Covers environment, transportation, urban and regional planning, economic and social issues with a focus on Finland and Portugal.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ranking of the Human Development Index: Iceland "best country to live"

The upcoming Human Development Report entitled Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world, was launched today (27 November 2007) in Brasilia, Brazil. The launch event was paralleled by multiple launches in cities around the world.
According to the report, Iceland has overtaken Norway as the world's most desirable country to live in, and puts again AIDS-afflicted sub-Saharan African states at the bottom.
Rich countries dominate the top places, with Iceland, Norway, Australia, Canada and Ireland the first five but the United States slipping to 12th place from eighth last year.
Launch of the 2007/2008 Report

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The HDI measures achievements in terms of life expectancy, educational attainment and adjusted real income

HDI rank/High human development
1 Iceland
2 Norway
3 Australia
4 Canada
5 Ireland
6 Sweden
7 Switzerland
8 Japan
9 Netherlands
10 France
11 Finland
12 United States
13 Spain
14 Denmark
15 Austria
16 United Kingdom
17 Belgium
18 Luxembourg
19 New Zealand
20 Italy
21 Hong Kong, China (SAR)
22 Germany
23 Israel
24 Greece
25 Singapore
26 Korea (Republic of )
27 Slovenia
28 Cyprus
29 Portugal

World map indicating Human Development Index (2007)
Countries fall into three broad categories based on their HDI: high, medium, and low human development.The 2007/2008 edition of the Human Development Report was published on November 27, 2007
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North America - US must climate-proof growth to prevent human development reversals
The 2007 Human Development Report calls for 80 percent emission cuts by 2050

San Francisco, 27 November 2007—The United States has a unique responsibility to“climate-proof” its growth not only to protect Americans but also to prevent catastrophic reversals in health, education and poverty reduction for the world’s poor, according to the Human Development Report (HDR) on climate change launched here today.

As the US prepares to join global leaders in Bali in December to negotiate future action against climate change, the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP’s) HDR, entitled Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world, stresses that a narrow ten-year window of opportunity remains to act.

If that window is missed, temperature rises of above four degrees Fahrenheit could see an extra 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa go hungry, over 200 million more poor people flooded out of their homes and an additional 400 million exposed to diseases like malaria and dengue fever.

“The carbon budget of the 21st Century—the amount of carbon that can be absorbed creating an even probability that temperatures will not rise above four degrees—is being overspent and threatens to run out entirely by 2032,” says Kevin Watkins, lead author and Director of the Human Development Report Office, “and the poor—those with the lightest carbon footprint but the least means to protect themselves—are the first victims of the developed countries’ energy rich lifestyle.”

As the world’s largest economy and one of the biggest CO2 emitter, the US has a responsibility to take the lead in balancing the carbon budget by cutting emission by 80 percent by 2050, according to the Report, in addition to contributing to a new US$86 billion annual global investment in substantial international adaptation efforts to protect the world’s poor.
Full Press Release (PDF)

World - OECD countries falling short of their commitments to fight climate change
The 2007/2008 Human Development Report calls for 80 percent emission cuts by 2050

Brasilia, 27 November 2007—Developed countries are failing to meet their targets forcutting greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, according to the UnitedNations Development Programme’s Human Development Report (HDR) launched here today. The Report calls for urgent action to align energy policies with a commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050.

With governments preparing for a key meeting in Bali, Indonesia to negotiate a successor to the current Kyoto Protocol, the 2007/2008 HDR, entitled Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world, notes that most OECD countries are off-track for the Kyoto targets. It highlights the discrepancy in many EU countries between politically agreed targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and current energy policies. The authors argue that rich countries are driving an ecological debt crisis which will impact earliest—and hardest—on the world’s poor.

While developing countries account for a growing share of global emissions, rich countries still lead in running up the carbon debt. If each poor person on the planet generated the same emissions as an average European, four planets would be needed to safely cope with the pollution, says Fighting climate change. That figure rises to seven if the benchmark is the emissions of an average Australian and nine for a North American or Canadian.

“Governments of rich countries negotiating the post-2012 framework to succeed the Kyoto Protocol need to take the lead and align credible national carbon emissions targets with any multilateral agreements around a ‘global carbon budget’,” says Kevin Watkins, lead author and Director of the Human Development Report Office. “We do not need high level communiqués reminding us that we have an urgent problem—we need solutions and practical measures to cut emissions.”
Full Press Release (PDF) ENG
Full Press Release (PDF) PT

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