It is a stark warning: "Today, we are witnessing what could be the onset of (a) major human development reversal."
The warning is only one of many troubling statements in "Fighting climate change" Human Solidarity in a divided world," the Human Development Report 2007/2008 issued last month by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Failure to find a solution to climate change, the report warns, "will consign the poorest 40 percent of the world's population -- 2.6 billion people -- to a future of diminished oppportunity."
The report calls for increased urgency to find ways to reverse the impact of global warming and climate change. It suggests including ecological considerations in economic policies and calls for a binding agreement for developed countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.
"Ultimately, climate change is a threat to humanity as a whole," said UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis. "But it is the poor. . . who face the immediate and most severe human costs."
In this time when many are considering their Christmas blessings, this report reminds us of our responsibilities for those who have much less.