By Carla Gomes
We have got used to seeing human development as some kind of ladder, where gradual improvement in quality of life is the only desirable and reasonable outcome. However, the unprecedented crisis of climate change threatens to hinder longstanding gains in poverty alleviation, health and food security, at worldwide level. The ‘climate emergency’ has a direct impact on the availability of resources, shrinking liveable territory and making it all the more challenging to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Looking at this problem through the lens of capabilities – our opportunities to lead a life we have reason to value – helps to clarify the multiple ways in which climate change hinders human development, or how the ‘blind spots’ of climate-related policies may reinforce existent vulnerabilities. Conversely, it unveils how our personal and social strengths, often less visible, can serve as adaptation capabilities.