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Climate Change and Sustainable Development

Economic &Social AffairsDESA Working Paper No. 56ST/ESA/2007/DWP/56 October 2007 Climate Change and Sustainable DevelopmentTariq Banuri and Hans OpschoorTariq Banuri is Director, Future Studies Program, Stockholm Environment Institute, SEI-Boston, USA and a member of the UN Committee for Development Policy. E-mail: Opschoor is Professor of Sustainable Development Economics, Institute of Social Studies, the Netherlands and a member of the UN Committee for Development Policy. E-mail: should be addressed by e-mail to the is paper argues that in the future the primary focus of policy research and global agreements should be the de-carbonization of economic Development .

Climate Change and Sustainable Development Tariq Banuri and Hans Opschoor Th e purpose of this working paper is to raise critical issues on the relationship between ...

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Transcription of Climate Change and Sustainable Development

1 Economic &Social AffairsDESA Working Paper No. 56ST/ESA/2007/DWP/56 October 2007 Climate Change and Sustainable DevelopmentTariq Banuri and Hans OpschoorTariq Banuri is Director, Future Studies Program, Stockholm Environment Institute, SEI-Boston, USA and a member of the UN Committee for Development Policy. E-mail: Opschoor is Professor of Sustainable Development Economics, Institute of Social Studies, the Netherlands and a member of the UN Committee for Development Policy. E-mail: should be addressed by e-mail to the is paper argues that in the future the primary focus of policy research and global agreements should be the de-carbonization of economic Development .

2 Consequently, instead of treating Climate stabilization and economic Development as separate and equal, the strategy should be to re-integrate the two global policy goals, in part by separating responsibility (and funding) from action. Th is will require an approach that goes beyond Kyoto. Th e paper invokes the example of the Manhattan Project to argue for a massive, globally funded public investment program for the deployment of renewable energy technologies in developing countries. JEL Classifi cation: Q51, Q54, Q56, F59, H23, H87 Keywords: carbon emissions, Climate Change , Sustainable Development , international cooperation, mitigation, adaptationUN/DESA Working Papers are preliminary documents circulated in a limited number of copies and posted on the DESA website at to stimulate discussion and critical comment.

3 Th e views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily refl ect those of the United Nations Secretariat. Th e designations and terminology employed may not conform to United Nations practice and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the : Leah McDavidUnited Nations Department of Economic and Social Aff airs2 United Nations Plaza, Room DC2-1428 New York, 10017, USATel: (1-212) 963-4761 Fax: (1-212) 963-4444e-mail: e Climate 1Th e challenge of stabilization .. 2 Th e current record.

4 6Th e conventional approach: Separate Climate and Development .. 7 Population growth .. 8 Economic growth .. 8 De-Linking .. 10 Th e role of policy .. 11 Beyond Kyoto .. 14Th e Development approach .. 17 Th e analogy with structural adjustment .. 18 References .. 23 Climate Change and Sustainable Development Tariq Banuri and Hans OpschoorTh e purpose of this working paper is to raise critical issues on the relationship between Climate policy and Sustainable Development .

5 It criticizes current policy approaches, including that refl ected in the Kyoto Proto-col, on the grounds that they have inadvertently resulted in the placing of Climate policy and Development into separate boxes. Policy experience on Climate stabilization has developed largely within the institutional, economic, and political context of industrialized countries, but policy analysis now needs to turn single-mindedly to the situation of developing countries. In the future, it would be necessary not only to induce adjustment in industrialized countries, but also to re-orient the growth process in the developing world towards de-carbonization.

6 To this end, the working paper concludes with the identifi cation of a set of ques-tions for wider and urgent discussion. To set the stage, Section 1 provides a brief summary of recent developments in the Climate literature. Th ere is virtually no doubt today that Climate Change is already happening, that it is caused by the emission and accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere, that it poses the gravest of dangers to life on this planet, and that much of its impact is already locked in because of past actions, but the most ex-treme costs could be avoided if policy responses are put in place immediately.

7 Section 2 moves from Climate trends to stabilization, and summarizes global as well national actions (in particular those developed under the Kyoto Protocol) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In retrospect, these have proven highly inadequate and have not produced an appreciable impact. Th e ideas that are being discussed on how to proceed beyond Kyoto are framed within the same overall approach. Th eir main weakness is the absence of credible measures that can reassure developing countries that the Development agenda will be reconciled and integrated into Climate economic Development requires an approach that goes beyond Kyoto.

8 Instead of sep-arating Climate and Development , it should separate responsibility (and funding) from action. Th is implies a shift from the language of emission targets or rights to the language of investment, a language that pro-vides the core of Development thinking. A concrete option is to initiate a globally funded public investment program in developing countries, using the example of the Manhattan Project, to deploy available renewable technologies on a massive scale. Section 4 presents some initial ideas on this approach, and recommends research and analysis on critical themes.

9 The Climate problemClimate Change is a serious and urgent issue. Th e Earth s Climate is changing, and the scientifi c consensus is not only that human activities have contributed to it signifi cantly, but that the Change is far more rapid and dangerous than thought earlier (IPCC 2007)1. In this section, we will only highlight some of these points (for more detail, we refer to IPCC 2007 and Stern 2006).Th e global mean temperature of the earth is rising; it has risen by in the 20th century, and con-tinues on an upward trend. Th is has already begun to impose costs ( , in the form of heat waves, frequency of extreme events, and recession of glaciers), but these are still within the bounds of common experience.

10 1 Th e precise statement is that IPCC now has very high confi dence that the globally averaged net eff ect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming . 2 DESA Working Paper No. 56 However, further temperature increases contain the potential of much larger and even catastrophic impacts. Th ere is close to a scientifi c consensus over the threshold of the so-called 2-degree line, namely an increase of 2oC above pre-industrial levels, beyond which catastrophic Change is highly probable. Successive assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have increased the confi dence in the evidence as well as the e fl aming arrows 2 diagram in fi gure 1 (taken from Stern 2006) is probably the best illustra-tion of the results of this research.


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