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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Global warming threatens to reverse human progress

A new report released on October 20 in London by a broad coalition of community groups says that global warming threatens to reverse human progress, and make the international targets on halving global poverty by 2015, known as the Millennium Development Goals, unattainable. The report, Up In Smoke, was launched by Dr R K Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), and is endorsed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The coalition behind the report included: Action Aid International, Christian Aid, Columban Faith and Justice, IDS (Institute of Development Studies), ITDG (Intermediate Technology Development Group), IIED (International Institute for Environment and Development), Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, nef (new economics foundation), Operation Noah, Oxfam, People & Planet, RSPB, Tearfund, teri Europe, WWF, WaterAid and World Vision.

The report called on the international community to take urgent action to introduce:

* A global risk assessment of the likely costs of adaptation to climate change in poor countries
* Cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases by industrialised countries in the order of 60-80 per cent (relative to 1990 levels) by the middle of this century, far beyond the targets of the Kyoto Protocol. This is vital to stop climate change running out of control - for example by global average temperatures rising beyond 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
* Commensurate new funds and other resources made available by industrialised countries for poor country adaptation, bearing in mind that rich country subsidies to their domestic fossil fuel industries stood at $73 billion per year in the late 1990s
* Effective and efficient arrangements to respond to the increasing burden of climate-related disaster relief
* Development models based on risk reduction and incorporating community-driven coping strategies in adaptation and disaster preparedness
* Small-scale renewable energy projects promoted by governments and community groups which can help to both tackle poverty and reduce climate change if they are replicated and scaled-up. This will require political commitment and new funds from governments in all countries, and a major shift in priorities by the World Bank and other development bodies.
* Coordinated plans, from local to international levels, for relocating threatened communities with appropriate political, legal and financial resources

Download the report in full.