With governments all over the world preparing to gather in Bali, the Indonesian capital, in a few weeks to discuss the future of the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) 2007/2008 Human Development Report (HDP) has warned that the world should focus on the development impact of climate change that could bring unprecedented reversals in poverty reduction, nutrition, health and education.
The report, titled "Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world," provides a stark account of the threat posed by global warming. It argues that the world is drifting towards a "tipping point" that could lock the world’s poorest countries and their poorest citizens in a downward spiral, leaving hundreds of millions facing malnutrition, water scarcity, ecological threats as well as loss of livelihoods.
The report was launched on Tuesday in Abuja and in some other cities around the world.
The UNDP Ambassador, Mr. Kemal Dervig, stated, "Ultimately, climate change is a threat to humanity as a whole. But it is the poor, a constituency with no responsibility for the ecological debt we are running up, who face the immediate and most severe human costs."
The report comes at a key moment in negotiations to forge a multilateral agreement for the period after 2012 – the expiry date for the current commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. In fact, it call for a "twin track" approach that combines stringent mitigation to limit 21st Century warming to less than 2 degree centigrade, with strengthened international cooperation on adaptation.
On mitigation, the authors call on developed countries to demonstrate leadership by cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 80 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050. The report advocates a mix of carbon taxation, more stringent cap-and-trade programmes, energy regulation, and international cooperation on financing for low-carbon technology transfer.
On adaptation, the report warns that inequalities in ability to cope with climate change are emerging as an increasingly powerful driver of wider inequalities between and within countries. It calls on rich countries to put climate change adaptation at the centre of international partnerships on poverty reduction.
Aimed at framing debates on some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity, the HDR is an independent report commissioned by the UNDP, which is the United Nation’s (UN) global network that help’s people meet their development needs and build a better life.
Nigeria has signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol. But, as a non-Annex 1 Party to the Protocol, she is not bound by specific targets for GHG emissions.
With 2.2 per cent of the world’s population, Nigeria accounts for 0.4 per cent of global emissions – an average of 0.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person, which are considered below those of sub-Saharan Africa .
However, just like other developing nations, the country is believed to be highly vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change.
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