Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

Making low carbon development pro-poor

This policy brief, published by the Institute of Development Studies, outlines ways to use low carbon development (LCD) to reduce poverty while achieving environmental sustainability.

Even the poorest developing countries should be interested in LCD, argue the authors, mainly because it can benefit the poor by providing climate-friendly energy to expand electricity grids and creating green jobs.

There is no internationally-agreed definition for LCD but interpretations can be grouped into four options, say the authors. Two of these focus on improving production — reducing carbon emissions through technological changes and advances — while the other two focus on lifestyle and behavioural changes.

Inevitably, developing countries will need a mix of both types to achieve LCD. But the precise formula will depend on the resources available. For example, countries with high fossil fuel resources may choose to promote 'cleaner' fossil energy while those with large forests may emphasise climate-friendly forest management.

In all cases, there are ways of making LCD pro-poor, say the authors. Redistributing revenues from 'green' industries to sectors critical to the poor, such as health and education, is one option. Another is to involve local communities in small-scale LCD projects such as rural electrification with renewable energy, to share LCD profits on a community level.

Other ways include supporting specific, crucial sectors such as agriculture and forestry; implementing social protection measures to reduce vulnerability to climate change; and building local policymakers' capacity to legislate LCD.

Link to full article from the Institute of Development Studies

This policy brief was written by Frauke Urban and Andy Summer from the Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Team at the Institute of Development Studies.