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Towards a climate smart world

Nov 13, 2009

Developing countries can chart a low-carbon path and still promote development to reduce poverty. World Bank’s World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change points out that with technical and financial assistance from high-income countries, a climate smart world can be built.

World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change

Publisher: World Bank, 2009

Developing countries will bear most of the costs of the damage from climate change. Many people in developing countries live in physically exposed locations and economically precarious conditions, and their financial and institutional capacity to adapt is limited.

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Policymakers in some developing countries note that an increasing amount of their development budget is being diverted to cope with weather-related emergencies.

The report finds that existing low-carbon technologies and best practices could reduce energy consumption significantly, saving money. For example, it is possible to cut energy consumption in industry and the power sector by 20–30%, helping reduce carbon footprints without sacrificing growth.

In addition, many changes to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases also deliver significant benefits in environmental sustainability, public health, energy security, and financial savings. Avoided deforestation, for instance, preserves watersheds and protects biodiversity, while forests can effectively serve as a carbon sink.

The report released in advance of the December meetings on climate change in Copenhagen, says that advanced countries, which produced most of the greenhouse gas emissions of the past, must act to shape our climate future.

If developed countries act now, a ‘climate-smart’ world is feasible, and the costs for getting there will be high but still manageable.

A key way to do this is by ramping up funding for mitigation in developing countries, where most future growth in emissions will occur.

The current financial crisis cannot be an excuse to put climate on the back burner, the report warns. While financial crises may cause serious hardship and reduce growth over the short- to medium-term, they rarely last more than a few years. The threat of a warming climate is far more severe and long-lasting.

Developing countries, particularly the poorest and most exposed, will need assistance in adapting to the changing climate. Climate finance must be greatly expanded, since current funding levels fall far short of foreseeable needs.

Climate Investment Funds (CIFs), managed by the World Bank and implemented jointly with regional developing banks, offer one opportunity for leveraging support from advanced countries, since these funds can buy-down the costs of low-carbon technologies in developing countries.

Source : World Bank
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