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  • Author: Kevin Ummel
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA) database provides information about the carbon dioxide emissions, electricity production, corporate ownership, and location of more than 60,000 power plants in over 200 countries. Originally launched in 2007, CARMA is provided freely to the public at www.carma. org and remains the only comprehensive data source of its kind. This paper documents the methodology underpinning CARMA v3.0, released in July, 2012. Comparison of CARMA model output with reported data highlights the general difficulty of precisely predicting annual electricity generation for a given plant and year. Estimating the rate at which a plant emits CO2 (per unit of electricity generated) generally faces fewer obstacles. Ultimately, greater disclosure of plant-specific data is needed to overcome these limitations, particularly in major emitting countries like China, Russia, and Japan. For any given plant in CARMA v3.0, it is estimated that the reported value is within 20 percent of the actual value in 85 percent of cases for CO2 intensity, 75 percent for annual CO2 emissions, and 45 percent for annual electricity generation. CARMA's prediction models are shown to offer significantly better estimates than more naïve approaches to estimating plant-specific performance.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Health, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China
  • Author: David Wheeler
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper attempts a comprehensive accounting of climate change vulnerability for 233 states, ranging in size from China to Tokelau. Using the most recent evidence, it develops risk indicators for three critical problems: increasing weather-related disasters, sea-level rise, and loss of agricultural productivity. The paper embeds these indicators in a methodology for cost-effective allocation of adaptation assistance. The methodology can be applied easily and consistently to all 233 states and all three problems, or to any subset that may be of interest to particular donors. Institutional perspectives and priorities differ; the paper develops resource allocation formulas for three cases: (1) potential climate impacts alone, as measured by the three indicators; (2) case 1 adjusted for differential country vulnerability, which is affected by economic development and governance; and (3) case 2 adjusted for donor concerns related to project economics: intercountry differences in project unit costs and probabilities of project success. The paper is accompanied by an Excel database with complete data for all 233 countries. It provides two illustrative applications of the database and methodology: assistance for adaptation to sea level rise by the 20 island states that are both small and poor and general assistance to all low-income countries for adaptation to extreme weather changes, sea-level rise, and agricultural productivity loss.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Kevin Ummel
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper provides high-resolution estimates of the global potential and cost of utility-scale photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies and uses a spatially explicit model to identify deployment patterns that minimize the cost of greenhouse gas abatement. A global simulation is run with the goal of providing 2,000 TWh of solar power (-7% of total consumption) in 2030, taking into account least-cost siting of facilities and transmission lines and the effect of diurnal variation on project profitability and required subsidies. The American southwest, Tibetan Plateau, Sahel, and Middle East are identified as major supply areas. Solar power consumption concentrates in the United States over the next decade, diversifying to Europe and India by the early 2020's, and focusing in China in the second half of the decade—often relying upon long-distance, highvoltage transmission lines. Cost estimates suggest deployment on this scale is likely to be competitive with other prominent abatement options in the energy sector. Further development of spatially explicit energy models could help guide infrastructure planning and financing strategies both nationally and globally, elucidating a range of important questions related to renewable energy policy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Globalization, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Middle East, Sahel
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Jan von der Goltz
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In the run-up to the December 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, the authors surveyed members of the international development community with a special interest in climate change on three sets of detailed questions: (1) what action different country groups should take to limit climate change; (2) how much non-market funding there should be for emissions reductions and adaptation in developing countries, and how it should be allocated; and (3) which institutions should be involved in delivering climate assistance, and how the system should be governed. About 500 respondents from 88 countries completed the survey between November 19–24, 2009. About a third of the respondents grew up in developing countries, although some of them now live in developed countries. A broad majority of respondents from both developing and developed countries held very similar views on the responsibilities of the two different country groups, including on issues that have been very controversial in the negotiations. Most favored binding commitments now by developed countries, and commitments by 2020 by \'advanced developing countries\' (Brazil, China, India, South Africa and others), limited use of offsets by developed countries, strict monitoring of compliance with commitments, and the use of trade measures (e.g. carbon-related tariffs) only in very narrow circumstances. Respondents from developing countries favored larger international transfers than those from developed countries, but the two groups share core ideas on how transfers should be allocated. Among institutional options for managing climate programs, a plurality of respondents from developed (48 percent) and developing (56 percent) countries preferred a UN-managed world climate fund, while many from both groups also embraced the UN Adaptation Fund\'s approach, which is to accredit national institutions within countries which are eligible to manage implementation of projects that the Fund finances. Among approaches to governance, the most support went to the Climate Investment Fund model—of equal representation of developing and developed countries on the board.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: China, India, South Africa, Brazil, United Nations
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian, Aaditya Mattoo, Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, Jianwu He
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: There is growing clamor in industrial countries for additional border taxes on imports from countries with lower carbon prices. A key factor affecting the impact of these taxes is whether they are based on the carbon content of imports or the carbon content in domestic production. Our quantitative estimates suggest that the former action when applied to all merchandise imports would address competitiveness and environmental concerns in high income countries but with serious consequences for trading partners. For example, China's manufacturing exports would decline by one-fifth and those of all low- and middle-income countries by 8 percent; the corresponding declines in real income would be 3.7 percent and 2.4 percent. In contrast, border tax adjustment based on the carbon content in domestic production, especially if applied to both imports and exports, would broadly address the competitiveness concerns of producers in high income countries without seriously damaging developing-country trade. Therefore, as part of a comprehensive agreement on climate change, new WTO rules could be negotiated that would prohibit the extreme form of action while possibly allowing trade actions based on domestic carbon content as a safety valve.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian, Aaditya Mattoo, Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, Jianwu He
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Most economic analyses of climate change have focused on the aggregate impact on countries of mitigation actions. We depart first in disaggregating the impact by sector, focusing particularly on manufacturing output and exports because of the potential growth consequences. Second, we decompose the impact of an agreement on emissions reductions into three components: the change in the price of carbon due to each country's emission cuts per se; the further change in this price due to emissions tradability; and the changes due to any international transfers (private and public). Manufacturing output and exports in low carbon intensity countries such as Brazil are not adversely affected. In contrast, in high carbon intensity countries, such as China and India, even a modest agreement depresses manufacturing output by 6-7 percent and manufacturing exports by 9-11 percent. The increase in the carbon price induced by emissions tradability hurts manufacturing output most while the Dutch disease effects of transfers hurt exports most. If the growth costs of these structural changes are judged to be substantial, the current policy consensus, which favors emissions tradability (on efficiency grounds) supplemented with financial transfers (on equity grounds), needs re-consideration.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, India, Brazil