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

  • TOL, RICHARD S.J.

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.

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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Martin L. Weitzman, 1998. "The Noah's Ark Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1279-1298, November.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
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