In light of recent extreme weather events, as well as long-term disruptions related to climate change, a major new report calls for different approaches to decision making by national leaders. The report, entitled “Decision Making in a Changing Climate”, explores challenges and offers recommendations for national-level government officials to make informed and effective decisions to respond to the changing climate. The report, produced by the World Resources Institute, UNDP, UNEP, and the World Bank, is the latest edition of the influential World Resources Report.
“Climate change is a vast, complex, and urgent issue for national leaders. What’s clear beyond doubt is that the decisions leaders make today will have a profound effect on their countries’ ability to find real, lasting solutions to adapt to this global crisis,” said Manish Bapna, Interim President, the World Resources Institute. “This report provides decision makers with concepts and information they need - drawn from real world experiences - to make smart choices and ensure that decision making is effective and durable in the light of these challenges.”
The challenges of climate change are made clear by the array of recent extreme weather events from massive droughts in the Horn of Africa to record rainfall in the United States to wildfires in Brazil. According to the global insurance company, Munich Re, there were more than 950 natural disasters in 2010, 90 percent of which were weather related, costing a total of at least $ 130 billion.
“Climate change is not solely an environmental issue. It is an issue that needs to be taken into account in order to ensure that human development is sustainable over the long term” said Olav Kjorven, Director of the Bureau for Development Policy at UNDP. “Governments must start now to incorporate climate risks into plans and policies across all sectors, including urban development, coastal planning, agriculture, water and forestry management, and electricity production.”
Drawing on input from over 100 experts in over 35 countries, the report includes 12 case studies of innovative, real world responses to climate change, such as wildfire management in Brazil, information sharing on agriculture in Mali and glacial flood management in Nepal. These countries demonstrate how some are rising to the challenge of adapting to climate change.
Yet, adaptation efforts worldwide are still failing to meet the challenge.
“Under present trends, the livelihoods of millions of farmers in Africa, and other people around the world, could be lost due to shifting hydrological patterns, higher temperatures and more extreme weather events,” said Andrew Steer, World Bank Special Envoy for Climate Change. “This doesn’t need to happen. Good policies for climate resilience and low-carbon development can be put in place at reasonable cost. The good news is that many developing countries in Africa and elsewhere are taking action to do just that.”