Coordinating Global Economic Development Strategies to Combat Climate Change

Jun 27, 2011

Coordinating Global Economic Development Strategies to Combat Climate Change
RFF Feature
June 27, 2011

A number of major emerging economies are embracing a transition toward low emissions development as their preferred economic growth pathway. China and South Korea, for example, are investing heavily in clean energy to stimulate economic growth, improve public health, and control the commanding heights of the 21st-century energy economy. While interest in low emissions development is growing, what policies work under what conditions and proven best practices have yet to be determined.

Governments, multilateral development banks, and nongovernmental organizations have launched independent, country-specific programs to help fill these gaps. Although these initial undertakings are laudable and have yielded valuable knowledge and progress, such an ad hoc approach can lead to waste, duplicitous efforts, and overlap. The opportunity is ripe to leverage these activities for greater impact.

In a new RFF Discussion Paper, Visiting Scholar Nigel Purvis and coauthors Abigail Jones and Christian Downie call for the creation of a new Consultative Group on Low Emissions Development (CGLED) to leverage these distinct activities for greater impact. The CGLED would improve global cooperation through a semiformal coordinating mechanism to help nations tailor sector- and region-specific best-practice policies to local circumstances, enhance the predictability of funds, and improve peer-to-peer exchanges. It would also provide structure for efforts to scale up international funding in the medium term, without prejudging ongoing global climate negotiations.

The past years have shown that, regrettably, there are few climate ideas that attract broad support around the world. However, a CGLED to help nations achieve their own national development goals may just be the exception to that rule.