Climate change is the greatest challenge facing the world today. Long-term development planning must now include measures to deal with it.
Displaying 1-20 of 24 key documents
Source: PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency | April 2012
This report analyses pledge on emissions reductions put forward by Parties in the Cancún Agreements, including information emerging since the negotiations took place in 2010.
It focuses on the uncertainties and risks of achieving the goal of limiting the global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, and provides a detailed overview what the pledges and actions of the 12 countries and regions with the largest emissions could mean for reduction targets.
The report highlights that since the Cancún negotiations, developing countries have published new information about their emission projections which have led to higher than expected emission levels, and have increased the emission gap.
It suggests that a selected set of mitigation options in addition to existing pledges could result in emission reduction which would narrow the gap towards achieving the two degrees Celsius goal. It also concludes that uncertainties in accounting rules and projections could mean that global emissions remain at business-as-usual projections for 2020.
Source: UN University | April 2012
This online book aims to offer insight into development issues related to climate change and indigenous peoples that can be useful in policymaking. It provides an overview of more than 400 relevant projects, case studies and research activities.
Different sections cover climate and environmental changes, including local observations, and the impact of these changes on indigenous communities. The book also outlines mitigation and adaptation strategies — based on traditional knowledge and survival skills — that are being implemented by them.
The authors highlight that climate change effects reported by indigenous people include loss of livelihoods; land degradation; impacts on food security; health issues; and water shortages that can affect agriculture, infrastructure, forestry and energy amongst others areas.
Source: Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change (CSACC) | March 2012
This report lays out a set of policy recommendations for the sustainable intensification of agriculture and reduction of food waste to create a resilient global food system. Based on a review of scientific evidence, it pinpoints seven actions that policymakers — including those attending the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) — should adopt to foster sustainable agriculture and efficient food supply chains.
Recommendations include integrating food security and sustainable agriculture into global and national policies;
intensifying agricultural production while reducing negative environmental impacts; and creating comprehensive, shared, integrated information systems.
This policy roadmap will require the reshaping of food production, distribution and consumption patterns, and empowering vulnerable populations to build a sustainable global food system.
Source: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development
This policy brief looks at the role of intellectual property rights in developing and accessing technologies for mitigation and adaption to climate change. It provides an overview of intellectual property rights as the main mechanism of encouraging technological innovation for responding to climate change, and describes the issues that prevent constructive discussion in the area. The brief brings together diverse perspectives to propose action, beginning with building trust and exploring potential policy options, challenging countries to go beyond their entrenched positions and thus enable productive climate talks. It concludes with a caution that without reaching a compromise, the impasse will prevent a significant move towards green technologies.
Source: Harvard University
This policy brief, from Harvard University, explores research and development (R&D), cost and performance issues that the nuclear power sector needs to consider if the industry is to meet the growing demand for carbon-free energy. Based on surveys it offers estimates of the costs and performance of this research, and potential benefits that could be gained over the next 20 years.
A key finding is that current levels of public investment in nuclear power technologies will not lead to a major reduction of the cost of nuclear plants by 2030. Instead, many of today’s R&D programmes are focused on capabilities such as extending uranium resources or improving waste management and safety. The authors acknowledge that the Fukushima accident has highlighted the need for better preparedness and has undermined confidence in nuclear energy. The report concludes that development of nuclear power should address issues aside from R&D such as getting public acceptance and support from governments.
Source: IIED | January 2011
This report aims to inform energy and forestry policymakers in non-OECD counties about biomass energy, which these countries depend on mostly for cooking and heating. It draws on global literature to give an account of the emerging biomass energy boom, the advantages and disadvantages of biomass and how it compares with alternative renewable energy sources. It also provides guidance on developing policies that optimise the positive impact of biomass energy on poverty reduction and the preservation of ecosystem services.
The International Energy Agency predicts that biomass, which currently makes up ten per cent of the world's primary energy supplies, will become increasingly important as a source of energy, rising to 30 per cent by 2050. The report argues that since non-OECD countries are disproportionately dependent on biomass energy (26 per cent), they could capitalise on this trend by acting now to legalise biomass supplies and ensure that it is produced sustainably. This would allow them to create more advanced biomass energy options in the future, such as generating electricity or producing second generation biofuels.
Source: Swedish Water House
This policy brief, published by the Swedish Water House, suggests options for promoting water management strategies that can ensure sustainable water supplies in the face of climate change. The authors present an overview of climate change impacts on water resources and point to examples of successful water management. They highlight the need to tailor practices to local contexts and conditions.
Source: WHO | 2009
This study, jointly carried out by the WHO and the UK Department for International Development, investigates the impacts of climate change on drinking water and sanitation in developing countries and describes the technology available to mitigate these. It presents five major conclusions for policymakers that highlight the need to increase resilience to climate variability and invest in targeted research to fill 'technology gaps'.
Source: Africa Progress Panel
This policy brief, prepared by the Africa Progress Panel, African Development Bank and UN, outlines the implications of climate change for Africa, emphasising the need for a strong and cohesive negotiating position at the December 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen.
The authors argue that African governments must define practical steps for the international community to address the climate crisis. Three areas require urgent action: clear emissions targets and an adaptation fund; energy-saving technologies through additional financing and technology transfer; and improving long-term frameworks such as the Clean Development Mechanism and reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
To achieve this, argue the authors, African heads of state and ministers of finance, planning and environment must collaborate on a practical strategy position to generate maximum buy-in from the rest of the world. This must be achieved in time for high-level meetings in the second half of 2009.
Source: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) | November 2008
This information briefing, published by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), focuses on the implications of different country circumstances for measuring and monitoring forest degradation within activities for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
The authors introduce forest degradation as a set of activities that can have different driving forces than deforestation, highlighting the fact that forests can remain degraded for a long time before becoming deforested. Degradation is typically caused by selective logging, fire and fuel wood collection.
The authors discuss monitoring, reporting and verifying (MRV) options for projects aiming to reduce forest degradation, emphasising the need to consider changes in both forest area and average carbon stocks per unit area. Based on a framework for forest transition with varying rates of deforestation and degradation, the relative importance for including degradation within REDD mechanisms for different countries is also outlined.
The briefing concludes that although monitoring and measuring degradation is more complicated than deforestation, developing a flexible MRV framework for including degradation in REDD mechanisms could be important for international equity. In particular, they expect that many African countries could benefit from the inclusion of degradation within REDD frameworks.
Source: Global Canopy Programme | December 2008
This policy brief, published by the Global Canopy Programme, proposes a system called Proactive Investment in Natural Capital (PINC), to reward countries for conserving large areas of tropical forest that act as 'global utilities' providing ecosystem services essential for preserving global food and energy security.
The authors suggest that the system, could complement current proposals for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). They argue that REDD could encourage countries with historically low deforestation rates to destroy their forests. They point out that if REDD successfully brings deforestation rates down — to zero eventually — then in the long-term, countries will not be able to receive payments for reducing deforestation.
The alternative, PINC, would build on existing systems that pay for ecosystem services, such as eco-certification, although scaling-up funding for standing forests is still a challenge, say the authors. To be effective, PINC requires capacity building and improved governance across the world. Land tenure reform will be needed in many countries, as will local participation in decision making and training in forest management. But, if appropriately designed, PINC could provide local communities with co-benefits such as poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation.
Source: WRI | March 2009
This policy paper, published by the World Resources Institute (WRI), suggests a range of sustainable development policies within frameworks for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
The authors argue that there can be significant barriers to countries providing guaranteed quantified measures of emissions reductions for use in carbon trading schemes. They propose that a broader range of sustainable development policies and measures, such as building institutional capacity to reduce fires or combat illegal logging, should be included within REDD measures.
The authors recommend that developed countries encourage developing nations to reduce forest degradation, including measures that do not produce tradable carbon credits, and support a range of approaches to measure, report and verify nationally appropriate mitigation actions.
Further work is urgently needed, they say, to develop and refine these approaches, including specifying acceptable metrics, determining how to make different countries' activities comparable, and exploring alternative sources of sustainable funding.
Source: The World Bank | 2008
This 'toolkit', published by the World Bank, provides policy advice on how to integrate climate change adaptation strategies into development programs.
It gives an overview of climate change impacts in developing countries and identifies the main channels through which development programs can cost-effectively adapt to climate change and reduce greenhouse gases. The authors identify individual development policies and suggest ways of incorporating mitigation and adaptation measures. They also provide lists of desirable climate outcomes alongside the specific policies needed, by type and sector, to achieve them.
Source: Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTU) | July 2007
This draft policy brief says African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries can use local natural resources — such as sugarcane and jatropha — to meet energy requirements through biofuels, curtailing dependence on fossil fuels.
But the authors warn of challenges for developing countries, including economic and trade issues, and suggest practical steps for meeting these. They also present various bioenergy options for households, such as BioGel — a solid wood-substitute made from low-grade ethanol mixed with a gelling agent.
The brief makes a number of policy recommendations, including national strategies for promoting and sustaining local demand, and more funding for local and regional ACP research.
Source: Pew Center on Global Climate Change | November 2006
This document summarises the outcomes from the twelfth UN Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the concurrent Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in Nairobi, Kenya in November 2006.
Parties to the conference discussed the adaptation fund, deciding on a governance mechanism for it, but they sidestepped the issue of where it should be administered. They also considered how to promote Clean Development Mechanism projects in developing countries, ultimately stressing the need for more of these in Africa.
Wide debate on the mandate of the Expert Group on Technology Transfer led to a decision to reassess the group's work next year. Discussions on how to use incentives to 'avoid' deforestation in developing countries and reduce emissions also proved difficult to reconcile.
The summary is an accessible and authoritative guide to recent events at the climate negotiations, even for those unfamiliar with the UN climate change process.
Source: Pew Center on Global Climate Change | October 2002
The role of developing countries in climate change mitigation has been and continues to be a contentious issue. Developing countries' emissions are predicted to surpass those of industrialised countries within the first half of this century, but no formal commitments to reduce emissions have been made.
This report, prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, examines six countries — Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey — in the context of climate change mitigation. Ongoing efforts in these countries have helped reduce emissions, though not necessarily in the name of mitigating climate change.
The authors find that overall, over the past three decades, these countries have reduced the growth rate of their emissions by 300 million tonnes. The motivations for such efforts include poverty alleviation, economic development, energy security and local environmental protection. This demonstrates that climate change mitigation can and does occur in the context of development that aims to be sustainable.
This report is comprehensive for the countries studied. It is very accessible and likely to be of interest to anyone engaged in the debate about mitigation in the South.
The report is available in pdf format only. An executive summary is availably online here.
Source: OECD | 2002
The threat of climate change is perceived differently by different countries. This informal working paper, commissioned by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), comments on the key interactions between climate change and sustainable development in India. After outlining the risks climate change poses to India, it describes some of the national efforts that have been taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including the promotion of renewable energy, carbon sequestration through afforestation programmes and price reforms for improving energy efficiency. The final section considers the options available to India for mitigating climate change and includes a cost-benefit analysis.
Source: Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO) | May 2004
The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change ends in 2012; at the time of writing, it remains unclear what will follow. Various approaches have been suggested, and the authors of this report analyse current thinking on future climate policy and make their own recommendations.
The report considers long-term climate policy targets, climate policy frameworks and their architecture, issues related to adaptation and sustainable development. The major challenges, issues and questions concerning the design of future climate policy are addressed throughout.
While somewhat lengthy, the report provides a thorough theoretical background for anyone interested in the intricacies of future climate policy. It is complementary reading to the Pew Center report International Climate Efforts Beyond 2012 (see above).
Source: Pew Center on Global Climate Change | December 2004
The emerging discussion on international climate policy after 2012 (the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol) has generated a number of approaches. Many of these are only now being analysed.
This report provides a comprehensive yet succinct overview of 43 different approaches to international climate efforts. Following an overview of key issues, each approach is explained in terms of its rationale, forum, time frame, mitigation commitment, institutional arrangements and other elements.
The document provides a reference guide to the essential characteristics of post-2012 climate approaches. It is most useful, and key reading for anyone interested in climate policy.
Source: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) | May 2002
On 9 May 1992, the world’s governments adopted the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Five years later, on 11 December 1997, governments took a further step forwards and adopted the landmark Kyoto Protocol.
Building on the framework of the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol broke new ground with its legally-binding constraints on greenhouse gas emissions and its innovative "mechanisms" aimed at cutting the cost of curbing emissions. Today, 186 countries (including the European Community) are Parties to the Convention, more than most any other environmental treaty, and the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol is expected soon.
This guide, prepared in the tenth anniversary year of the adoption of the Convention, explains in detail the commitments of both the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, along with the "rulebook" for their implementation.