Human Development Report 2007/2008
What we do today about climate change has consequences that will last a century or more. The part of that change that is due to greenhouse gas emissions is not reversible in the foreseeable future. The heat trapping gases we send into the atmosphere in 2008 will stay there until 2108 and beyond. We are therefore making choices today that will affect our own lives, but even more so the lives of our children and grandchildren. This makes climate change different and more difficult than otherpolicy challenges.
Climate change is now a scientifically established fact. The 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.
Here the Human Development Report is the product of a collective effort that insights the linkages between climate change and human development.