Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Reflections on the prospects for pro-poor low-carbon growth

Willenbockel, Dirk (2014): Reflections on the prospects for pro-poor low-carbon growth. Published in: L. Haddad, H. Kato, N. Meisel (eds) Growth is Dead, Long Live Growth. Tokyo: JICA Research Institute (2015): pp. 159-185.

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Eradicating extreme poverty from the face of the earth once and for all is a central goal of the post-2015 development agenda. Without a rapid transition of the world economy to a low-carbon growth path over the next few decades, this ambitious goal will remain elusive. Under current greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction pledges, the world is not on track to limit the average global temperature rise to +2o C above pre-industrial levels. Failure to meet this agreed target threatens to impede future progress and roll back past achievements in poverty alleviation. Irrespective of the responsibility of the “Global North” for the bulk of atmospheric GHG concentration levels accumulated in the past, most of the growth in energy demand and global GHG emissions over coming decades will arise from today’s developing countries. To avoid catastrophic climate change, a transition to a low-carbon growth path in today’s large fast-growing middle-income countries is imperative and mitigation efforts in other developing countries are also required. Yet developing countries are unlikely to adopt a low-carbon development strategy if such a strategy is perceived to be in conflict with domestic near-term poverty reduction aspirations. Thus, a better understanding of the potential distributional implications of different conceivable pathways to low carbon development is required to ensure the social acceptability and political viability of low carbon policy reforms. The growing recognition that the aims of equitable or pro-poor growth and low-carbon growth need to be addressed together has led to efforts in the literature to identify potential synergies and trade-offs between pro-poor and low-carbon growth. This chapter provides a selective review and some reflections on this literature.

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