Global warming poses a significant potential threat to future development activities and economic well being of large numbers of human beings. Climate change can be regarded as a potential effect of this global warming. The concept of climate change can be very well defined in the context of development and sustainability. These two key concepts are well established world-wide in the minds of both decision-makers and the general public. These issues are more explicitly related to climate change due to two reasons. First, there are scientific links between these issues and climate change phenomena. Second, such an analysis will add to the cogency of arguments to address climate change problems. Thus, it will help to underline essential point that climate change is a key element of the broader search for sustainable development paths.
A holistic approach is necessary because these broad themes overlap and are not easily separable. The concept of sustainable development (including its economic, social and environmental dimensions) provides a useful starting point. Therefore, the concept of sustainable development has evolved to encompass three major points of view: economic, social and environmental. Furthermore, there is increasing agreement that these three critical elements need to be treated in a balanced manner. Sustainability will depend on several factors including (1) climate change intensity (2) system vulnerability and (3) system resilience. Changes in the global climate (e.g., mean temperature, precipitation, etc.) could well threaten the stability of physical, ecological and social systems and subsystems. Existing international mechanisms and systems to deal with transnational and global problems are fragile, and unlikely to be able to cope with worsening climate change impacts. More attention may need to be paid to the vulnerability of social values and institutions which are already stressed due to rapid technological changes.
Historically, development of the industrialized world focused on material production.
Not surprisingly, most developing nations have pursued the economic goal of increasing output and growth during the twentieth century. The development paradigm shifted towards equitable growth, where social objectives were recognized as important as economic efficiency. Protection of the environment has now become the third major objective of development.
Many national policy decisions taken today could well affect future climate change prospects significantly. Economic analysis has a special role in contemporary national policymaking. Mainstream economics has often ignored many crucial aspects of the environmental and social dimensions of sustainable development. However, there is a small but growing body of economic analysis and an application which seeks to address such shortcomings. At the same time, national policymakers routinely make many key macro-level decisions. For example, many macroeconomic policies seek to induce rapid growth, which in turn could potentially result increase vulnerability to the future impacts of climate change. It could have an impact on both climate change mitigation and adaptation. These pervasive and powerful measures are aimed at addressing economic development, environmental sustainability issues. It should invariably have much higher priority in national agendas, than climate change. The strategies of climate change consistent with other national development measures are more likely to be effective than isolated technological or policy options. In sum, the highest priority needs to be given to finding win-win policies which enhance climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.