Trade and Development Report 2009

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The Trade and Development Report 2009, subtitled Responding to the Global Crisis - Climate Change Mitigation and Development” addresses the main issues of global economic outlook and short-term policy response to the financial and economic crisis, international monetary reform to complement stricter financial regulation and climate change mitigation as a process of structural change. The report analyzes global economic prospects within the framework of the current economic and financial crisis. It also heeds the short-term fiscal, financial and monetary policies that were adopted in response to the impacts of the 2008-2009 crisis. It also looks at the question of how increased efforts aimed at climate change mitigation can be combined with forward-looking development strategies and rapid growth in developing countries.

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Climate change mitigation and development

The warming of the global climate system as a result of increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere has become a major concern worldwide. Climate change is manifest in higher average global temperatures, rising global mean sea levels, melting ice caps and an increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. Most scientific research suggests that the consequences of unabated climate change could be dramatic. And while doubts remain about some of the concrete impacts, it seems clear that global warming will significantly increase the risk of a severe deterioration of the natural environment, with attendant effects on human wellbeing. It is virtually impossible to reasonably quantify the impact of unabated climate change in economic terms, as this involves a very long time horizon and highly subjective judgments. But because of the large risks and uncertainties, and the potential for severe economic repercussions, strong and early action to mitigate climate change is advocated (Stern, 2006; Weitzman, 2007). Looking at long-term climate change mitigation from this risk-management perspective is not primarily an economic issue but an ethical imperative.

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