Climate change is the defining development challenge of our time.
More than a global environmental issue, climate change and variability
threaten to reverse recent progress in poverty reduction and economic
growth. Both now and over the long run, climate change and variability
threatens human and social development by restricting the fulfillment
of human potential and by disempowering people and communities in
reducing their livelihoods options.
Communities across Latin America and the Caribbean are already
experiencing adverse consequences from climate change and variability.
Precipitation has increased in the southeastern part of South America,
and now often comes in the form of sudden deluges, leading to flooding
and soil erosion that endanger people’s lives and livelihoods.
Southwestern parts of South America and western Central America are
seeing a decrease in precipitation and an increase in droughts.
Increasing heat and drought in Northeast Brazil threaten the
livelihoods of already-marginal smallholders, and may turn parts of the
eastern Amazon rainforest into savannah. The Andean inter-tropical
glaciers are shrinking and expected to disappear altogether within the
next 20-40 years, with significant consequences for water availability.
These environmental changes will impact local livelihoods in
Poverty, inequality, water access, health, and migration are and
will be measurably affected by climate change. Using an innovative
research methodology, this study finds quantitative evidence of large
variations in impacts across regions. Many already poor regions are
becoming poorer; traditional livelihoods are being challenged in
unprecedented ways; water scarcity is increasing, particularly in poor
arid areas; human health is deteriorating; and climate-induced
migration is already taking place and may increase.
Successfully reducing social vulnerability to climate change and
variability requires action and commitment at multiple levels. This
volume offers key operational recommendations at the government,
community, and household levels with particular emphasis placed on
enhancing good governance and technical capacity in the public sector,
building social capital in local communities, and protecting the asset
base of poor households.
'Dorte Verner and her team are once again ahead of the curve,
bringing home the threat not just to our planet but our people in
'Reducing Poverty, Protecting Livelihoods, and Building Assets in a
Changing Climate'. They focus on the danger in the most human
terms, examining the risk to our planet's most vulnerable, in
particular the world's poor who rely on natural resources to
survive—resources endangered by extreme weather changes. While
focusing on Latin America, this book reminds us all there isn't a
place on earth exempt from the threat of climate change. It's a
moral wake-up call.'
— John F. Kerry, U.S. Senator
'In this important and provocative volume, Dorte Verner and her
colleagues provide an expansive treatment of climate change and its
many effects, especially on the global poor.'
— David Lee, Professor, Cornell
'This book is bound to become the defining analysis of climate
change's implications for poverty and social cohesion. ... A key
guide for policy makers.'
— Daniel Cohen, Professor and Vice
President, Paris School of Economics
'This much-welcome overview provides guidelines and suggests
priorities for designing and implementing suitable adaptation
— Anthony Hall, Professor, London School
'It is no longer possible to prevent damaging climate change. If
used properly, this book will save many lives.'
— Robert Waldmann, Professor, University
'This is persuasive, comprehensive, excellent, thoughtful, and
— Steven Solomon, Author, 'WATER: The
Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization'
'This book is simply a must for all those concerned by climate
— Javier Santiso, Professor of Economics,
ESADE Business School
'This is first time to have a comprehensive social assessment of
climate change and it will become a standard reference.'
— Shengen Fan, Director General,
International Food Policy Research Institute
'This book presents evidence that we must improve our efforts on
resilience and adaptation measures to counter the consequences of
climate change on the most vulnerable population groups.'
— Søren Pind, Minister for Development
'The team is to be congratulated—very well compiled and
— Augusta Molnar, Rights and Resources
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