Assuming that economic development will fail or falter has the effect of weakening the urgent call for rich countries to reduce their emissions. Making poverty reduction (including, but not limited to, the alleviation of energy poverty) a central goal of climate policy would require climate-economic models to include scenarios in which incomes converged around the world.

This article reviews recent literature connecting climate, poverty and energy; establishes equity’s critical role in climate policy, looking at developing countries’ right to both a higher standard of living and continued greenhouse gas emissions; demonstrates the importance of economic growth assumptions in climate modeling and the impact that these assumptions have on business-as-usual emission projections and consequent mitigation goals; and concludes with several policy recommendations for climate-economics modeling.

Note: This paper draws on material from the report Development Without Carbon: Climate and the Global Economy through the 21st Century.

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