A Climate for Change
UNDP Croatia 2008 Human Development Report: Climate change and its impacts on society
Brief summary of the report
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today. The 2007/2008 Global Human Development Report (HDR) demonstrated that climate change is taking place and that actions must be taken to reduce its impacts and reduce the extent of that change. Impacts from climate change – caused by increasing levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere – are expected to lead to a myriad of problems that will affect human development. Negative impacts may include damage from more frequent natural disasters and sea-level rise, strains on food production, harm to human health and many other problems. If left unaddressed, climate change in Croatia may restrict people's choices, slow down or undermine development gains and have a negative impact on human development in general.
What is Croatia's role in addressing climate change? Croatia is currently on its way to becoming a European Union (EU) member state, which will bring opportunities and challenges for human development. Croatia is globally ranked 45th in terms of UNDP's Human Development Index. As such, it is among the upper tier of middle-income countries. Within Croatia there are many economic sectors that could be very vulnerable to climate change. The agricultural sector has already shown significant vulnerability to climate variability in recent years, experiencing severe damage from drought, floods and hail. Furthermore, sectors such as fishing and mariculture, electricity production from hydropower and seaside tourism are all linked directly to climate. How might climate change affect human development in Croatia? Will there be any positive impacts?
In addition to addressing the impact of climate change, Croatia will have to reduce its own emissions as part of the global effort to prevent disastrous climate change. Croatia is not a major emitter of GHGs, with approximately 6.94 tonnes per person in 2006 (excluding land use changes). This is compared to an average of 11.5 tonnes per person in 2004, among all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. However, Croatia's emissions are rising, and the country's commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and those resulting from forthcoming European Union (EU) membership, may be a limiting factor in the future. The Government will have to decide the manner by which it will reduce its emissions. Can/should Croatia be part of the effort to reduce emissions by at least 20% by 2020? What would that cost Croatian citizens?
This National Human Development Report (NHDR) takes the global discussion about climate change and brings it to the local level. It is organized into three sections to give an overall picture of climate change issues and Croatia:
1. What do we know about the changing climate? - setting the stage for priority-setting by evaluating popular perceptions of climate change and the level of public interest in helping to address the problem. This section also explores the expected changes of climate in Croatia in terms of changes in temperature, precipitation and other factors.
2. What would climate change affect in Croatia? – assessing the current and potential future vulnerability of key Croatian economic sectors to climate. It also discusses the potential positive impacts that may result from climate change. This section also examines the current ability to adapt to climate impacts as related to human development. Some recommendations for adaptation measures have other key benefits regardless of climate change. They are known as "no regrets" measures.
3. What can Croatia do to change the climate? – assessing the costs of reducing emissions and the institutional capacity of Croatia to mitigate its own effect on climate change – what level of reduction can/should Croatia move towards by 2020, given the current state of emissions in Croatia and the economic and institutional realities within the country?
Overall, the Report aims to further the discussion about climate change in Croatia. It is designed to provide concrete analysis and recommendations for policies that could help to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions and to protect Croatia against the impacts of climate change through adaptation measures. It was written to raise awareness about the human development aspect of climate change and to prompt a national conversation about how Croatia should best respond to the climate challenge.