An evaluation of analyses sponsored by the predecessor to the U.K. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) of the global impacts of climate change under various mitigation scenarios (including CO2. stabilization at 550 and 750 ppm) coupled with an examination of the relative costs associated with different schemes to either mitigate climate change or reduce vulnerability to various climate-sensitive hazards (namely, malaria, hunger, water shortage, coastal flooding, and losses of global forests and coastal wetlands) indicates that, at least for the next few decades, risks and/or threats associated with these hazards would be lowered much more effectively and economically by reducing current and future vulnerability to those hazards rather than through stabilization. Accordingly, over the next few decades the focus of climate policy should be to: (a) broadly advance sustainable development (particularly in developing countries since that would generally enhance their adaptive capacity to cope with numerous problems that currently beset them, including climate-sensitive problems), (b) reduce vulnerabilities to climate-sensitive problems that are urgent today and might be exacerbated by future climate change, and (c) implement “no-regret” emission reduction measures while at the same time striving to expand the universe of such measures through research and development of cleaner and more affordable technologies. Such a policy would help solve current urgent problems facing humanity while preparing it to face future problems that might be caused by climate change.
Energy & Environment – SAGE
Published: Jul 1, 2005