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WIREs Clim Change
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Addressing sustainable development and climate change together using sustainomics

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Abstract This paper seeks to practically address two major global challenges—sustainable development and climate change. Developmental problems such as poverty are already formidable. Climate change is the ultimate risk multiplier, exacerbating the other crises too. Its worst impacts fall on the poor who are least responsible for the problem. The world currently faces multiple economic, social, and environmental threats. The economic collapse is the most urgent. The social crisis arises from global poverty, inequity, and inappropriate governance. Finally, mankind has caused severe environmental damage, including climate change. Present trends could destabilize global society. The way forward requires better use of economic stimulus packages to support green investments, social safety nets, and better price policies. A long‐term vision goes beyond our current focus on surface level indicators. Instead, deeper issues need to be addressed systematically by focusing on both the immediate drivers and underlying pressures. The most effective approach is to integrate climate change policies into national sustainable development strategy, using the sustainomics framework. First is the practical, step‐by‐step approach of ‘making development more sustainable’ (MDMS). Second, we need a balanced and integrated analysis from three main perspectives: social, economic, and environmental. Third, the analysis must transcend conventional boundaries imposed by values, discipline, space, time, stakeholder viewpoints, and operationality. Finally, sustainomics provides many practical tools. This approach is applied globally to reconcile climate change risk management and development aspirations. Some practical national level applications are also described involving integration of adaptation and mitigation policies into sustainable development strategy. Specific cases include macroeconomic policy adjustment, sustainable pricing policies, renewable energy projects, and climate impacts on food security, agriculture, and water. Although the issues are complex and serious, both the climate change and sustainable development problems could be solved together, provided we begin immediately. WIREs Clim Change 2011 2 7–18 DOI: 10.1002/wcc.86 This article is categorized under: Climate and Development > Social Justice and the Politics of Development

Multiple global crises and human priorities.

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Three‐dimensional multicriteria analysis of the impact of small hydroelectric projects on sustainable development. Movement away from the origin along all three axes indicates worsening of the respective economic, social, and environmental indicators. Therefore, projects plotted closer to the origin are more desirable than the ones that are further away. (Reprinted with permission from Ref 5. Copyright 2009 Cambridge University Press.)

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Effects of climate change vulnerabilities, impacts, and adaptation (VIA columns 1–10) on development policies and goals (rows A–G) in Sri Lanka. The row S1 indicates how climate change will affect the status of VIA columns. The matrix cells in rows A–G indicate how the VIA columns will affect specific development goals and policies. The cells with a −3 ranking show the most adverse impacts, which need to be addressed. (Reprinted with permission from Ref 5. Copyright 2009 Cambridge University Press.)

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Interplay of economic efficiency and social equity to reduce environmental harm from climate change. (Reprinted with permission from Ref 5. Copyright 2009 Cambridge University Press.)

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Developing countries can ‘tunnel’ (curve BD) to avoid the carbon‐intensive growth path of rich countries (curve BC). (Reprinted with permission from Ref 14. Copyright 2002 Inderscience Enterprises.)

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Climate change and other issues are interlinked via the sustainable development triangle comprising economic, social, and environmental dimensions. (Reprinted with permission from Ref 13. Copyright 1992 World Bank.)

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Current risks and future vision. (Reprinted with permission from Ref 8. Copyright 2010 MIND Press.)

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Climate and Development > Social Justice and the Politics of Development

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