Climatic Changes Occurring Internationally as a Result of Human Activity

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Scientists around the world now agree that the climatic changes occurring internationally are the result of human activity. Although responsibility for the causes of climate change rests primarily with the developed and industrialised nations, the costs of climate change will be borne most directly by the poor. This is for a number of reasons, including: •many of the regions most likely to be adversely affected fall in the developing world; •the poor are disproportionately dependent on occupations, such as farming, that are adversely affected by climate change; and •because the poor have very limited resources, they do not have the ability to adapt to climate change in the way that wealthier households ca. In particular, changes to water quality, quantity and availability will be an impact of ongoing climate change in many areas. This paper describes what climate change is, including how it is affecting the world we live in and the timeframe within which these changes are expected to happen. It then considers why climate change needs to be a priority in development planning, including the inequitable burden it places on the poor and developing countries, as well as the impacts on the world’s water resources. Finally, this paper concludes by presenting measures to address climate change, including some current campaigns. 1.2 1.2 W WHAT IS C HAT IS CLIMATE LIMATE LIMATE CCCHANGE HANGE?? The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, see box 2.1) defines climate change as, “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods”. 1
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