IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report

5.8 Broader environmental and sustainability issues

Sustainable development can reduce vulnerability to climate change, and climate change could impede nations’ abilities to achieve sustainable development pathways. {WGII SPM}

It is very likely that climate change can slow the pace of progress toward sustainable development either directly through increased exposure to adverse impacts or indirectly through erosion of the capacity to adapt. Over the next half-century, climate change could impede achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. {WGII SPM}

Climate change will interact at all scales with other trends in global environmental and natural resource concerns, including water, soil and air pollution, health hazards, disaster risk, and deforestation. Their combined impacts may be compounded in future in the absence of integrated mitigation and adaptation measures. {WGII 20.3, 20.7, 20.8, SPM}

Making development more sustainable can enhance mitigative and adaptive capacities, reduce emissions, and reduce vulnerability, but there may be barriers to implementation. {WGII 20.8; WGIII 12.2, SPM}

Both adaptive and mitigative capacities can be enhanced through sustainable development. Sustainable development can, thereby, reduce vulnerability to climate change by reducing sensitivities (through adaptation) and/or exposure (through mitigation). At present, however, few plans for promoting sustainability have explicitly included either adapting to climate change impacts, or promoting adaptive capacity. Similarly, changing development paths can make a major contribution to mitigation but may require resources to overcome multiple barriers. {WGII 20.3, 20.5, SPM; WGIII 2.1, 2.5, 12.1, SPM}