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WIREs Clim Change
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How climate change mitigation could harm development in poor countries

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Avoiding dangerous climate changes requires emission reductions in not only industrialized but also developing countries. This opinion piece argues that even if the ‘full incremental costs’ of abatement in developing countries would be covered by industrialized countries, the former's development prospects could be hampered by climate change mitigation due to the following reasons. First, financial inflows have the potential to induce a ‘climate finance curse’ similar to adverse effects related to natural resource exports. Second, increased use of more expensive low‐carbon energy sources could delay structural change and the build‐up of physical infrastructure. Third, higher energy prices could have negative effects on poverty and inequality. We conclude that these considerations should not be seen as an indication that one should abstain from emission reductions in developing countries. However, until developing countries' most severe concerns can be appropriately addressed, attention should be focused on measures that promote human well‐being while saving emissions. WIREs Clim Change 2014, 5:161–168. doi: 10.1002/wcc.260

Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.

Physical abatement between a BAU scenario (bold) line and a 450 ppm CO2 only climate stabilization scenario (dotted line) in Annex I and non‐Annex I countries based on data used in Ref.
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Change in energy use per capita (blue) and CO2 emissions per capita (red) over change in poverty rates. Poverty is measured at the $1.25 PPP poverty headcount ratio. Changes are measured for selected developing regions as average annual growth rates for the period 1981–2008 in per cent. Source: World Development Indicators.
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Climate Economics > Economics of Mitigation
Climate, Nature, and Ethics > Climate Change and Global Justice
Climate and Development > Social Justice and the Politics of Development

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