World Economic and Social Survey 2009

Promoting Development, Saving the Planet

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The separation in practice of climate change and development agendas has distorted the global debate on the two biggest policy challenges facing the international community. According to the Survey, an integrated approach based on the concept of sustainable development is urgently needed. It argues that mitigation and adaptation can move forward effectively only if they are part of a consistent development strategy built around a massive investment-led transformation along low-emissions, high-growth paths. The Survey also contends that a critical role must be played by developmental States able to mobilize public finance and build appropriate technological capacity.

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Climate mitigation and the energy challenge: A paradigm shift

A maximum temperature increase of 2o C above pre-industrial levels is the consensus target established by the scientific community for stabilizing carbon concentrations at a level that prevents dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system. At the same time, developing countries need to achieve a sustained catch-up growth rate of 6-8 per cent per annum to close the income gap with countries at the top of the development ladder. These two broad objectives frame the mitigation challenge facing policymakers at the national and international levels. The present chapter attempts to detail mitigation options that are consistent with convergent economic growth in developing countries.

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