The SEI paper argues that mainstream economic models that favor low carbon growth over economic growth and assume low rates of growth in developing countries "either consign the poor to remain poor for the next few generations at a minimum, or assure a failure of climate policy by failing to anticipate economic development."
January 2012: The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has published an article, titled “Development without Carbon as Climate Policy,” which criticizes mainstream economic models that tend to favor low carbon growth over economic growth and assume low rates of growth in developing countries.
The article reviews recent literature on the close connections between climate, poverty and energy, stressing that while mitigation and adaptation have received a lot of attention over the past decade, the eradication of energy poverty has become central in the climate debate. Alleviating or eradicating energy poverty, it is noted, is likely to increase greenhouse gas emissions, pitting climate change and economic development against each other as policy goals.
The article illustrates the importance of economic growth assumptions in climate-economic models and shows that the assumption, like many models do, that economic growth in developing countries will be slow creates the expectation that there is more “emissions-space” for high and middle-income countries. Such visions, the paper says, “either consign the poor to remain poor for the next few generations at a minimum, or assure a failure of climate policy by failing to anticipate economic development.” It concludes with several policy recommendations regarding the interaction between climate policy and development, with a particular focus on funding and investment to support emissions intensity reductions. [Publication: Development without Carbon as Climate Policy]