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Human Development Report 2007-2008

Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World

image of Human Development Report 2007-2008
Climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity at the start of the 21st Century. Failure to meet that challenge raises the spectre of unprecedented reversals in human development. This year’s Human Development Report explains why we have less than a decade to change course and start living within our global carbon budget. The Report explains how climate change will create long-run low human development traps, pushing vulnerable people into a downward spiral of deprivation. Because climate change is a global problem with global causes and effects, it demands a global response with countries acting on the basis of their historic responsibility and capabilities.

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Adapting to the inevitable: National action and international cooperation

The village of Maasbommel on the banks of the River Maas in Zeeland, southern Netherlands, is preparing for climate change. Like most of the Netherlands, this is a low-lying area at risk from rising sea levels and rivers swollen by rain. The landscape is dominated by water—and by the networks of dykes that regulate its flow. Located on the Maasbommel waterfront are 37 homes with a distinctive feature: they can float on water. Fixed to large steel stilts that are sunk into the river bed, the hollow foundations of the homes act like the hull of a ship, buoying the structure above water in the event of a flood. The floating homes of Maasbommel offer a case study in how one part of the developed world is adapting to the increased risks of flooding that will come with climate change.

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