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  • 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: 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: 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