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  • Author: Nemat Shafik
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Development finance is at a turning point. There is talk about a "triple revolution of goals, actors and tools." As much of Asia grows its way out of poverty, aid will increasingly be focused on Africa and on countries plagued by instability, or with governments unable to meet the basic needs of their populations. A growing share of development finance will be directed to tackling global public goods-like climate change, conflict prevention, and public health. Responsibility for addressing global challenges will increasingly be borne by coalitions that cut across states, the private sector, and civil society. These networks to address poverty and global issues will become a feature of the international architecture in a multipolar world. The rules of the game and the tools of development assistance need to evolve to focus on transparency, results, accountability, a market-driven division of labor and flexible partnerships for the future development finance system to become an effective tool of global problem solving.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Climate Change, Development, Environment, Health
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Benjamin Leo
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The global community faces a number of critical challenges ranging from climate change to crossborder health risks to natural-resource scarcities. Many of these so-called global commons problems carry grave risks to economic growth in the developing world and to the livelihoods and welfare of their people. Climate change is the classic example. Despite the risks involved, donor governments have funded programs addressing global challenges such as climate change at far lower levels than traditional programs of country-based development assistance. The prospects for dealing with such global challenges will depend at least in part on new collective financing mechanisms.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Health, Humanitarian Aid, Foreign Aid
  • Author: David Wheeler
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper computes national carbon mitigation costs using two simple principles: (1) Incremental costs for low-carbon energy investments are calculated using the cost of coal-fired power as the benchmark. (2) All low-carbon energy sources are counted, because reducing carbon emissions cannot be separated from other concerns: reducing local air pollution from fossil-fuel combustion; diversifying energy sources to reduce political and economic risks; and building competitive advantage in emerging clean-energy markets. The paper estimates energy growth and incremental costs for biomass, solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, and nuclear in 174 countries from 1990 to 2008. Then it compares national mitigation burdens using per-capita mitigation expenditures as shares of per-capita incomes. The results undermine the conventional view of North-South conflict that has dominated global climate negotiations, because they show that developing countries, whether by intention or not, have been critical participants in carbon mitigation all along. Furthermore, they suggest that developing countries have borne their fair share of global mitigation expenditures. But they also show that expenditures for both developed and developing countries have been so modest that low-carbon energy growth could accelerate greatly without undue strain.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Author: David Wheeler, Susmita Dasgupta, Benoit Laplante, Brian Blankespoor
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Without international assistance, developing countries will adapt to climate change as best they can. Part of the cost will be absorbed by households and part by the public sector. Adaptation costs will themselves be affected by socioeconomic development, which will also be affected by climate change. Without a better understanding of these interactions, it will be difficult for climate negotiators and donor institutions to determine the appropriate levels and modes of adaptation assistance. This paper contributes by assessing the economics of adaptation to extreme weather events. We address several questions that are relevant for the international discussion: How will climate change alter the incidence of these events, and how will their impact be distributed geographically? How will future socioeconomic development, notably an increased focus on education and empowerment for women and girls, affect the vulnerability of affected communities? And, of primary interest to negotiators and donors, how much would it cost to neutralize the threat of additional losses in this context?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Third World, Foreign Aid
  • 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: David Wheeler
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The failure of carbon regulation in the U.S. Congress has undermined international negotiations to reduce carbon emissions. The global stalemate has, in turn, increased the likelihood that vulnerable developing countries will be severely damaged by climate change. This paper asks why the tragic American impasse has occurred, while the EU has succeeded in implementing carbon regulation. Both cases have involved negotiations between relatively rich “Green” regions and relatively poor “Brown” (carbon-intensive) regions, with success contingent on two factors: the interregional disparity in carbon intensity, which proxies the extra mitigation cost burden for the Brown region, and the compensating incentives provided by the Green region. The European negotiation has succeeded because the interregional disparity in carbon intensity is relatively small, and the compensating incentive (EU membership for the Brown region) has been huge. In contrast, the U.S. negotiation has repeatedly failed because the interregional disparity in carbon intensity is huge, and the compensating incentives have been modest at best. The unsettling implication is that an EU-style arrangement is infeasible in the United States, so the Green states will have to find another path to serious carbon mitigation. One option is mitigation within their own boundaries, through clean technology subsidies or emissions regulation. The Green states have undertaken such measures, but potential free-riding by the Brown states and international competitors seems likely to limit this approach, and it would address only the modest Green-state portion of U.S. carbon emissions in any case. The second option is mobilization of the Green states' enormous market power through a carbon added tax (CAT). Rather than taxing carbon emissions at their points of production, a CAT taxes the carbon embodied in products at their points of consumption. For Green states, a CAT has four major advantages: It can be implemented unilaterally, state-by-state; it encourages clean production everywhere, by taxing carbon from all sources equally; it creates a market advantage for local producers, by taxing transport-related carbon emissions; and it offers fiscal flexibility, since it can either offset existing taxes or raise additional revenue.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: David Wheeler, Dan Hammer
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Female education and family planning are both critical for sustainable development, and they obviously merit expanded support without any appeal to global climate considerations. However, even relatively optimistic projections suggest that family planning and female education will suffer from financing deficits that will leave millions of women unserved in the coming decades. Since both activities affect fertility, population growth, and carbon emissions, they may also provide sufficient climate-related benefits to warrant additional financing from resources devoted to carbon emissions abatement. This paper considers the economic case for such support. Using recent data on emissions, program effectiveness and program costs, we estimate the cost of carbon emissions abatement via family planning and female education. We compare our estimates with the costs of numerous technical abatement options that have been estimated by Nauclér and Enkvist in a major study for McKinsey and Company (2009). We find that the population policy options are much less costly than almost all of the options Nauclér and Enkvist provide for low-carbon energy development, including solar, wind, and nuclear power, second-generation biofuels, and carbon capture and storage. They are also cost-competitive with forest conservation and other improvements in forestry and agricultural practices. We conclude that female education and family planning should be viewed as viable potential candidates for financial support from global climate funds. The case for female education is also strengthened by its documented contribution to resilience in the face of the climate change that has already become inevitable.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Gender Issues, Third World
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Jan von der Goltz
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Developing countries with large greenhouse gas emissions play a decisive role in negotiating a post-Kyoto climate agreement. No effective program to reduce global emissions is possible without their support. At the same time, developing countries face a delicate task in balancing their growing responsibility for a livable climate with the pursuit of continued economic development. This article discusses the negotiating positions major developing country emitters are taking on core issues. Among the most vital unsettled questions are burden sharing between developed and developing countries, the role of the market in the international climate architecture, as well as implementation arrangements. An annex discusses current mitigation policies of major developing country emitters, and argues that developing countries are already taking meaningful action to limit the growth of their greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Treaties and Agreements, Third World
  • Author: David Wheeler, Susmita Dasgupta, Benoit Laplante, Siobhan Murray
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: As the climate changes during the 21st century, larger cyclonic storm surges and growing populations may collide in disasters of unprecedented size. As conditions worsen, variations in coastal morphology will magnify the effects in some areas, while largely insulating others. In this paper, we explore the implications for 84 developing countries and 577 of their cyclone-vulnerable coastal cities with populations greater than 100,000. Combining the most recent scientific and demographic information, we estimate the future impact of climate change on storm surges that will strike coastal populations, economies and ecosystems. We focus on the distribution of heightened impacts, because we believe that greater knowledge of their probable variation will be useful for local and national planners, as well as international donors. Our results suggest gross inequality in the heightened impact of future disasters, with the most severe effects limited to a small number of countries and a small cluster of large cities.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics
  • 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