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  • Author: David Wheelter, Saurabh Shome
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Until recently, India's intransigent negotiating posture has conveyed the impression that it will not accept any carbon emissions limits without full compensation and more stringent carbon limitation from rich countries. However, our assessment of India's proposed renewable energy standard (RES) indicates that this impression is simply wrong. India is seriously considering a goal of 15 percent renewable energy in its power mix by 2020, despite the absence of any meaningful international pressure to cut emissions, no guarantees of compensatory financing, and a continuing American failure to adopt stringent emissions limits. If India moves ahead with this plan, it will promote a massive shift of new power capacity toward renewables within a decade. We estimate the incremental cost of this change from coal-fired to renewable power to be about $50 billion-an enormous sum for a society that must still cope with widespread extreme poverty. If India moves ahead with its current plan, it should give serious pause to those who have resisted U.S. carbon regulation on the grounds on that it will confer a cost advantage on "intransigent" countries such as India.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States, America, India
  • Author: Kevin Ummel
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Coal power generation in China and India is expected to double and triple, respectively, over the next 20 years, increasing exposure to fuel price volatility, exacerbating local air pollution, and hastening global climate change. Concentrating solar power (CSP) is a growing source of utility-scale, pollution-free electricity, but its potential in Asia remains largely unexamined. High-resolution spatial data are used to identify areas suitable for CSP and estimate power generation and cost under alternative land-use scenarios. Total technical potential exceeds current coal power output by a factor of 16 to 23 in China and 3 to 4 in India. A CSP expansion program and attendant transmission requirements are simulated with the goal of providing 20 percent of electricity in both countries by midcentury. Under conservative assumptions, the program is estimated to require subsidies of $340 billion in present dollars; coal-associated emissions of 96 GtCO2eq are averted at an average abatement cost of $30 per tCO2eq. Estimated costs are especially sensitive to the assumed rate of technological learning, emphasizing the importance of committed public policy and financing to reduce investment risk, encourage expansion of manufacturing capacity, and achieve long-term cost reductions. The results highlight the need for spatially explicit modeling of renewable power technologies and suggest that existing subsidies might be better used through integrated planning for large-scale solar and wind deployment that exploits spatiotemporal complementarities and shared infrastructure.
  • Topic: Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: China, India
  • 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