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The social dimensions of climate change

This paper by the World Health Organization addresses the social dimensions of climate change from a sustainable, equitable development perspective, understood as ‘an irreducible holistic concept where economic, social and environmental issues are interdependent dimensions that must be approached within a unified framework’, and where the overarching outcome is to fully promote human welfare and equal access to life-sustaining resources. The aim of the paper is to broaden and deepen policy-makers’ understanding of the benefits of addressing and incorporating the social dimensions of climate change into climate policies. In doing so, the paper identifies a number of knowledge gaps within the social, human and natural sciences that need to be filled in order to further strengthen policy responses. The underlying argument is that people are at the centre of a successful transition to a world of far-reaching and balanced global reductions in emissions and enhanced resilience.