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Climate change and development are closely intertwined. Poor people in developing countries will feel the impacts first and worst (and already are) because of vulnerable geography and lesser ability to cope with damage from severe weather and rising sea levels. In short, climate change will be awful for everyone but catastrophic for the poor.
Preventing dangerous climate change is critical for promoting global development. And saving tropical forests is essential to doing both. Frances Seymour and Jonah Busch's new book, Why Forests? Why Now?, illustrates how today—more than ever—saving forests is more feasible, affordable, and urgent.
Historically, the responsibility for climate change, though, rested with the rich countries that emitted greenhouse gases unimpeded from the Industrial Revolution on — and become rich by doing so. Now, some of the most quickly developing countries have become major emitter themselves just as all countries are compelled by the common good to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A major challenge of reaching a global deal on climate change was to find a way for poor countries to continue developing under the planetary carbon limits that rich countries have already pushed too far. That will involve scaling up finance to deploy clean technologies, to adapt to the effects of climate change, and to compensate countries that provide the global public good of reducing emissions, especially by reducing tropical deforestation.
CGD’s research and policy engagement on climate and development has had two aims: to strengthen the intellectual foundation for a viable international accord to come out of the COP 21 in Paris and to provide data, research, and analysis that policymakers and others can act upon even in the absence of an international agreement.
This post originally appeared on the "Carbon Monitoring for Action" blog.
CGD's CARMA website (Carbon Monitoring for Action) uses information on planned construction of power plants to project increases in carbon emissions during the coming decade. In India, for example, CARMA projects that new facilities will increase CO2 emissions by about 150%, and much of the increase will come from enormous coal-fired plants. CARMA's ranking of Indian power plants on their future emissions shows that Tata Power Corporation's planned Mundra plant in Gujarat will rank third nationally, with projected annual CO2 emissions of 27.8 million tons when it is fully operational. Mundra will be bigger than Georgia's Scherer plant, the largest emitter in the US, which annually spews about 25 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Curious about the buzz surrounding climate change talk? Just can't get away from it, can you? Wondering what all the talk on climate change impact, mitigation,and adaptation means?
If you have pondered over these issues then you are invited to come hear Professor Robert Mendelsohn from Yale University, who will share his thoughts on climate change impacts and adaptation. He is a leading authority on the economics of climate change and policy. Over the last decade, he has developed insightful techniques for measuring the impacts from climate change that capture adaptation. Results of his research have been used to calibrate global impact models that predict the consequences of various climate scenarios. This research finds that climate change will hit low latitude countries especially hard but the net harmful effects of climate change will only become evident in the second half of this century.
As a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, developed countries have an indisputable responsibility to address global warming. But the developing country argument that, as blameless victims of climate change they should be unfettered by emissions regulations, is wrong. In this working paper, CGD senior fellow David Wheeler and research assistant Kevin Ummel empirically test that assertion and come to a startling conclusion: the South would soon face a climate crisis even if the North and all its emissions had never existed.