Poverty in a Changing Climate

Edited by: Thomas Tanner and Tom Mitchell

September 2008
Volume 39 Number 4

Climate change gets attention across the world. IPCC findings call for radical limits to atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations responsible for human-induced climate change. Achieving an international agreement, particularly under the UNFCCC, on emissions targets, burden sharing, trading mechanisms and technological and financial assistance remains a high priority concern for the 'mitigation' of climate change.

Simultaneously, there is a growing acknowledgement of the need to enable human and natural systems to adjust to actual or expected climate stimuli or their effects, a process known as 'adaptation'. Adaptation is now a central strand of climate policy, thanks to the increasing engagement of the development community, particularly through emphasising the differentiated nature of impacts across the world and within societies. Adaptation is framed as an equity and rights issue. The central message of this IDS Bulletin is that adaptation will be ineffective and inequitable if it fails to learn from and build upon an understanding of the multi-dimensional and differentiated nature of poverty and vulnerability.