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Global energy and environmental scenarios : implications for development policy

[working paper]

Willenbockel, Dirk

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Corporate Editor Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik gGmbH
Abstract "As part of a wider review of existing scenario analyses in areas with direct relevance to the future of global development, this paper focuses on two major recent studies: the scenarios contained in the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) and the scenarios developed by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in support of the G8 Gleneagles plan of action on climate change, clean energy and sustainable development. The paper offers a critical appraisal of these scenarios, examines the drivers of change that are considered to influence future developments, explores the implications of the scenarios for developing countries, and outlines what types of changes in development policy could be appropriate in light of the lessons learned from these scenario exercises. The adverse consequences of growing pressures on ecosystems due to demographic and economic drivers identified in the MEA scenario projections are most immediately felt by rural poor populations in the least developed regions of the world. The degradation of ecosystem services poses a significant barrier to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Many of the regions facing the greatest challenges in achieving these targets coincide with regions facing the greatest problems of ecosystem degradation. Significant changes in policies, institutions, and practices can mitigate many of the negative consequences of growing pressures on ecosystems. A key implication of the interdependence between environmental and development goals is the need for a meaningful integration of environmental sustainability concerns in national development plans and strategies of individual donors and intergovernmental development agencies, as well as the need for closer coordination between multilateral environmental agreements and other international institutions in the development policy sphere. The IEA baseline scenario clearly shows that without decisive globally coordinated policy action in support of the adoption of low-carbon energy technologies, GHG emissions will continue to rise rapidly over the 21st century and exacerbate current global warming trends. However, in the presence of a supporting policy environment, emerging clean energy technologies can move the global energy system onto a more sustainable path and return world-wide energy-related CO2 emissions back to today's level by 2050. Most of the future growth in energy demand, and hence emissions, arises from developing countries. An effective follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol must therefore include the major large and fast-growing developing countries including China and India. Developed countries have an important role to play in helping developing economies to leapfrog the technology development process and to employ efficient equipment and practices through technology transfer, capacity building and collaborative research, development and demonstration efforts. It will take a huge internationally coordinated effort to achieve the positive outcomes suggested by the IEA-scenarios, and development cooperation on an unprecedented scale will be required as part of this effort. Thus, an important future role of development policy must be the facilitation of the technology and knowledge transfer that is required to meet this challenge. Overall, the scenario studies under review confirm that ecosystem degradation and global warming pose serious threats for poverty reduction and development and deserve high priority on the future development policy agenda." (author's abstract)
Keywords energy; renewable energy; sustainable development; developing country; development policy; climate change; climate protection; environmental protection; environmental policy; greenhouse effect; UNO; energy policy
Classification International Relations, International Politics, Foreign Affairs, Development Policy; Ecology, Environment
Method applied research; empirical; quantitative empirical
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
City Bonn
Page/Pages 48 p.
Series DIE Discussion Paper, 8/2009
ISSN 1860-0441
Status Published Version
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
data provider This metadata entry was indexed by the Special Subject Collection Social Sciences, USB Cologne