"The consequences of failure are unimaginable"

Mohan MunasingheMohan Munasinghe, vice-president of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC), said during a lecture at Cambridge University that climate change will lead to a "fortress world in which the rich lock themselves away in gated communities and the poor must fend for themselves in shattered environments."

Climate change is, or could be, the additional factor which will exacerbate the existing problems of poverty, environmental degradation, social polarisation and terrorism and it could lead to a very chaotic situation.[...]

If you see what is going on in some of the gated communities in some countries you do find that rich people live in those kind of protected environments. If you see the restrictions on international travel you see the beginnings of the fortress world syndrome even in entering and leaving countries.[...]

One of the most distressing aspects is that developing countries are the most vulnerable to climate change and the poorest people will be the hardest hit. This is in fact rather unfair because they had least to do with the problem – apparently they will pay the biggest costs.[...]

I tend to be optimistic because I believe this can be done through rational processes, but I also feel that the consequences of failure are unimaginable and that's really the bottom line.

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Simon Leufstedt
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