Climate Change and Sustainable Development | Global Humanitarian Forum
An excerpt from the Global Humanitarian Forum report, "Human Impact Report: Climate Change – The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis."
Since climate change will only intensify, it is imperative that the concept of sustainable development as we know it today is redefined. Resilience in the face of climate change must be added as an additional pillar to the concept of sustainable development. Development must not only be sustainable, but also climate-proof. That redefinition will not come for free. Substantial resources must be spent on adaptation to climate change. But these resources will safeguard past investments in development that have been sourced over decades mainly from public coffers. Much of this public money is at great risk today.
There are many reasons why a comprehensive report on the human impact of climate change is only available in mid-2009. Our lack of ability to understand and account for the risks mirrors our inability to analyze threats and map these same risks. Climate change is shifting the ground from underneath us. Farmers who once relied on traditional knowledge, handed down over generations, for choosing when to plant and when to harvest are now at the mercy of erratic rainfall patterns or dry spells. Floods follow droughts follow floods. And while climate change benefits from the world’s largest scientific body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, our understanding of the impacts is still limited. Phenomenal gaps in research exist. Climate change was always considered a theoretical future problem, until now. ...
[W]e have to begin to piece together the information available to us into a plausible narrative of what is actually occurring. If we continue to ignore the trends, we will only find ourselves ill-prepared. That would be a terrible error in judgement, given that this report suggests that we are clearly dealing with the single greatest emerging humanitarian threat ever encountered.