By Anu Jogesh
New Delhi: The author of Human Development Report 2007, Kevin Watkins says, “Climate change has become the single biggest threat to human development in the last 100-150 years.”
Watkins speech isn't some Doomsday speech. It is the latest Human Development Report, set to be released by the UN a month from now. And the message is stark. While there's been consistent progress in areas like literacy, poverty alleviation and nutrition, the report says we could be the first generation to see a drop in these development indices because of global warming.
“More than 2.6 billion people survive on less than $2 a day. If they are exposed to these shocks, the threat pushes them into long-winded cycles of poverty from which they cannot escape,” says Watkins.
The IPCC, or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has already predicted that by 2080, two million homes will be hit hard by coastal flooding, over one billion people will face water scarcity, and over 200 million will be close to starving. But the human development report goes even further.
It criticises the EU's carbon credit mechanism, and says all countries should commit to cutting carbon emissions.
“If developing countries need to participate in post Kyoto Protocol. It’s vital for rich countries to facilitate their entry through financial resources and technology transfer. EU and US cannot say to India which has half pop with no electricity to cut down on energy consumption,” says Watkins.
The Human Development Report comes at a critical time, just ahead of a crucial international conference in Bali where countries are set to work on a post Kyoto Protocol scenario. Saving the planet seems to be one everyone's mind. The question how they all finally agree to do it.
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