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Emission abatement versus development as strategies to reduce vulnerability to climate change: an application of FUND

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  • TOL, RICHARD S.J.

Abstract

Poorer countries are generally believed to be more vulnerable to climate change than richer countries because poorer countries are more exposed and have less adaptive capacity. This suggests that, in principle, there are two ways of reducing vulnerability to climate change: economic growth and greenhouse gas emission reduction. Using a complex climate change impact model, in which development is an important determinant of vulnerability, the hypothesis is tested whether development aid is more effective in reducing impacts than is emission abatement. The hypothesis is barely rejected for Asia but strongly accepted for Latin America and, particularly, Africa. The explanation for the difference is that development (aid) reduces vulnerabilities in some sectors (infectious diseases, water resources, agriculture) but increases vulnerabilities in others (cardiovascular diseases, energy consumption). However, climate change impacts are much higher in Latin America and Africa than in Asia, so that money spent on emission reduction for the sake of avoiding impacts in developing countries is better spent on vulnerability reduction in those countries. His last big project in a long career, Jan Feenstra managed the Netherlands Climate Change Assistance Programme through which the Dutch Government sponsors climate change research in developing countries. He hated how climate change detracted from what he considered to be the real issues. This paper is dedicated to his memory.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Environment and Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 10 (2005)
Issue (Month): 05 (October)
Pages: 615-629

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Handle: RePEc:cup:endeec:v:10:y:2005:i:05:p:615-629_00

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  1. Richard Tol, 2002. "Estimates of the Damage Costs of Climate Change, Part II. Dynamic Estimates," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(2), pages 135-160, February.
  2. Darwin, Roy & Tsigas, Marinos E. & Lewandrowski, Jan & Raneses, Anton, 1995. "World Agriculture and Climate Change: Economic Adaptations," Agricultural Economics Reports 33933, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  3. Martin L. Weitzman, 1998. "The Noah's Ark Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1279-1298, November.
  4. Richard S.J. Tol, 1999. "Kyoto, Efficiency, and Cost-Effectiveness: Applications of FUND," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Special I), pages 131-156.
  5. Ståle Navrud, 2001. "Valuing Health Impacts from Air Pollution in Europe," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 20(4), pages 305-329, December.
  6. Tol, Richard S. J., 2002. "Welfare specifications and optimal control of climate change: an application of fund," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 367-376, July.
  7. Richard Tol, 1999. "Spatial and Temporal Efficiency in Climate Policy: Applications of FUND," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 14(1), pages 33-49, July.
  8. Richard Tol, 2002. "Estimates of the Damage Costs of Climate Change. Part 1: Benchmark Estimates," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(1), pages 47-73, January.
  9. Sedjo, Roger & Sohngen, Brent & Mendelsohn, Robert & Lyon, Kenneth, 1996. "Analyzing the Economic Impact of Climate Change on Global Timber Markets," Discussion Papers dp-96-08, Resources For the Future.
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  1. > Environmental and Natural Resource Economics > Climate economics > Impacts of climate change
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