Continued warming of the atmosphere at the current rate will result in substantial damage to water resources, ecosystems and coastlines, as well as having an impact on food supplies and health. The Stern Review (2007) estimates that if we do not act to limit GHG emissions,
the economic costs of climate change impacts will be between 5% and 20% of global GDP per year, and could be considerably higher. Climate change will affect the basic elements of life for people around the world – access to water, food production, health, and the environment. Hundreds of millions of people could suffer hunger, water shortages and coastal flooding as the world warms.
According to the Stern Review, climate change is a grave threat to the developing world and a major obstacle to continued poverty reduction across its many dimensions.
First, developing regions are at a geographic disadvantage: they are already warmer, on average, than developed regions, and they also suffer from high rainfall variability. As a result, further warming will bring poor countries high costs and few benefits.
Second, developing countries - in particular the poorest - are heavily dependent on agriculture, the most climate-sensitive of all economic sectors, and suffer from inadequate health provision and low-quality public services.
Third, their low incomes and vulnerabilities make adaptation to climate change particularly difficult.