The Kyoto Protocol and Beyond

The World After 2012

2007/2008 Occasional Paper
By Newell, Peter

The conflict over the extent to which climate change should be a pressing priority for the development community is increasing in intensity. While many claim that global warming ‘will cancel out western aid and devastate Africa’, 2 or as DfiD claim presents ‘the biggest threat facing the world’,3 sceptics take the view that ‘climate change can wait’, especially in light of seemingly more urgent issues as health4. A more balanced view would be that given the intimate relationship between climate change and economic growth, human health, poverty and access to key livelihood resources, we have to address both simultaneously, especially given the capacity of climate change to reverse progress in these other areas (see table 1). Amid this polarisation and controversy, the development community is struggling to develop effective responses to the dual, and increasingly inter-related, challenges of tackling poverty and combating climate change.