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Development without Carbon: Climate and the Global Economy through the 21st Century

Elizabeth A. Stanton / Published on 15 November 2011

Stanton, E.A. (2011). Development without Carbon: Climate and the Global Economy through the 21st Century. SEI Report.



Economic development and the eradication of energy poverty are increasingly seen as key components in a comprehensive strategy to prevent dangerous climate change, along with emission reductions and adaptation measures. But most climate economics models used to guide policymakers assume very little economic growth in the poorest countries.

This report examines the implications of that assumption and finds that, taking developing countries’ right to future emissions as a given, economic growth in the poorest countries would require their richer neighbors to reduce their own emissions far more sharply and also provide substantial funding for emission reductions in the developing world.

Projections of slow economic growth in the developing world, in contrast, tend to create the expectation that the poorest countries will use up a relatively small share of the global 21st century emissions budget, leaving more “emissions space” for the high- and middle-income countries. Taking that approach means that if development doesn’t fail, climate policy will.

This report reviews the literature regarding the connection between energy, poverty, and emissions mitigation; sets out principles for an equitable climate policy; and explores three scenarios for future economic growth and emissions.

It also includes a case study showing the impact of these three scenarios on Latin America and the Caribbean, and concludes with recommendations for setting climate policy targets.

This report is part of a package that also includes Energy-Water-Climate Planning for Development without Carbon in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Download the full report (PDF, 569kb) or the executive summary (PDF, 287kb)

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Topics and subtopics
Climate : Mitigation
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