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The region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA) is already experiencing the consequences of climate change: increasing variability, warmer temperatures, altered hydrology. Events such as droughts, floods, heat waves, windstorms, and forest fires are increasing in number and severity. The concentration of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere guarantees that similar or greater changes are yet to come-even if the world were to completely stop emitting CO2 today. This region is particularly vulnerable because of its legacy of socioeconomic issues, environmental mismanagement, aging infrastructure and housing, and under-investment in hydrometeorological, rural, and health institutions. The resulting adaptation deficit will exacerbate climate risks and hamper the ability of sectors that could gain from climate change, such as agriculture, to reap the full benefits. 'Adapting to Climate Change in Eastern Europe and Central Asia' presents an overview of what adaptation to climate change might mean for the countries of ECA. It starts with a discussion of emerging best-practice adaptation planning around the world and a review of the latest climate projections. It then discusses possible actions to improve resilience organized around impacts on natural resources, health, the unbuilt environment of agriculture and forestry, and the built environment of infrastructure and housing. The book concludes with a discussion of two areas in great need of strengthening: disaster preparedness and hydrometeorological services. The next decade offers a window of opportunity for ECA countries to make their development more resilient to climate change. While some impacts of climate change are already being felt, they are likely to remain manageable over the next decade, offering the ECA region a short period of time to focus on actions that have numerous benefits both today and in the future.
As the global population heads toward 9 billion by 2050, decisions made today will lock countries into growth patterns that may or may not be sustainable in the future. Care must be taken to ensure that cities and roads, factories and farms are designed, managed, and regulated as efficiently as possible to wisely use natural resources while supporting the robust growth developing countries still need. Economic development during the next two decades cannot mirror the previous two: poverty reduction remains urgent but growth and equity can be pursued without relying on policies and practices that foul the air, water, and land. Inclusive Green Growth: The Pathway to Sustainable Development makes the case that greening growth is necessary, efficient, and affordable. Yet spurring growth without ensuring equity will thwart efforts to reduce poverty and improve access to health, education, and infrastructure services. Countries must make strategic investments and farsighted policy changes that acknowledge natural resource constraints and enable the world's poorest and most vulnerable to benefit from efficient, clean, and resilient growth. Like other forms of capital, natural assets are limited and require accounting, investment, and maintenance in order to be properly harnessed and deployed. By maximizing co-benefits and avoiding lock-in, by promoting smarter decisions in industry and society, and by developing innovative financing tools for green investment, we can afford to do the things we must.
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