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  • Author: Jonah Busch, Jens Engelmann
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: An area of tropical forest the size of India will be deforested in the next 35 years, burning through more than one-sixth of the remaining carbon that can be emitted if global warming is to be kept below 2 degrees Celsius (the “planetary carbon budget”), but many of these emissions could be cheaply avoided by putting a price on carbon.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Author: Katrina Mullan
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper assesses the scale of the potential co-benefits for residents of developing countries of protecting forest ecosystems in order to mitigate climate change. The objective is to improve understanding among development practitioners of the ways in which services provided by forest ecosystems can also make important contributions to achieving development objectives such as improvements to health and safety, and maintenance of food and energy security. This is achieved by reviewing empirical studies that estimate the value of specific ecosystem services derived from forests in order to evaluate and describe the current state of knowledge on how the wellbeing of local people is likely to be affected by the introduction of global mechanisms for avoided deforestation in developing countries. There are four main ways in which wellbeing can be affected: 1) forests provide soil protection and water regulation services, which in turn reduce waterborne diseases, maintain irrigation water supply, and mitigate risks of natural disaster; 2) forests provide habitat for birds, fish, mammals and insects that affect human health and income generation opportunities; 3) clearing forest through use of fire can lead to respiratory illness and property damage, particularly if the fires spread accidentally; and 4) tropical forests are particularly high in biodiversity, making them important locally as well as globally as a potential source of genetic material for new crop varieties and pharmaceuticals. Evidence on the size of these benefits suggests that while they are highly variable, households in or near forests and poor households benefit most from forest ecosystem services.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Water, Food
  • Author: Katrina Brandon
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Tropical forests exert a more profound influence on weather patterns, freshwater, natural disasters, biodiversity, food, and human health–both in the countries where forests are found and in distant countries–than any other terrestrial biome. This report explains the variety of environmental services tropical forests provide and the science underlying how forests provide these services. Tropical deforestation and degradation have reduced the area covered by tropical forests from 12 percent to less than 5 percent of Earth's land area. Forest loss and degradation has reduced or halted the flows of a wide range of ecosystem goods and services, increasing the vulnerability of potentially billions of people to a variety of damaging impacts. Established and emerging science findings suggest that we have substantially underestimated the global importance of tropical forests and the impacts of their loss on human well-being.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Natural Disasters, Natural Resources
  • Author: Rosa C. Goodman, Martin Herold
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Tropical forests have the highest carbon density and cover more land area than forests in any other biome. They also serve a vital role as a natural buffer to climate change ―capturing 2.2–2.7 Gt of carbon per year. Unfortunately, tropical forests, mangroves, and peatlands are also subjected to the highest levels of deforestation and account for nearly all net emissions from Forestry and Other Land Use (FOLU) (1.1–1.4 Gt C / year). Net emissions from FOLU accounted for only 11% of total anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions or 14% of total carbon emissions in 2010, though these figures are somewhat misleading and do not reflect the full potential of tropical forests to mitigate climate change. First, net FOLU emissions have reduced only slightly while emissions from all other sectors have skyrocketed. Secondly, the FOLU net flux is made up of two larger fluxes —deforestation emissions (2.6–2.8 Gt C / year) minus sequestration from forest regrowth (1.2–1.7 Gt C / year). Additionally, intact tropical forests also appear to be capturing at least 1.0 Gt C/ year. Gross deforestation, therefore, accounts for over a quarter of all carbon emissions, and tropical forests have removed 22–26% of all anthropogenic carbon emissions in the 2000s. If deforestation were halted entirely, forests were allowed to regrow, and mature forests were left undisturbed, tropical forests alone could have captured 25–35% of all other anthropogenic carbon emissions. On the other hand, if climate change continues unabated, forests could turn from net sinks to net sources of carbon. Forestrelated activities are among the most economically feasible and cost-effective mitigation strategies, which are important for both short- and long-term mitigation strategies. Action is needed immediately to utilize these natural mitigation solutions, and we need coordinated and comprehensive forest-related policies for mitigation. An international mechanism such as REDD+ is essential to realize the great natural potential for tropical forests to stabilize the climate.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Jesse Lueders, Cara Horowitz, Ann Carlson, Sean B. Hecht, Edward A. Parson
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: For the last several years, California has considered the idea of recognizing, within its greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, offsets generated by foreign states and provinces through reduced tropical forest destruction and degradation and related conservation and sustainability efforts, known as REDD+. During their deliberations on the issue, state policymakers have heard arguments from stakeholders in favor of crediting REDD+ offsets, and those against. After years of planning and cooperative efforts undertaken with states in Brazil, Mexico, and elsewhere, California is still determining whether to embrace REDD+ offsets. The most salient and potentially persuasive arguments in favor stem from the opportunity to influence and reduce international forest-related emissions contributing to climate change, while simultaneously reducing the costs imposed by the state's climate change law. The state is still grappling, however, with serious questions about the effectiveness of REDD+ in addressing climate change, as well as the impacts of REDD+ on other social and environmental objectives. The suitability of the state's cap-and-trade program as a tool for reducing emissions outside the state, given the co-benefits that accrue to local communities from in-state reductions, remains another key area of debate. The outcome of this policy discussion will depend on interrelated questions of program design, future offset supply and demand, and the weight given to the importance of prioritizing in-state emissions reductions and co-benefits.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil, California, Mexico
  • Author: Antonio G.M. La Viña, Alaya de Leon
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper provides an analysis of the international political dynamics around the reduction of tropical deforestation and forest degradation as a climate mitigation strategy, emphasizing the necessity of an enabling environment and sustainable financing to support the scaling up of these efforts globally. After describing the evolution from the 1990s of international cooperation to combat tropical deforestation, the paper focuses principally on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and how it provided an impetus for a renewed effort on this issue. The paper describes the complex process through which the climate and tropical forest agenda got inserted into UNFCCC processes, from its marginal role in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) created by the Kyoto Protocol to the emergence of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the Role of Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forests and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks) as the forum where decisions have been made on climate and tropical forests. The paper dissects the issues that have dominated the REDD+ negotiations, identifies and characterizes the actors and constituencies that have been influential in the process, analyzes lessons learned from the successes of this UNFCCC agenda, and suggests recommendations to move the REDD+ and overall tropical forests and climate agenda forward. The paper concludes with an anticipation of what to expect in the future, in the light especially of what could possibly be a new climate change agreement in 2015.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Erlend A. T. Hermansen, Sjur Kasa
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Norway – a small northern country with only 5 million inhabitants – is at present a global leader in REDD+ financing. In this paper, we explain why and how this happened by telling the story about the emergence of Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) in 2007 and its institutionalization in the following years. We emphasize how a set of Norwegian climate policy characteristics prepared the ground for NICFI. These characteristics were the relative absence of less expensive potential emission cuts domestically, a tradition of seeking cheaper emission reduction options abroad, and few fiscal constraints due to high petroleum revenues. When the domestic demand for a more proactive climate policy started to increase from 2006 onward, two Norwegian environmental NGOs, The Rainforest Foundation Norway and Friends of the Earth Norway, exploited the window of opportunity that emerged from the tension between high domestic abatement costs and increasing domestic climate policy demands by proposing a large-scale Norwegian rainforest effort. This proposal resonated well with the new emphasis on reduced deforestation as a promising climate policy measure internationally. Towards the end of 2007, these ENGOs managed to convince a broad majority in Parliament that large-scale financing of measures to reduce deforestation globally should become an important part of Norwegian climate policy. Financing NICFI through the growth in the steadily increasing development aid budget dampened opposition from more fiscally conservative actors and facilitated the rapid set-up of a flexible implementing organization directly linked to some of the most proactive politicians. Several agreements with key rainforest countries were rapidly established, and including ENGOs in policy formulation and implementation helped maintaining the momentum and legitimacy for NICFI as a more permanent solution to Norway's climate policy dilemmas. NICFI's robustness and high level of legitimacy are illustrated by the fact that the initiative has survived the recent 2013 change of government quite intact. However, we also suggest that the long-time survival of the initiative may be dependent on the future of the UNFCCC process as well as the destiny of the national projects.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Europe, Norway
  • Author: Dean Karlan, Greg Fischer, Margaret McConnell, Pia Raffler
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In a field experiment in Uganda, we find that demand after a free distribution of three health products is lower than after a sale distribution. This contrasts with work on insecticide-treated bed nets, highlighting the importance of product characteristics in determining pricing policy. We put forward a model to illustrate the potential tension between two important factors, learning and anchoring, and then test this model with three products selected specifically for their variation in the scope for learning. We find the rank order of shifts in demand matches with the theoretical prediction, although the differences are not statistically significant.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Governance
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Jonah Busch, Scott J. Goetz, Matthew Hansen, Richard A. Houghton, Wayne Walker, Nadine Laporte
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper presents an overview of the state of measurement and monitoring capabilities for forests in the context of REDD+ needs, with a focus on what is currently possible, where improvements are needed, and what capabilities will be advanced in the near-term with new technologies already under development. We summarize the role of remote sensing (both satellite and aircraft) for observational monitoring of forests, including measuring changes in their current and past extent for setting baselines, their carbon stock density for estimating emissions in areas that are deforested or degraded, and their regrowth dynamics following disturbance. We emphasize the synergistic role of integrating field inventory measurements with remote sensing for best practices in monitoring, reporting and verification. We also address the potential of remote sensing for enforcing safeguards on conservation of natural forests and biodiversity. We argue that capabilities exist now to meet operational needs for REDD+ measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) and reference levels. For some other areas of importance for REDD+, such as safeguards for natural forests and biodiversity, monitoring capabilities are approaching operational in the near term. For all REDD+ needs, measurement capabilities will rapidly advance in the next few years as a result of new technology as well as advances in capacity building both within and outside of the tropical forest nations on which REDD+ is primarily focused.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Author: Kevin Ummel
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: South Africa and many other countries hope to aggressively expand wind and solar power (WSP) in coming decades. The challenge is to turn laudable aspirations into concrete plans that minimize costs, maximize benefits, and ensure reliability. Success hinges largely on the question of how and where to deploy intermittent WSP technologies. This study develops a 10-year database of expected hourly power generation for onshore wind, solar photovoltaic, and concentrating solar power technologies across South Africa. A simple power system model simulates the economic and environmental performance of different WSP spatial deployment strategies in 2040, while ensuring a minimum level of system reliability.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Jonah Busch
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: An international mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation using carbon payments (REDD+) can be leveraged to make payments for forests' biodiversity as well. Paradoxically, under conditions consistent with emerging REDD+ programs, money spent on a mixture of carbon payments and biodiversity payments has the potential to incentivize the provision of greater climate benefits than an equal amount of money spent only on carbon payments.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Environment, Biosecurity
  • Author: Alan Gelb, Kai Kaiser, Lorena Viñuela
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The paper considers the process of discovery for subsoil resources, including both hard minerals and hydrocarbons and estimates its magnitude in recent years, as derived from the sum of extraction and changes in proven reserves. Spurred on by technology change and strong market conditions, discovery has been substantial for most minerals. The value of discovered reserves is high relative to the costs of exploration, particularly when low social discount rates are used to value potential production in the future. Discovery is therefore valuable and should be considered as adding to national wealth through increases in proven reserves. Many countries can continue to generate resource rents far longer than indicated by current reserve estimates and this has implications for decisions on how to plan to spend or save rents. With the high response of discovery to prices and technology, environmental constraints (climate change, water) are more likely than the actual exhaustion of resource deposits to limit resource-based development. The divergence between private and social valuation of discoveries may also justify measures taken by countries to encourage exploration, including through the provision of geo-scientific data to increase interest in discovery as well as competition among mining companies. More information is needed on the payoff to such investments, some of which are supported by donors. However, exploration is, of course, only a slice of the resource value chain. Many countries will need to improve management along the entire chain if resource wealth is to benefit their development.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Natural Resources, Water
  • Author: David Wheeler, Robin Kraft, Dan Hammer
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This note introduces and illustrates fCPR (Forest Conservation Performance Rating), a system of color-coded ratings for tropical forest conservation performance that can be implemented for local areas, countries, regions, and the entire pan-tropics. The ratings reward tropical forest conservation in three dimensions: (1) exceeding expectations, given an area's forest clearing history and development status; (2) meeting or exceeding global REDD+ goals; and (3) achieving an immediate reduction in forest clearing. Green ratings are assigned to areas that meet condition (2); yellow to areas that meet (1) only; and red to countries that fail to meet either condition. We have developed fCPR at the Center for Global Development (CGD), using monthly forest clearing indicators from CGD's FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action). This first release rates the quarterly conservation performance of 27 countries currently tracked by FORMA, as well as 242 of their states and provinces that contain tropical forests. The 27 countries accounted for 94 percent of tropical forest clearing during the period 2000–2005. Future releases will include additional countries as FORMA begins tracking them.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Democratization, Development, Economics, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Author: Nigel Purvis, Abigail Jones
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Worldwide, about 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity (one in five people), while unreliable electricity networks serve another 1 billion people. Roughly 2.7 billion—about 40 percent of the global population—lack access to clean cooking fuels. Instead, dirty, sometimes scarce and expensive fuels such as kerosene, candles, wood, animal waste, and crop residues power the lives of the energy poor, who pay disproportionately high costs and receive very poor quality in return. More than 95 percent of the energy poor are either in sub-Saharan Africa or developing Asia, while 84 percent are in rural areas—the same regions that are the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Asia
  • Author: Kimberly Elliott, Edward Collins
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: New international initiatives signal strong commitment to agriculture and food security in the face of growing demand and climate-change challenges. But aid to agriculture still represents just five percent of total official development assistance. With donor budgets under intense pressure, making aid effective is more important than ever, but we still know relatively little about the quality of aid in general and of agricultural aid in particular.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Foreign Aid, Food
  • 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: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper introduces ƐCPR, country performance ratings that support Norway's Energy+ initiative by monitoring the progress of 153 countries in reducing the CO2 emissions intensity of energy consumption. It develops annual ƐCPR ratings for the period from 2001 to 2010.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Energy Policy, Foreign Aid
  • Author: Michael D. Cooper
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Over the last decade, a series of devastating natural disasters have killed hundreds of thousands of people, displaced millions, and decimated the built environment across wide regions, shocking the public imagination and garnering unprecedented financial support for humanitarian relief efforts. Some suggest that disaster migration must be supported by the international community, first as an adaption strategy in response to climate-change, and second, as a matter of international protection.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Humanitarian Aid, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: David Wheeler, Darius Nassiry
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Climate negotiators in Cancún reached agreement that long-term climate finance will include a commitment by developed countries to mobilize US$ 100 billion per year to help developing countries combat climate change. However, that level of investment will require substantial capital from private investors, particularly for innovation and commercialization. We propose a public-private green venture fund (GVF) to promote development and deployment of low-carbon technologies for developing countries. The GVF will use a fund of funds model backed by public "cornerstone" equity. In this paper, we propose a structure for the GVF and explain the design rationale, operating principles and key parameters for two funds of funds for technology innovation and deployment. We also highlight some key issues to be considered, including differential treatment of public and private investors and possible approaches to setting technology priorities.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment
  • 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
  • Author: David Wheeler, Robin Kraft, Dan Hammer
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Rising concern about carbon emissions from deforestation has led donors to finance UN-REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries), a program that offers direct compensation for forest conservation. Sustainable operation of UN-REDD and other direct-compensation programs will require a transparent, credible, frequently updated system for monitoring deforestation. In this paper, we introduce FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action), a prototype system based on remotely sensed data. We test its accuracy against the best available information on deforestation in Brazil and Indonesia. Our results indicate that publicly available remotely sensed data can support accurate quarterly identification of new deforestation at 1 km spatial resolution. More rapid updates at higher spatial resolution may also be possible. At current resolution, with efficient coding in publicly available software, FORMA should produce global updates on one desktop computer in a few hours. Maps of probable deforestation at 1 km resolution will be accessible with Google Earth and Google Maps, with an open facility for ground-truthing each pixel via photographs and text comments.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Development
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Brazil
  • 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
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Arvind Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The basic narrative on climate change between the rich and poor worlds has been problematic. The focus on emissions has made industrial countries inadequately sensitive to the unmet energy needs in developing countries. And it has led developing countries to adopt the rhetoric of recrimination and focus on the legacy of historical emissions by industrial countries. The ensuing blame game has led to the current gridlock. As a way out, we suggest some simple principles for determining equitable distribution of emission cuts between developed and developing countries to meet global targets. These principles emphasize basic energy needs and the equality of access to energy opportunities rather than emissions, taking account of development levels, as well as energy efficiency in creating such opportunities. To apply these principles, we develop a new data set to distinguish between energy needs and emissions-intensity for major developing and developed-country emitters and quantify the relationship between these variables and changes in income (or development). This quantification allows us to project emissions levels in 2050. Our main finding is that meeting global emissions targets equitably requires very large, probably revolutionary, improvements in the carbon intensity of production and consumption, much larger than seen historically. We conclude that a new shared narrative that places equality of energy opportunities at the forefront would naturally shift the focus of international cooperation from allocating emissions “rights” or reductions and blame to maximizing efforts to achieving technology gains and rapidly transferring them worldwide. Abandoning the setting of emissions targets for developing counries and creating instead a framework where all countries contribute to maximizing technology creation and diffusion is what Copenhagen should be about.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Treaties and Agreements