1 Box 1.3 Developed countries have fallen short of their Kyoto commitments The Kyoto Protocol was a fi rst step in the multilateral response following droughts. In Italy, the primary driver of increasedThe 21st Century climate challenge to climate change. It set targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions has been the transport sector. emissions against 1990 levels by 2010–2012. With governments • Canada agreed under the Kyoto Protocol to target a 6 percent embarking on negotiations for the post-2012 multilateral cut in emissions. In the event, emissions have increased by framework that will build on the current commitment period, it is 27 percent and the country is now around 35 percent above important that lessons are learned. its Kyoto target range. While greenhouse gas intensity has There are three particularly important lessons. The fi rst is fallen, effi ciency gains have been swamped by an increase in that the level of ambition matters. Targets adopted under the fi rst emissions from an expansion in oil and gas production. Net commitment period were modest, averaging around 5 percent emissions associated with oil and gas exports have more for developed countries. The second lesson is that binding than doubled since 1990. targets matter. Most countries are off track for delivering on • Japan’s emissions in 2005 were 8 percent above 1990 levels. their Kyoto commitments. The third lesson is that the multilateral The Kyoto target was for a 6 percent reduction. On current framework has to cover all major emitting nations. Under the trends it is projected that the country will miss its target by current Protocol, two major developed countries—Australia around 14 percent. While emissions from industry have fallen and the United States—signed the agreement but did not ratify marginally since 1990, large increases have been registered it, creating an exemption for the targets. There are also no in emissions from transportation (50 percent for passenger quantitative targets for developing countries. vehicles) and the residential sector. Household emissions have While it is too early to deliver a fi nal verdict on outcomes grown more rapidly than the number of households. under the Kyoto protocol, the summary record to date on • The United States is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol but it has emissions without land-use changes is not encouraging. Most not ratified the treaty. If it had, it would have been required to 68 countries are off track. Moreover, emissions’ growth has reduce its emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2010. strengthen since 2000. Overall emissions have increased by 16 percent. By 2010 Among the preliminary outcomes: projected emissions are 1.8 Gt above 1990 levels on a rising • The European Union made average emission reduction trend. Emissions have grown across all major sectors despite commitments of 8 percent under Kyoto. Actual cuts have a 21 percent decline in greenhouse gas intensity of the United amounted to around 2 percent and European Environment States’ economy, as measured by the ratio of greenhouse gas Agency projections suggest that current policies will leave this emissions to GDP. picture unchanged by 2010. Emissions from the transport sector • Like the United States, Australia did not ratify the Kyoto increased by one-quarter. Emissions from electricity and heat Protocol. Overall emissions have grown at around twice the rate generation increased by 6 percent. Large increases in renewable that would have been required had the country participated, energy supply will be required to meet the Kyoto targets, but the with emissions rising by 21 percent since 1990. High levels European Union is falling short of the investments needed to of dependence on coal-fired power generation contributed to meet its own target of 20 percent provision by 2020. large increases in the energy sector, with CO2 emissions rising • The United Kingdom has surpassed its Kyoto target of a 12 by over 40 percent. percent emissions reduction, but is off track to meet a national Looking to the post-2012 period, the challenge is to forge an target to reduce emissions by 20 percent against 1990 levels. international agreement that engages all major emitting countries Most of the reduction was achieved before 2000 as a result in a long term effort to achieve a sustainable carbon budget for the of industrial restructuring and market liberalization measures 21st Century. There is little that governments can do today that will that led to a switch from carbon-intensive coal to natural gas. have significant effects on emissions between 2010 and 2012: like Emissions increased in 2005 and 2006 as a result of switching oil tankers, energy systems have large turning circles. from natural gas and nuclear to coal (chapter 3). What is needed now is a framework for beating dangerous • Germany’s emissions were 17 percent lower in 2004 than in climate change. That framework will have to provide a far longer 1990. Reductions reflect deep cuts from 1990 to 1995 following time-horizon for policymakers, with short term commitment reunification and industrial restructuring in East Germany (over periods linked to medium-term and long term goals. For 80 percent of the total reduction), supplemented by a decline developed countries, those goals have to include emission in emissions from the residential sector. reductions of around 30 percent by 2020 and at least 80 percent • Italy and Spain are far off track for their Kyoto targets. In Spain by 2050—consistent with our sustainable emissions pathway. emissions have increased by almost 50 percent since 1990, Reductions by developing countries could be facilitated through with strong economic growth and increased use of coal power fi nancial and technology transfer provisions (chapter 3). Source: EEA 2006; EIA 2006; Government of Canada 2006; IEA 2006c; Government of the United Kingdom 2007c; Ikkatai 2007; Pembina Institute 2007a. 54 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
  • 69. per barrel. While prices may retreat, a return to oil and natural gas is a ‘dash for coal’. Th is There is more than 1the low levels of the late 1990s is unlikely. Some is the world’s cheapest, most widely dispersed enough affordable fossilcommentators interpret these market trends as and most CO2-intensive fossil fuel: for each The 21st Century climate challengeevidence to support the ‘peak oil’ thesis—the unit of energy generated, coal generates around fuel available to take theidea that production is in long-run decline 40 percent more CO2 than oil and almost 100 world over the threshold oftowards the exhaustion of known reserves.71 In percent more than natural gas. Moreover, coal dangerous climate changeparallel to these market developments, political figures very prominently in the current andconcern over the security of energy supplies has future energy profi les of major CO2 emittersmounted in the face of growing terrorist threats, such as China, Germany, India and the Unitedpolitical instability in major exporting regions, States. Experience in the transition economieshigh-profi le disruptions in supply, and disputes points to wider problems. Consider the directionbetween importers and exporters.72 of energy policy in the Ukraine. Over the past 10 to 15 years coal has been steadily replaced byEnergy security and climate security cheaper (and less polluting) imported natural—pulling in different directions? gas. However, with the interruption of suppliesThe energy security background is important from the Russian Federation in early 2006 andfor climate change mitigation strategies. the doubling of import prices, the UkrainianHowever, hopes that rising prices for fos- government is considering a shift back towardssil fuels will automatically trigger an early coal.75 The case demonstrates the way in whichtransition to a low-carbon future are likely to national energy security may confl ict withprove misplaced. Proponents of the ‘peak oil’ global climate security goals.argument overstate their case. New supplies Energy demand scenarios confirm thatare almost certainly going to be more costly rising fossil fuel prices are not pushingand more difficult to extract and deliver, the world towards a sustainable emissionsraising the marginal price of a barrel of oil over pathway. Demand is projected to increasetime. Yet the world will not run out of oil any by half between now and 2030, with over 70time soon: proven reserves could cover four percent of the increase coming from developingdecades of current consumption and much more countries.76 These projections suggest thatmay be discovered.73 The bottom line is that the world will spend around US$20 trillionthere is more than enough affordable fossil fuel between 2005 and 2030 in meeting thoseavailable to take the world over the threshold of demands. Much of that investment is stilldangerous climate change. being directed towards carbon-intensive With current technologies, exploita- infrastructures that will still be generatingtion of even a small fraction of the Earth’s energy—and emitting CO2 —in the secondvast reservoir of fossil fuels would guarantee half of the 21st Century. The consequencessuch an outcome. Whatever the pressure on can be assessed by comparing energy-relatedconventional oil sources, proven reserves CO2 emission scenarios developed by theof oil slightly exceed the volume used since International Energy Agency (IEA) and the1750. In the case of coal, known reserves IPCC with our sustainable emissions pathwayare around 12 times post-1750 use. Using simulations:just half of the world’s known coal reserves • Our sustainable emissions pathway pointsduring the 21st Century would add around to a trajectory that requires a 50 percent400 ppm to atmospheric stocks of green- cut in greenhouse gas emissions worldwidehouse gases, guaranteeing dangerous climate by 2050 against 1990 levels. The IEAchange in the process.74 The availability of fos- scenario, in contrast, points to an increasesil fuel reserves underlines the case for prudent of around 100 percent. Between 2004carbon budget management. and 2030 alone, energy-related emissions Current market trends reinforce that case. are projected to increase by 14 Gt CO2 ,One possible response to the rise in prices for or 55 percent. 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 55
  • 70. 1 • While our sustainable emissions including agriculture, changes in land use, pathway points to an indicative tar- and waste, and a wider range of greenhouse get of cuts in the range of at least 80 gases. These scenarios point to emissionThe 21st Century climate challenge percent for OECD countries, the IEA levels of 60–79 Gt CO2 e by 2030, on a reference scenario indicates a 40 percent sharply rising trend. The lower end of this increase—an aggregate expansion of 4.4 range is 50 percent above the 1990 baseline. Gt CO2 . The United States will account One of the IPCC’s non-mitigation for around half the increase, taking scenarios has emissions doubling in the emissions 48 percent above 1990 levels three decades to 2030.77 (figure 1.15). • According to the IEA, developing coun- Drivers for increased emissions tries will account for three-quarters of the increase in global CO2 emissions, whereas As with any future scenario, these figures our sustainable emissions pathway points have to be treated with caution. They to the need for cuts of around 20 percent represent a best-estimate based on by 2050 against 1990 levels. The projected underlying assumptions about economic expansion would represent a fourfold growth, population change, energy markets, increase over 1990 levels. technology and current policies. The scenarios • While per capita emissions will increase do not chart a predetermined trajectory. most rapidly in developing countries, What they draw attention to is the hard fact convergence will be limited. By 2030, that the world is currently on an emissions OECD emissions are projected at 12 trajectory that guarantees a collision between tonnes of CO2 per capita, compared with people and planet. 5 tonnes CO2 for developing countries. Changing trajectories will be difficult. There In 2015, per capita emissions from China are three powerful drivers of rising emissions and India are projected at 5.2 and 1.1 that will interact with technology, changes in tonnes, compared with 19.3 tonnes for energy markets and public policy choices. the United States. • Demographic trends. Current projections • IPCC scenarios are more comprehensive point to an increase in world population than those developed by the IEA because from 6.5 billion today to 8.5 billion by they incorporate other sources of emissions, 2030. At a global level, just standing still in terms of overall emissions will Figure 1.15 Business-as-usual CO2 emissions on a rising trend require 30 percent reductions in average per capita emissions—and standing still Energy-related CO2 emissions (Mt CO2) will not be enough to avoid dangerous 12,000 climate change. Almost all the increase in population will take place in developing 10,000 China countries, where there are currently large 8,000 unmet energy needs and lower levels of energy efficiency. United States 6,000 • Economic growth. Economic growth European Union and the carbon intensity of growth—a 4,000 function of energy mix and sectoral India Russian Federation composition—are two of the most 2,000 powerful drivers of emission trends. Any 0 Japan projections in this area are subject to 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 uncertainty. Climate change itself could Source: IEA 2006c. act as a brake on future growth, especially in the event of catastrophic sea-level 56 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
  • 71. rises or unanticipated ‘nasty surprises’. have grown less rapidly than primary Current trends in energy 1 However, that brake may not be applied in energy demand. However, under the IEA markets alone are not going the next few decades: most models do not scenario, the period to 2030 could see CO2 The 21st Century climate challenge expect climate to have significant effects emissions rise more rapidly than primary to push the world on to a on the drivers of world growth until energy demand. The reason: an increase low-carbon trajectory towards the end of the 21st Century.78 in the share of coal in primary energy More immediately, the global economy is demand. Emissions of CO2 from coal are experiencing one of the longest periods of projected to increase by 2.7 percent a year sustained growth in history. World GDP in the decade to 2015—a rate that is 50 growth has averaged over 4 percent per percent higher than for oil. annum for the past decade.79 At this rate, Achieving climate change mitigation on output doubles every 18 years, pushing the scale required in the face of these pressures up demand for energy and emissions of will require a sustained public policy effort CO2 in the process. The amount of CO2 backed by international cooperation. Current generated by every dollar of growth in the trends in energy markets alone are not going to world economy—the ‘carbon-intensity’ of push the world on to a low-carbon trajectory. world GDP—has been falling over the past However, recent market trends and concerns two-and-a-half decades, weakening the over energy security could provide an impetus link between GDP and carbon emissions. towards a low-carbon future. With prices for oil That trend ref lects improvements in and natural gas set to remain at high levels, the energy efficiency, changes in economic incentives for developing low-carbon energy structure—with the share of carbon- capacity have moved in a favourable direc- intensive manufacturing falling relative tion. Similarly, governments concerned about to service sectors in many countries—and ‘addiction to oil’ and the security of energy changes in the energy mix. However, the supply have strong grounds for advancing decline in carbon intensity has stalled programmes aimed at enhancing energy effi- since 2000, creating further upward ciency, creating incentives for the development pressure on emissions (figure 1.16). and deployment of low-carbon technologies,• Energy mix. For the past quarter of a and promoting greater self-reliance through century, energy-related CO2 emissions renewable energy. We look in more detail at the mitigation framework in chapter 3. But the Figure 1.16 Carbon intensity is falling too slowly to cut overall emissions four building blocks for success are: • Putting a price on carbon emissions through Index (1990 = 100) taxation and cap-and-trade systems. 180 • Creating a regulatory framework that GDP (2000 PPP US$) enhances energy efficiency, sets standards 160 for reducing emissions and creates market opportunities for low-carbon energy 140 suppliers. CO2 emissions • Agreeing on multilateral international 120 cooperation to finance technolog y transfers to developing countries 100 Intensity (CO2 per unit supporting a transition to low-carbon of GDP PPP US$) energy sources. 80 • Developing a post-2012 multilateral framework to build on the fi rst phase 60 1990 1995 2000 2004 of the Kyoto Protocol, with far more Source: CDIAC 2007 and World Bank 2007d. ambitious targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. 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 57
  • 72. 1 Policies for mitigating 1.6 Why we should act to avoid dangerous greenhouse gas emissions climate changeThe 21st Century climate challenge will require far-reaching changes in energy policy and behaviour We live in a deeply divided world. Extremes and countries, economics, technology and of poverty and prosperity retain the power to personal behaviour are at stake. Policies for shock. Differences in religious and cultural mitigating greenhouse gas emissions will identification are a source of tension between require far-reaching changes in energy policy countries and people. Competing nationalisms and behaviour. pose threats to collective security. Against In this chapter we have looked at a range this backdrop, climate change provides a hard of issues that are important in framing the lesson in a basic fact of human life: we share response to climate change. Four themes merit the same planet. special emphasis because they go to the heart of Wherever people live and whatever their the ethics and economics of any public policy belief systems, they are part of an ecologically framework for mitigation: interdependent world. Just as flows of trade • Irreversibility. Emissions of CO 2 and and finance are linking people together in an other greenhouse gases are, for all practical integrated global economy, so climate change purposes, irreversible. The duration of draws our attention to the environmental ties their residence in the Earth’s atmosphere that bind us in a shared future. is measured in centuries. Similar logic Climate change is evidence that we are applies to climate system impacts. Unlike mismanaging that future. Climate security many other environmental issues, where is the ultimate public good: the world’s damage can be cleaned up relatively atmosphere is shared by all in the obvious swiftly, the damage wrought by climate sense that nobody can be ‘excluded’ from it. change has the potential to extend from By contrast, dangerous climate change is the vulnerable populations today across ultimate public bad. While some people (the generations to the whole of humanity in world’s poor) and some countries stand to lose the distant future. faster than others, everybody stands to lose in • Global scale. The climate forcing generated the long run, with future generations facing through a build-up of greenhouse gases increased catastrophic risks. does not distinguish between nations, Writing in the 4th Century BC, Aristotle even if the effects differ. When a country observed that “what is common to the greatest emits CO2 the gas flows into a stock that number has the least care bestowed upon affects the whole world. Greenhouse it”. He could have been commenting on the gas emissions are not the only form of Earth’s atmosphere and the absence of care transboundary environmental pollution: bestowed on our planet’s capacity to absorb acid rain, oil spillages and river pollution carbon. Creating the conditions for change also create externalities that cross national will require new ways of thinking about borders. What is different with climate human interdependence in a world heading change is the scale and the consequence: for dangerous climate change outcomes. that no nation state acting alone can solve the problem (even though some countries Climate stewardship in an can do more than others). interdependent world • Uncertainty and catastrophe. Climate change models deal in probabilities—and Tackling climate change confronts governments probabilities imply uncertainties. The with difficult choices. Complex issues involving combination of uncertainty and catastrophic ethics, distributional equity across generations risk for future generations is a powerful 58 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
  • 73. rationale for investment in risk insurance Social justice and ecological 1 through mitigation. interdependence• Near-term human development reversals. The 21st Century climate challenge Long before catastrophic events due to There are many theories of social justice and climate change impact on humanity, many approaches to efficiency that can be brought millions of people will be profoundly to bear on climate change debates. Perhaps the affected. It might be possible to protect most apposite was crafted by the Enlightenment Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Manhattan philosopher and economist Adam Smith. In from rising sea levels in the 21st Century, considering how to determine a just and ethical albeit at high cost. But coastal flood defences course of action, he suggested a simple test: will not save the livelihoods or the homes “to examine our own conduct as we imagine of hundreds of millions of people living in any other fair and impartial spectator would Bangladesh and Viet Nam or the Niger or examine it”. 80 Nile deltas. Urgent climate change mitigation Such a “fair and impartial spectator” would would reduce the risks of human development take a dim view of a generation that failed to act setbacks over the course of the 21st Century, on climate change. Exposing future generations though most of the benefits will occur after to potentially catastrophic risks might be con- 2030. Reducing human costs prior to that sidered inconsistent with a commitment to core date will require support for adaptation. human values. Article Three of the Universal Special contribution Our common future and climate change Sustainable development is about meeting the needs of present In our already deeply divided world, global warming is magnifying generations without compromising the ability of future generations disparities between rich and poor, denying people an opportunity to meet their own needs. More than that, it is about social justice, to improve their lives. Looking to the future, climate change poses equity and respect for the human rights of future generations. risks of an ecological catastrophe. Two decades have now passed since I had the privilege of We owe it to the world’s poor and to future generations to chairing the World Commission on the Environment. The Report act with resolve and urgency to stop dangerous climate change. that emerged from our proceeding had a simple message that was The good news is that it is not too late. There is still a window captured in its title, Our Common Future. We argued that humanity of opportunity, but let’s be clear: the clock is ticking, and time is was overstepping the limits of sustainability and running down the running out. world’s ecological assets in a way that would compromise the well- Rich nations must show leadership and acknowledge their being of future generations. It was also clear that the vast majority historic responsibility. Their citizens leave the biggest carbon of the world’s population only had a small share in the overuse of footprint in the Earth’s atmosphere. Moreover, they have the financial our finite resources. Unequal opportunities and unequal distribution and technological capabilities needed to make deep and early cuts in were at the heart of the problems we identified. carbon emissions. None of this means that mitigation has to be left to Today we need to reflect in detail on climate change. But is the rich world. Indeed, one of the most urgent priorities is international there any more powerful demonstration of what it means to live cooperation on technology transfer to enable developing countries unsustainably? to make the transition to low-carbon energy systems. The Human Development Report 2007/2008 sets out what it Today, climate change is teaching us the hard way some of describes as a ‘carbon budget’ for the 21st Century. Drawing upon the lessons that we attempted to communicate in Our Common the best climate science, that budget establishes the volume of Future. Sustainability is not an abstract idea. It is about finding a greenhouse gases that can be emitted without causing dangerous balance between people and planet—a balance that addresses the climate change. If we continue on our current emissions trajectory, great challenges of poverty today, while protecting the interests of the carbon budget for the 21st Century will expire in the 2030s. Our future generations. energy consumption patterns are running up vast ecological debts that will be inherited by future generations—debts that they will be unable to repay. Climate change is an unprecedented threat. Most immediately, Gro Harlem Brundtland it is a threat to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people: Chair of the World Commission on Sustainable Development they are already living with the consequences of global warming. Former Prime Minister of Norway 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 59
  • 74. 1 The challenge is to sustain Declaration on Human Rights establishes that Tackling climate change with well-designed human progress today while “everyone has a right to life, liberty and personal policies will reflect a commitment to expand the security.” Inaction in the face of the threat substantive freedoms that people enjoy todayThe 21st Century climate challenge facing the incremental risks posed by climate change would represent a very without compromising the ability of future created by climate change immediate violation of that universal right. generations to build on those freedoms. 83 The in the lives of a significant The principle of cross-generational equity challenge is to sustain human progress today is at the heart of the idea of sustainability. while facing the incremental risks created section of humanity Two decades have now passed since the World by climate change in the lives of a significant Commission on Environment and Development section of humanity. brought the idea of sustainable development to There is a fundamental sense in which climate the centre of the international agenda. The core change challenges us to think differently about principle is worth restating, if only to highlight human interdependence. Greek philosophers how comprehensively it will be violated by a argued that human affinity could be understood continued failure to prioritize climate change in terms of concentric circles stretching out from mitigation: “Sustainable development seeks to family, to locality, country and the world—and meet the needs and aspirations of the present weakening with every remove from the centre. without compromising the ability to meet those Enlightenment economists such as Adam of the future.”81 Smith and philosophers such as David Hume That vision retains a powerful resonance sometimes used this framework to explain and an application to public policy debates on human motivation. In today’s economically and climate change. Of course, sustainable develop- ecologically more interdependent world, the ment cannot mean that every generation leaves concentric circles have become closer to each the world’s environment exactly as it found it. other. As the philosopher Kwame Appiah has What need to be conserved are the opportuni- written: “Each person you know about and affect ties for future generations to enjoy substantive is someone to whom you have responsibilities: to freedoms, make choices and lead lives that they say this is just to affirm the very idea of morality.”84 value. 82 Climate change will eventually limit Today we “know about” people in far-distant those freedoms and choices. It will deny people places—and we know about how our use of energy control over their destinies. “affects”their lives through climate change. Thinking about the future does not mean Viewed from this perspective, climate change that we should think less about social justice in poses some tough moral questions. Energy use our lifetime. An impartial observer might also and the associated emissions of greenhouse gases reflect on what inaction in the face of climate are not abstract concepts. They are aspects of change might say about attitudes to social human interdependence. When a person switches justice, poverty and inequality today. The ethical on a light in Europe or an air-conditioning unit foundation of any society has to be measured in America, they are linked through the global partly on the basis of how it treats its most climate system to some of the world’s most vul- vulnerable members. Allowing the world’s poor nerable people—to small-scale farmers eking out to bear the brunt of a climate change problem a living in Ethiopia, to slum dwellers in Manila, that they did not create would point to a high and to people living in the Ganges Delta. They level of tolerance for inequality and injustice. are also linked to future generations, not only In human development terms, the present their own children and grandchildren but also to and the future are connected. There is no long the children and grandchildren of people across term trade-off between climate change mitigation the world. Given the evidence about the implica- and the development of human capabilities. As tions of dangerous climate change for poverty Amartya Sen argues in his special contribution and future catastrophic risks, it would be a denial to this Report, human development and of morality to disregard the responsibilities that environmental sustainability are integral elements come with the ecological interdependence that is in the substantive freedom of human beings. driving climate change. 60 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
  • 75. The moral imperative to tackle climate The economic case for 1change is rooted above all in ideas about stew- urgent actionardship, social justice and ethical responsibility. The 21st Century climate challengeIn a world where people are often divided by Ambitious climate change mitigation requirestheir beliefs, these are ideas that cross religious spending today on a low-carbon transition. Theand cultural divides. They provide a potential costs will fall predominantly on today’s genera-foundation for collective action by faith group tion, with the rich world facing the biggest bill.leaders and others (box 1.4). Benefits will be distributed across countries and Box 1.4 Stewardship, ethics and religion—common ground on climate change “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from to ensure that the legitimate development needs of the world’s our children” poor can be met.” American Indian proverb • Hinduism. The idea of nature as a sacred construction is deeply Sustainability was not a concept invented at the Earth Summit in rooted in Hinduism. Mahatma Gandhi drew on traditional Hindu 1992. Belief in the values of stewardship, cross-generational justice values to emphasize the importance of non-violence, respect and shared responsibility for a shared environment underpin a wide for all forms of life and harmony between people and nature. range of religious and ethical systems. Religions have a major role to Ideas of stewardship are reflected in statements of Hindu faith play in highlighting the issues raised by climate change. on ecology. As the spiritual leader Swami Vibudhesha has They also have the potential to act as agents of change, written: “This generation has no right to use up all the fertil- mobilizing millions of people on the basis of shared values to take ity of the soil and leave behind an unproductive land for future action on an issue of fundamental moral concern. While religions generations.” vary in their theological or spiritual interpretation of stewardship, • Islam. The primary sources of Islamic teaching about the natural they share a common commitment to the core principles of cross- environment are the Quaran, the collections of hadiths—discrete generational justice and concern for the vulnerable. anecdotes about the Prophet’s sayings and actions—and Islamic At a time when the world focuses too often on religious difference Law (al-Sharia). Because humans are seen as part of nature, a as a source of conflict, climate change offers opportunities for recurrent theme in these sources is opposition to wastefulness inter-faith dialogue and action. With some notable exceptions, and environmental destruction. Islamic Law has numerous religious leaders could do more in the public sphere. One result is injunctions to protect and guard common environmental that there has been insufficient moral reflection on the issues raised resources on a shared basis. The Quaranic concept of ‘tawheed’ by climate change. The foundations for inter-faith action are rooted or oneness captures the idea of the unity of creation across in basic scriptures and current teaching: generations. There is also an injunction that the Earth and its • Buddhism. The Buddhist term for individual is Santana, or natural resources must be preserved for future generations, with stream. It is intended to capture the idea of interconnectedness human beings acting as custodians of the natural world. Drawing between people and their environment, and between on these teachings, the Australian Council of Islamic Councils has generations. Buddhist teaching places an emphasis on personal commented: “God entrusts humans to enjoy the bounty of nature responsibility to achieve change in the world through change in on the strict condition that they take care of it…Time is running personal behaviour. out. People of religion must forget their theological differences • Christianity. Theologians from a wide range of Christian and work together to save the world from climatic ruin.” traditions have taken up the issue of climate change. From a • Judaism. Many of Judaism’s deepest beliefs are consistent with Catholic perspective, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to environmental protection. As one theologian puts it, while the the UN has called for an “ecological conversion” and “precise Torah may give humanity a privileged place in the order of creation, commitments that will effectively confront the problem of climate this is not “the dominion of a tyrant”—and many commandments change.” The World Council of Churches has issued a powerful concern the preservation of the natural environment. Applying and compelling call to action rooted in theological concerns: Judaic philosophy to climate change, the Central Conference of “The poor and vulnerable communities in the world and future American Rabbis has commented: “We have a solemn obligation generations will suffer the most from climate change…The rich to do whatever we can within reason to prevent harm to current nations use far more than their fair share of the global commons. and future generations and to preserve the integrity of creation… They must pay that ecological debt to other peoples by fully Not to do so when we have the technological capacity—as in the compensating them for the costs of adaptation to climate case of non-fossil fuel energy and transport technologies—is an change. Drastic emission reductions by the rich are required unforgivable abdication of our responsibilities.” Source: Climate Institute 2006; IFEES 2006; Krznaric 2007. 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 61
  • 76. 1 Do the costs and benefits time. Future generations will gain from lower immediately because it goes to the heart of the of climate change risks and the world’s poor will benefit from central question facing policymakers today: enhanced prospects for human development namely, should we act with urgency nowThe 21st Century climate challenge mitigation support the within our own lifetime. Do the costs and ben- to mitigate climate change? And it matters case for urgent action? efits of climate change mitigation support the because it raises questions about the interface case for urgent action? of economics and ethics—questions that have That question was addressed by the Stern a bearing on how we think about human Review on The Economics of Climate Change. interdependence in the face of the threats posed Commissioned by the United Kingdom by dangerous climate change. Government, the Review provided a strong response. Using cost–benefit analysis based Discounting the future—ethics and on long-run economic modelling it concluded economics that the future costs of global warming would Much of the controversy has centred on the be likely to fall between 5 and 20 percent of concept of social discounting. Because climate annual world GDP. These future losses could change mitigation implies current costs to be avoided, according to the review analysis, by generate future benefits, one critical aspect of incurring relatively modest annual mitigation the analysis is about how to treat future outcome costs of around 1 percent of GDP to achieve relative to present outcome. At what rate should greenhouse gas stabilization at 550 ppm CO2e future impacts be discounted to the present? (rather than the more ambitious 450 ppm The discount rate is the tool used to address that advocated in this Report). The conclusion: an question. Determining the rate involves placing overwhelming case for urgent, immediate, and a value on future welfare simply because it is in rapid reductions in emissions of greenhouse the future (the rate of pure time preference). It gases on the grounds that prevention is better, also involves a decision on the social value of and cheaper, than inaction. an extra dollar in consumption. Th is second Some critics of the Stern Review have element captures the idea of diminishing reached different conclusions. They maintain marginal utility as incomes rise.87 that cost–benefit analysis does not support the The argument between the Stern review case for early and deep mitigation. The counter- and its critics over the costs and benefits of arguments are wide-ranging. The Stern Review mitigation—and the timing of action—can be and its critics start from a similar proposition: attributed in large measure to the discount rate. namely, that the real global damages from To understand why the different approaches climate change, whatever their level, will be matter for climate change mitigation, consider incurred far into the future. Where they differ is the following example. At a discount rate of 5 in their evaluation of these damages. The Stern percent, it would be worth spending only US$9 review’s critics argue that the welfare of people today to prevent an income loss of US$100 living in the future should be discounted at a caused by climate change in 2057. Without any higher rate. That is, it should receive less weight discounting, it would be worth spending up to than allowed for in the Stern Review compared US$100 today. So, as the discount rate goes up to costs incurred in the present. from zero, the future damages from warming Policy prescriptions emerging from these evaluated today shrink. Applied over the long opposing positions are different. 85 Unlike the time-horizon necessary for considering climate Stern review, the critics argue for a modest rate change impacts, the magic of compound interest of emission reductions in the near future, fol- in reverse can generate a strong cost–benefit case lowed by sharper reductions in the longer term for deferred action on mitigation, if discount as the world economy grows richer—and as rates are high. technological capacities develop over time.86 From a human development perspective, The ongoing debate following the Stern we believe that the Stern review is right in review matters at many levels. It matters most its central choice for a low value for the rate 62 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
  • 77. of pure time preference—the component of 5°C than staying under 2°C, ‘nasty surprises’ In dealing with national 1the discount rate that weighs the welfare of of a catastrophic nature will become more defence and protectionfuture generations in comparison with ours. 88 probable over time. The impact of those The 21st Century climate challengeDiscounting the well-being of those that surprises is uncertain. However, they include against terrorism,will live in the future just because they live possible disintegration of the West Antarctic governments do not refusein the future is unjustified. 89 How we think ice sheet, with attendant implications for to put in place investmentsabout the well-being of future generations is human settlements and economic activity.an ethical judgement. Indeed, the founding Ambitious mitigation can be justified as a today because theyfather of discounting described a positive rate down paymenton catastrophic risk insurance are uncertain about theof pure time preference as a practice which is for future generations.93 future benefits of those“ethically indefensible and arises merely from Catastrophic risks of the order posed bythe weakness of the imagination”.90 Just as we climate change provide grounds for early investments, or the precisedo not discount the human rights of future action. The idea that costly actions today nature of future risksgenerations because they are equivalent to should be deferred until more is known isours, so we should accept a ‘stewardship of not applied to other areas. In dealing withthe earth’ responsibility to accord future national defence and protection againstgenerations the same ethical weight as the terrorism, governments do not refuse to putcurrent generation. Selecting a 2 percent rate in place investments today because they areof pure time preference would halve the ethi- uncertain about the future benefits of thosecal weight given to somebody born in 2043 investments, or the precise nature of futurerelative to somebody born in 2008.91 risks. Rather, they assess risks and determine Denying the case for action today on the on the balance of probabilities whethergrounds that future generations with a lower there is sufficient likelihood of severe futureweight should be expected to shoulder a greater damage to take anticipatory action aimed atburden of mitigation costs is not an ethically risk reduction.94 That is, they weigh-up thedefensible proposition—and it is inconsistent costs, the benefits and the risks, and try towith the moral responsibilities that come insure their citizens against uncertain butwith membership of a human community potentially catastrophic outcomes.linked across generations. Ethical principles The case against urgent action on climateare the primary vehicle through which the change suffers from wider shortcomings.interests of people not represented in the There are many areas of public policy in which amarket place (future generations) or lacking a ‘wait-and-see’ approach might make sense—butvoice (the very young) are brought into policy climate change is not one of them. Because theformulation. That is why the issue of ethics has accumulation of greenhouse gases is cumulativeto be addressed explicitly and transparently in and irreversible, policy errors cannot be readilydetermining approaches to mitigation.92 corrected. Once CO2e emissions have reached, say, 750 ppm, future generations will not enjoyUncertainty, risk and irreversibility— the option of expressing a preference for a worldthe case for catastrophic risk that stabilized at 450 ppm. Waiting to seeinsurance whether the collapse of the West Antarctic iceAny consideration of the case for and against sheet produces catastrophic outcomes is a one-urgent action on climate change has to start way option: ice sheets cannot be reconnectedfrom an assessment of the nature and timing to the bottom of the sea. The irreversibility ofof the risks involved. Uncertainty is critical to climate change places a high premium on thethe argument. application of the precautionary principle. As shown earlier in this chapter, uncertainty And the potential for genuinely catastrophicunder climate change is closely associated with outcomes in an area marked by large areas ofthe possibility of catastrophic outcomes. In uncertainty makes the use of marginal analysisa world that has more chance of going over a restrictive framework for the formulation of 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 63
  • 78. 1 The costs of delayed responses to the challenge of climate change people) register more strongly on the cost–ben- mitigation will not be mitigation. To put it differently: a small efit balance sheet precisely because they are probability of an infinite loss can still represent richer. The point can be illustrated by a simpleThe 21st Century climate challenge equally spread across a very big risk. example. If the 2.6 billion poorest people in countries and people the world saw their incomes cut by 20 percent, Beyond one world—why distribution per capita world GDP would fall by less than matters 1 percent. Similarly, if climate change led to a There has also been a debate on the second aspect drought that halved the income of the poorest of the discount rate. How should we weight the 28 million people in Ethiopia, it would barely value of an extra dollar of consumption in the register on the global balance sheet: world GDP future if the overall amount of consumption is would fall by just 0.003 percent. There are also different from today’s? Most people who would problems in what cost–benefit analysis does accord the same ethical weight to future genera- not measure. The value that we attach to things tions would agree that, if those generations were which are intrinsically important are not easily going to be more prosperous, an increase in their captured by market prices (box 1.5). consumption should be worth less than it is Distributional imperatives are often today. As income increases over time, the ques- overlooked in the case for action on climate tion arises as to the value of an additional dollar. change mitigation. As with the wider debate How much we discount increasing consump- on discounting, the weighting of consumption tion in the future depends on social preference: gains and losses for people and countries with the value attached to the additional dollar. The different levels of income must be explicitly critics of the Stern review have argued that its considered. There is, however, a key difference choice of parameter was too low, leading in between the distribution issues relating to turn to what is, in their eyes, an unrealistically intergeneration distribution and those relating low overall discount rate. The issues relating to to distribution between current populations. this part of the debate are different from those In the former, the case for ambitious mitiga- relating to pure time preference and involve tion rests on the need to insure against uncertain projected growth scenarios under conditions of but potentially catastrophic risk. In the latter great uncertainty. case of distribution of income in our lifetimes, If the world were a single country with an it rests in the ‘certain’ costs of climate change ethical concern for the future of its citizens, for the livelihoods of the poorest people in it should be investing heavily in catastrophic the world.95 risk insurance through climate change Concern for distributional outcomes mitigation. In the real world, the costs of between countries and people at very different delayed mitigation will not be equally spread levels of development is not restricted to across countries and people. The social and mitigation. Mitigation today will create a economic impacts of climate change will fall steady flow of human development benefits that far more heavily on the poorest countries and strengthen in the second half of the 21st Century. their most vulnerable citizens. Distributional In the absence of urgent mitigation, poverty concerns linked to human development reduction efforts will suffer and many millions greatly reinforce the case for urgent action. In of people will face catastrophic outcomes. Mass fact, these concerns represent one of the most displacement due to flooding in countries like critical parts of that case. This point is widely Bangladesh and mass hunger linked to drought ignored by those arguing about discount rates in sub-Saharan Africa are two examples. in ‘one world’ models. However, there is no neat dividing line Global cost–benefit analysis without between present and future. Climate change distribution weights can obscure the issues in is already impacting on the lives of the poor thinking about climate change. Small impacts and the world is committed to further climate on the economies of rich countries (or rich change irrespective of mitigation efforts. 64 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
  • 79. What this means is that mitigation alone public scrutiny of government policies is also 1will not provide a safeguard against adverse critical. In the absence of scrutiny, there is adistributional outcomes linked to climate danger that high-sounding declarations of intent The 21st Century climate challengechange—and that, for the fi rst half of the will substitute for meaningful policy action—a21st Century, adaptation to climate change must perennial problem with G8 commitments onbe a priority, alongside ambitious mitigation aid to developing countries. Climate changeefforts. poses a distinctive challenge because, perhaps more than in any other sphere of public policy,Mobilizing public action the reform process has to be sustained over a long time-horizon.Th rough the work of the IPCC and others, Powerful new coalitions for change areclimate science has improved our understanding emerging. In the United States, the Climateof global warming. Debates on the economics of Change Coalition has brought together non-climate change have helped to identify choices government organizations (NGOs), businessover resource allocation. In the end though, it is leaders and bipartisan research institutions.public concern that will drive policy change. Across Europe, NGOs and church-based groups are building powerful campaigns forPublic opinion—a force for change urgent action. ‘Stop Climate Chaos’ has becomePublic opinion matters at many levels. An a statement of intent and a rallying point forinformed public understanding of why climate mobilization. At an international level, thechange is such an urgent priority can create the Global Climate Campaign is building a networkpolitical space for governments to introduce that mobilizes across national borders, bringingradical energy reforms. As in many other areas, pressure to bear on governments before, Box 1.5 Cost–benefit analysis and climate change Much of the debate over the case for and against urgent mitigation climate change, the wealth generated through energy use shows has been conducted in terms of cost–benefit analysis. Important up in national income, the damage associated with the depletion of issues have been raised. At the same time, the limitations of cost– the Earth’s carbon sinks does not. benefit approaches have to be acknowledged. The framework is Abraham Maslow, the great psychologist, once said: “If the essential as an aide to rational decision making. But it has severe only tool you have is a hammer, every problem begins to look like limitations in the context of climate change analysis and cannot by a nail.” In the same way, if the only tool used to measure cost is a itself resolve fundamental ethical questions. market price, things that lack a price tag—the survival of species, One of the difficulties with the application of cost–benefit a clean river, standing forests, wilderness—might look like they analysis to climate change is the time-horizon. Any cost–benefit have no value. Items not in the balance sheet can become invisible, analysis is a study in uncertainty. Applied to climate change even though they have great intrinsic value for present and future mitigation, the range of uncertainty is very large. Projecting costs generations. There are some things that, once lost, no amount of and benefits over a 10- or 20-year period can be challenging even money can bring back. And there are some things that do not lend for simple investment projects such as building a road. Projecting themselves to market pricing. For these things asking questions just them over 100 years and more is a largely speculative exercise. As through cost–benefit analysis can produce the wrong answers. one commentator puts it: “Trying to forecast costs and benefits of Climate change touches in a fundamental way on the relationship climate change scenarios a hundred years from now is more the art between people and ecological systems. Oscar Wilde once of inspired guesstimating by analogy than a science.” defined a cynic as “someone who knows the price of everything The more fundamental problem concerns what is being and the value of nothing”. Many of the impacts that will come with measured. Changes in GDP provide a yardstick for measuring an unmitigated climate change will touch upon aspects of human life important aspect of the economic health of nations. Even here there and the environment that are intrinsically valuable—and that cannot are limitations. National income accounts record changes in wealth be reduced to the economics of the ledger sheet. That, ultimately, is and the depreciation of the capital stock used in its creation. They do why investment decisions on climate change mitigation cannot be not capture the costs of environmental damage or the depreciation treated in the same way as investment decisions (or discount rates) of ecological assets such as forests or water resources. Applied to applied to cars, industrial machines or dishwashers. Source: Broome 2006b; Monbiot 2006; Singer 2002; Weitzman 2007. 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 65
  • 80. 1 For all the progress that during and after high-level intergovernmental threat than people in the developing world. has been achieved, the meetings. As little as five years ago, most large For example, only 22 percent of Britons saw multinational companies were either indifferent climate change as “one of the biggest issues”The 21st Century climate challenge battle for public hearts or hostile to advocacy on climate change. Now facing the world, compared with almost one-half and minds is not yet won an increasing number are pressing for action and in China and two-thirds in India. Developing calling for clear government signals to support countries dominated the ranking for countries mitigation. Many business leaders have realized whose citizens see climate change as the world’s that current trends are unsustainable and that most worrying concern, with Brazil, China they need to steer their investment decisions in and Mexico topping the league table. The same a more sustainable direction. survey found a far higher level of fatalism in rich Throughout history public campaigns countries, with a high level of scepticism about have been a formidable force for change. From the prospects for avoiding climate change.96 the abolition of slavery, through struggles for Detailed national level surveys confirm these democracy, civil rights, gender equity and broad global fi ndings. In the United States, human rights, to the Make Poverty History climate change mitigation is now a subject campaign, public mobilization has created of intense debate in Congress. However, the new opportunities for human development. current state of public opinion does not provide The specific challenge facing campaigners on a secure foundation for urgent action: climate change is rooted in the nature of the • Roughly four in ten Americans believe that problem. Time is running out, failure will lead human activity is responsible for global to irreversible setbacks in human development, warming, but just as many believe that and policy change has to be sustained across warming can be traced to natural patterns many countries over a long period of time. There in the Earth’s climate systems alone is no ‘quick fi x’ scenario. (21 percent) or that there is no evidence of global warming (20 percent).97 Opinion surveys tell a worrying story • While 41 percent of Americans see For all the progress that has been achieved, the climate change as a “serious problem”, 33 battle for public hearts and minds is not yet won. percent see it as only “somewhat serious” Assessing the state of that battle is difficult. Yet and 24 percent as “not serious”. Only 19 opinion surveys tell a worrying story—especially percent expressed a great deal of personal in the world’s richest nations. concern—a far lower level than in other Climate change now figures prominently G8 countries and dramatically lower than in public debates across the developed world. in many developing countries.98 Media coverage has climbed to unprecedented • Concern remains divided along party- levels. The fi lm An Inconvenient Truth has political lines. Democrat voters register reached an audience of millions. Successive higher levels of concern than Republican reports—the Stern review being an outstanding voters, though neither locates climate change example—have narrowed the space between near the top of their list of priorities. On a popular understanding and rigorous economic ranking scale of 19 electoral issues, climate analysis. The planet health warnings set out by change registered 13th for Democrats and the IPCC provide a clear basis for understanding 19th for Republicans. the evidence on climate change. In the face • Moderate levels of public concern are linked of all of this, public attitudes continue to be to perceptions of where risks and vulnera- dominated by a mindset that combines apathy bilities are located. In a ranking of public and pessimism. concerns, only 13 percent of people covered Headline numbers from recent surveys were most concerned about impacts on their demonstrate the point. One major cross-country family or community, while half saw the survey found that people in the developed most immediate impacts as affecting people world see climate change as a far less pressing in other countries, or nature.99 66 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
  • 81. Caution has to be exercised in inter- The role of the media The media have a critical 1preting opinion survey evidence. Public The media have a critical role to play in role to play in informing andopinion is not static and it may be changing. informing and changing public opinion. Apart The 21st Century climate challengeThere is some positive news. Some 90 percent from their role in scrutinizing government changing public opinionof Americans who have heard of global warm- actions and holding policymakers to account,ing think that the country should reduce its the media are the main source of informationgreenhouse gas emissions, regardless of what for the general public on climate change science.other countries do.100 Even so, if “all politics Given the immense importance of the issues atis local”, then current public risk assessments stake for people and planet, this is a role thatare unlikely to provide a powerful political carries great responsibilities.impetus. Climate change is still perceived The development of new technologies andoverwhelmingly as a moderate and distant globalized networks has enhanced the powerrisk that will primarily impact people and of the media across the world. No governmentplaces far away in space and time.101 in a democracy can ignore the media. But Evidence that European opinion is far power and responsibility have not always goneahead of American opinion is not corroborated together. Speaking in 1998, Carl Bernsteinby opinion survey evidence. More than eight said: “The reality is that the media are probablyin every ten European Union citizens are the most powerful of all our institutions todayaware that the way they consume and produce and they, or rather we [journalists], too oftenenergy has a negative impact on climate.102 are squandering our power and ignoring ourYet only half say that they are “to some degree obligations.”104 That observation has a powerfulconcerned”—a far higher share express concern resonance for the debate on climate change.about the need for Europe to have greater There are very large variations in the waydiversity in energy supply. that the media within and across countries have In some European countries, public atti- responded to climate change. Many journaliststudes are marked by an extraordinary degree of and many media organs have performed anpessimism. For example, in France, Germany extraordinary service in keeping public debatesand the United Kingdom the share of people alive and deepening knowledge. However,agreeing with the statement that “we will stop the fl ip side has to be acknowledged. Untilclimate change” ranges from 5 to 11 percent. recently, the principle of ‘editorial balance’ hasAlarmingly, four in every ten people in Germany been applied in ways that have served to holdthought that it was not even worth trying to do back informed debate. One study in the Unitedanything, most of them on the grounds that States105 found that the balance norm resultednothing can be done.103 All of this suggests in over half of articles in the country’s mosta strong case for a greater emphasis on public prestigious newspapers between 1990 and 2002education and campaigning. giving equal weight to the findings of the IPCC The evidence from opinion surveys is and of the climate science community, and theworrying at several levels. It raises questions views of climate sceptics—many of them fundedfirst of all about the understanding of people by vested interest groups. Continued confusionin rich nations about the consequences of in public opinion is one consequence.106their actions. If the public had a clearer Editorial balance is a laudable and essentialunderstanding of the consequences of their objective in any free press. But balance betweenactions for future generations, and for what? If there is a strong and overwhelmingvulnerable people in developing countries, the ‘majority’ view among the world’s top scientistsimperative to act might be expected to register dealing with climate change, citizens have afar more strongly. The fact that so many right to expect to be informed about that view.people see climate change as an intractable Of course, they also have a right to be informedproblem is another barrier to action because about minority views that do not reflect a scien-it creates a sense of powerlessness. tific consensus. However, informed judgement 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 67
  • 82. 1 Dangerous climate change is not helped when editorial selection treats the debate. Sharp peaks in attention during weather- is a predictable crisis that two views as equivalent. related disasters or around the launch of key Media coverage of climate change has reports are often followed by lengthy troughs inThe 21st Century climate challenge comes with an opportunity suffered from wider problems. Many of coverage. The tendency to focus on emergencies the issues that have to be addressed are today and apocalyptic future events obscures enormously complex and inherently difficult an important fact: that the most damaging to communicate. Some media reporting has medium-term effects of climate change will clouded public understanding. For example, take the form of gradually intensifying pressures there has been a far stronger focus on on highly vulnerable people. Meanwhile, the catastrophic risk, than on more immediate responsibility of people and governments in rich human development threats—and in many countries for these pressures is a heavily under- cases the two dimensions are confused. represented theme. One consequence is that Over the past two years the quantity of public awareness of the importance of support for climate change coverage has increased and the adaptation measures to build resilience remains quality has improved. But in some areas media limited—as does international development treatment continues to hold back informed assistance for adaptation. Conclusion The science of climate change has established evidence that inaction will hurt millions of a clear and reasonable target for international people and consign them to lives of poverty action. That target is a threshold for average and vulnerability, can we justify inaction? No temperature increases of 2°C. The Stern review civilized community adhering to even the most has provided a powerful economic rationale for rudimentary ethical standards would answer action. The proposition that the battle against that question in the affirmative, especially one climate change is affordable and winnable is that lacked neither the technology nor the one that has achieved powerful traction with financial resources to act decisively. policymakers. Dangerous climate change is a predictable The argument for long-run insurance against crisis that comes with an opportunity. That catastrophic risk and the human development opportunity is provided by negotiations on the imperative provide powerful rationales for Kyoto Protocol. Under a revitalized post-2012 action. Mitigation of climate change poses real multilateral framework, the Protocol could financial, technological and political challenges. provide a focal point for deep cuts in emissions, But it also asks profound moral and ethical allied to a plan of action on adaptation that questions of our generation. In the face of clear deals with the consequences of past emissions. 68 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
  • 83. Appendix table 1.1 Measuring the global carbon footprint—selected countries and regions 1 Carbon dioxide emissionsa The 21st Century climate challenge Share of Population CO2 emissions CO2 emissions or Total emissions Growth rate world total share per capita sequestration from forestsb (Mt CO2 ) (%) (%) (%) (t CO2 ) (Mt CO2 / year) Top 30 CO2 emitters 1990 2004 1990–2004 1990 2004 2004 1990 2004 1990–2005 1 United States 4,818 6,046 25 21.2 20.9 4.6 19.3 20.6 -500 2 China c 2,399 5,007 109 10.6 17.3 20.0 2.1 3.8 -335 3 Russian Federation 1,984 d 1,524 -23 d 8.7 d 5.3 2.2 13.4 d 10.6 72 4 India 682 1,342 97 3.0 4.6 17.1 0.8 1.2 -41 5 Japan 1,071 1,257 17 4.7 4.3 2.0 8.7 9.9 -118 6 Germany 980 808 -18 4.3 2.8 1.3 12.3 9.8 -75 7 Canada 416 639 54 1.8 2.2 0.5 15.0 20.0 .. 8 United Kingdom 579 587 1 2.6 2.0 0.9 10.0 9.8 -4 9 Korea (Republic of) 241 465 93 1.1 1.6 0.7 5.6 9.7 -32 10 Italy 390 450 15 1.7 1.6 0.9 6.9 7.8 -52 11 Mexico 413 438 6 1.8 1.5 1.6 5.0 4.2 .. 12 South Africa 332 437 32 1.5 1.5 0.7 9.1 9.8 (.) 13 Iran (Islamic Republic of) 218 433 99 1.0 1.5 1.1 4.0 6.4 -2 14 Indonesia 214 378 77 0.9 1.3 3.4 1.2 1.7 2,271 15 France 364 373 3 1.6 1.3 0.9 6.4 6.0 -44 16 Brazil 210 332 58 0.9 1.1 2.8 1.4 1.8 1,111 17 Spain 212 330 56 0.9 1.1 0.7 5.5 7.6 -28 18 Ukraine 600 d 330 -45 d 2.6 d 1.1 0.7 11.5 d 7.0 -60 19 Australia 278 327 17 1.2 1.1 0.3 16.3 16.2 .. 20 Saudi Arabia 255 308 21 1.1 1.1 0.4 15.9 13.6 (.) 21 Poland 348 307 -12 1.5 1.1 0.6 9.1 8.0 -44 22 Thailand 96 268 180 0.4 0.9 1.0 1.7 4.2 18 23 Turkey 146 226 55 0.6 0.8 1.1 2.6 3.2 -18 24 Kazakhstan 259 d 200 -23 d 1.1 d 0.7 0.2 15.7 d 13.3 (.) 25 Algeria 77 194 152 0.3 0.7 0.5 3.0 5.5 -6 26 Malaysia 55 177 221 0.2 0.6 0.4 3.0 7.5 3 27 Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) 117 173 47 0.5 0.6 0.4 6.0 6.6 .. 28 Egypt 75 158 110 0.3 0.5 1.1 1.5 2.3 -1 29 United Arab Emirates 55 149 173 0.2 0.5 0.1 27.2 34.1 -1 30 Netherlands 141 142 1 0.6 0.5 0.2 9.4 8.7 -1 World aggregates OECD e 11,205 13,319 19 49 46 18 10.8 11.5 -1,000 Central & Eastern Europe & CIS 4,182 3,168 -24 18 11 6 10.3 7.9 -166 Developing countries 6,833 12,303 80 30 42 79 1.7 2.4 5,092 East Asia and the Pacific 3,414 6,682 96 15 23 30 2.1 3.5 2,294 South Asia 991 1,955 97 4 7 24 0.8 1.3 -49 Latin America & the Caribbean 1,088 1,423 31 5 5 8 2.5 2.6 1,667 Arab States 734 1,348 84 3 5 5 3.3 4.5 44 Sub-Saharan Africa 456 663 45 2 2 11 1.0 1.0 1,154 Least developed countries 74 146 97 (.) 1 11 0.2 0.2 1,098 High human development 14,495 16,616 15 64 57 25 9.8 10.1 90 Medium human development 5,946 10,215 72 26 35 64 1.8 2.5 3,027 Low human development 78 162 108 (.) 1 8 0.3 0.3 858 High income 10,572 12,975 23 47 45 15 12.1 13.3 -937 Middle income 8,971 12,163 36 40 42 47 3.4 4.0 3,693 Low income 1,325 2,084 57 6 7 37 0.8 0.9 1,275 World 22,703 f 28,983 f 28 100 f 100 f 100 4.3 4.5 4,038 NOTES suggests carbon emissions while a negative Republic of Korea and Slovakia. Therefore, ina Data refer to carbon dioxide emissions stemming number suggests carbon sequestration. some instances, the sum of individual regions may from the consumption of solid, liquid and gaseous c CO2 emissions for China do not include emissions be greater than the world total. fossil fuels and from gas flaring and production for Taiwan, Province of China, which were 124 f The world total includes carbon dioxide emissions of cement. Mt CO2 in 1990 and 241 Mt CO2 in 2004. not included in national totals, such as thoseb Data refer only to living biomass—above and d Data refer to 1992 and growth rate values refer to from bunker fuels and oxidation of non-fuel below ground, carbon in deadwood, soil and the 1992–2004 period . hydrocarbon products (e.g., asphalt), and litter are not included. Refer to annual average e OECD as a region includes the following countries emissions by countries not shown in the main net emissions or sequestration due to changes in that are also included in other subregions listed indicator tables. These emissions amount to carbon stock of forest biomass. A positive number here: Czech Republic, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, approximately 5% of the world total.Source: Indicator Table 24. 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 69
  • 84. 2Climate shocks:risk and vulnerabilityin an unequal world
  • 85. “The countries most vulnerable areleast able to protect themselves.They also contribute least to theglobal emissions of greenhousegases. Without action they will paya high price for the actions of others.”Kofi Annan“Like slavery and apartheid, povertyis not natural. It is man-made andit can be overcome and eradicatedby the actions of human beings.”Nelson Mandela
  • 86. 2 CHAPTER Climate shocks: risk and vulnerability in an unequal world 2It is easy to lose sight of the “Hurricane Jeanne took all that I had…my job and my home are gone. I used to have Climate shocks: risk and vulnerability in an unequal world human face of the people food. Now I beg in the market.” who are most vulnerable Rosy-Claire Zepherin, Gonaives, Haiti, 20051 to climate change “We are eating only a little once a day to make the maize last longer, but even then it will last only a short time. Then we are in trouble.” Margaret Mpondi, Mphako, Malawi, 20022 “If the rains fail like they did last year we will go hungry. The rich have savings. They have stocks of food. They can sell their oxen for cash. But what do I have? If I sell my ox how will I plant next year? If my crop fails we have nothing. It is always like that. Everything depends on rain.” Kaseyitu Agumas, Lat Gayin, southern Gonda, Ethiopia, 20073 “We had never seen such floods before. Lots of houses were destroyed, lots of people died, our agricultural land was submerged, crops stored in houses were lost. Many livestock were lost too. We were just not prepared to face such big flooding. So we didn’t have any savings of money or food.” Pulnima Ghosh Mahishura Gram Panchayat, Nadia District, West Bengal, India, 20074 “There are more floods now and the river banks are being washed away faster. There’s nowhere to go. My land is in the river, I have nothing now.” Intsar Husain, Antar Para, north-western Bangladesh, 2007.5 Climate science deals in measurement. most vulnerable to climate change—people Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are weighed such as those quoted above. in tonnes and gigatonnes. Concentrations of The human face of climate change cannot greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere be captured and packaged in statistics. Many of are monitored in parts per million (ppm). the current impacts are impossible to separate Confronted with the data, it is easy to lose from wider pressures. Others will happen in the sight of the human face of the people who are future. There is uncertainty about the location, 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 73
  • 87. What the world’s poor are timing and magnitude of these impacts. However, crops. The short-term costs can have devastat- facing is a relentless increase uncertainty is not a cause for complacency. We ing and highly visible consequences for human know that climate-related risks are a major cause development. in the risks and vulnerabilities of human suffering, poverty and diminished The long-term impacts are less visible but no associated with climate opportunity. We know that climate change is less devastating. For the 2.6 billion people who implicated. And we know that the threat will live on less than US$2 a day climate shocks can intensify over time. In chapter 1 we identify cata- trigger powerful downward spirals in human strophic future risks for the whole of humanity as development. Whereas the rich can cope with2 one of the most powerful grounds for urgent action shocks through private insurance, by selling off in tackling climate change. In this chapter we assets or by drawing on their savings, the poorClimate shocks: risk and vulnerability in an unequal world focus on a more immediate potential catastrophe: face a different set of choices. They may have the prospect of large-scale human development no alternative but to reduce consumption, cut reversals in the world’s poorest countries. nutrition, take children out of school, or sell That catastrophe will not announce itself the productive assets on which their recovery as a ‘big bang’ apocalyptic event. What the depends. These are choices that limit human world’s poor are facing is a relentless increase capabilities and reinforce inequalities. in the risks and vulnerabilities associated with As Amartya Sen has written: “The enhance- climate. The source of these incremental risks ment of human capabilities also tends to go can be traced through climate change to energy with an expansion of productivities and earning consumption patterns and political choices in power.”6 The erosion of human capabilities has the rich world. the opposite effect. Setbacks in nutrition, health The climate already figures as a powerful and education are intrinsically damaging, reduc- force in shaping the life chances of poor people. ing the prospects for employment and economic In many countries, poverty is intimately related advancement. When children are withdrawn to repeated exposure to climate risks. For people from school to help their parents make up whose livelihoods depend on agriculture, income losses, or suffer malnutrition because of variable and uncertain rainfall is a potent source reduced food availability, the consequences can of vulnerability. For urban slum dwellers, floods stay with them for their whole lives. And when pose a constant threat. Across the world, the poor people suddenly lose the assets they have lives of the poor are punctuated by the risks built up over years, this reinforces their poverty and vulnerabilities that come with an uncertain and holds back efforts to reduce vulnerability climate. Climate change will gradually ratchet and extreme deprivation in the medium to up these risks and vulnerabilities, putting longer term. Single climate shocks can thus pressure on already over-stretched coping create cumulative cycles of disadvantage that strategies and magnifying inequalities based on are transmitted across generations. gender and other markers for disadvantage. Climate change matters because it can be The scale of the potential human develop- expected to increase the intensity and frequency of ment reversals that climate change will bring climate shocks. Over the medium and long term, has been heavily underestimated. Extreme outcomes will be influenced by the international climate events such as droughts, floods and mitigation effort. Deep and early cuts in carbon cyclones are terrible occurrences in their own emissions would diminish the incremental risks right. They bring suffering, distress and misery associated with climate change from the 2030s to the lives of those affected, subjecting whole onwards. Until then, the world in general, and the communities to forces beyond their control and world’s poor in particular, will have to live with providing a constant reminder of human frailty. the consequences of past emissions. That is why, When climate shocks strike, people must first as argued in chapter 4, adaptation strategies are so deal with the immediate consequences: threats critical for human development prospects. to health and nutrition, the loss of savings and In this chapter we look at the past impacts assets, damage to property, or the destruction of of climate shocks on human development 74 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
  • 88. in order to cast a light on future threats. We The fi rst section of this chapter sets out Climate risk is an externaldraw a critical distinction between risk and the evidence on a range of climate impacts. fact of life for the entirevulnerability. Climate risk is an external fact of It examines the distribution of exposure tolife for the entire world. Vulnerability is some- climate disasters and the long-run consequences world. Vulnerability isthing very different. It describes an inability of these disasters on human development. In something very differentto manage risk without being forced to make the second section we use climate scenarioschoices that compromise human well-being developed by the IPCC and others toover time. Climate change will strengthen the examine the mechanisms through which thetransmission mechanisms that convert risk into incremental risks generated by climate change 2vulnerability, militating against the efforts of might impact on human development during Climate shocks: risk and vulnerability in an unequal worldthe poor to advance human development. the 21st Century.2.1 Climate shocks and low human development trapsClimate disasters have been a recurrent theme Some 262 million people were affected annuallyin human history. Plato’s Atlantis myth captures from 2000 to 2004, more than double the levelthe destructive power of floods. The collapse of in the first half of the 1980s (figure 2.1).7the Mayan civilization was triggered by a succes- Rich countries have registered a mountingsion of droughts. The 21st Century has already roll-call of climate disasters. During 2003,provided some potent reminders of the frailty of Europe was hit by the most intense heat wavepeople in the face of extreme climate. in more than 50 years—an event that caused Climate disasters are increasing in frequency thousands of deaths among the elderly and otherand touching the lives of more people. The vulnerable people. A year later, Japan was hit byimmediate consequences are horrific. But Figure 2.1 Climate disasters areclimate shocks are also reinforcing wider affecting more peoplerisks and vulnerabilities, leading to long-termsetbacks for human development. People affected by hydrometeorological disaster (millions per year) Developing countriesClimate disasters—the rising trend High-income OECD, Central and Eastern Europe, and the CISExtreme climate events are a source of mounting 250concern across the world. In recent decades, thenumber of people affected by climate disasters 200such as droughts, floods and storms has beenrising. Almost every disaster is accompaniedby speculation about possible links to climate 150change. As climate science develops it willprovide clearer insights into the relationship 100between global warming and weather systemoutcomes. However, current evidence pointsvery clearly in one direction: namely, that 50climate change will increase the risk of exposureto climate disaster. 0 Reported climate disasters are on a rising 1975–79 1980–84 1985–89 1990–94 1995–99 2000–04trend. Between 2000 and 2004 an average of Source: HDRO calculations based on OFDA and CRED 2007.326 climate disasters was reported each year. 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 75
  • 89. For the period 2000–2004, more tropical cyclones than in any other year • The 2007 monsoon period in East Asia dis- on an average annual basis over the previous century.8 In 2005, Hurricane placed 3 million people in China, with large Katrina, one event in the worst Atlantic hur- tracts of the country registering the heaviest one in 19 people living in ricane season on record, provided a devastating rainfall since records began. According to the developing world was reminder that even the world’s richest nations the China Meteorological Association, the affected by a climate disaster are not immune to climate disaster.9 floods and typhoons of the previous year The intensive media coverage that accompa- caused the second deadliest toll on record nies climate disasters in rich countries ensures in terms of lives lost.2 widespread public awareness of the impacts. It • Monsoon floods and storms in South Asia also creates a distorting prism. While climate during the 2007 season displaced more thanClimate shocks: risk and vulnerability in an unequal world disasters are affecting more and more people 14 million people in India and 7 million in across the world, the overwhelming majority Bangladesh. Over 1,000 people lost their lives in developing countries (figure 2.2). For lives across Bangladesh, India, southern the period 2000–2004, on an average annual Nepal and Pakistan. basis one in 19 people living in the developing • The 2006/2007 cyclone season in East Asia, world was affected by a climate disaster. The which saw large areas of Jakarta flooded, comparable figure for OECD countries was one displaced 430,000 people, with Hurricane in 1,500 affected—a risk differential of 79.10 Durian causing mudslides and extensive Flooding affected the lives of some 68 million loss of life in the Philippines, followed by people in East Asia and 40 million in South widespread storm damage in Viet Nam. Asia. In sub-Saharan Africa 10 million were • In terms of overall activity, the 2005 Atlantic affected by drought and 2 million by flooding, hurricane season was the most active on in many cases with near simultaneous episodes. record. Hurricane Katrina made most of the Here are some examples of events behind the headlines, causing widespread devastation reported headline numbers:11 in New Orleans. However, the 27 named storms of the season—including Stan, Figure 2.2 Disaster risks are skewed Wilma and Beta—affected communities towards developing countries across Central America and the Caribbean. Hurricane Stan caused the deaths of more Risk of being affected by natural disaster (per 100,000 people) than 1,600 mainly Mayan people in the Central Highlands of Guatemala—a greater Developing countries human toll than Hurricane Katrina.12 High-income OECD • Droughts in the Horn of Africa and southern Africa during 2005 threatened the lives of over 14 million people across a swathe of countries from Ethiopia and Kenya to Malawi and Zimbabwe. In the following 50 people per 100,000 year, drought gave way to extensive flooding across many of the same countries.13 Reported data on the numbers affected by climate disasters provide important insights. However, the data captures only the tip of the iceberg. Many local climate disasters go unre- ported, or under-reported—and many more do not figure at all, because they do not meet the 1980–84 2000–04 criteria for a humanitarian disaster (box 2.1). Gender bias in the impact of disasters is also under-reported. When disasters strike, they hurt Source: HDRO calculations based on OFDA and CRED 2007. whole communities—but women often bear the 76 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
  • 90. Box 2.1 Under-reporting climate disasters Figures on climate-related disasters come from the EM-DAT There are wider sources of under-reporting. During 2006 International Disasters Database maintained by the Centre for a crisis caused by late rains in Tanzania did not figure in the Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). The database CRED database. However, a national food security vulnerability has played a valuable role in improving the flow of information on assessment found that the event and rising food prices had left 3.7 disasters over time. However, it has certain limitations. million people at risk of hunger, with 600,000 destitute. Disaster Sources for EM-DAT range from government agencies and the statistics also fail to expose the imminent risks faced by the poor. UN system to NGOs, insurance companies and press agencies. In Burkina Faso, for example, a good harvest in 2007 meant that the Some events are more reported than others: high-profile disasters country did not make an emergency food aid appeal. Even so, the 2 like Hurricane Katrina attract more media attention than local United States Agency for International Development (USAID) food Climate shocks: risk and vulnerability in an unequal world droughts. Similarly, some groups are almost certainly under- security assessment