Human Development Report 2007/2008

26 Apr 2008 399 pages

Climate change is the defi ning human development issue of our generation. All development is ultimately about expanding human potential and enlarging human freedom. It is about people developing the capabilities that empower them to make choices and to lead lives that they value. Climate change threatens to erode human freedoms and limit choice. It calls into question the Enlightenment principle that human progress will make the future look better than the past.

Climate change is now a scientifi cally established fact. Th e exact impact of greenhouse gas emission is not easy to forecast and there is a lot of uncertainty in the science when it comes to predictive capability. But we now know enough to recognize that there are large risks, potentially catastrophic ones, including the melting of ice-sheets on Greenland and the West Antarctic (which would place many countries under water) and changes in the course of the Gulf Stream that would bring about drastic climatic changes.

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