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Equity in climate change: an analytical review

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  • Mattoo, Aaditya
  • Subramanian, Arvind

Abstract

How global emissions reduction targets can be achieved equitably is a key issue in climate change discussions. This paper presents an analytical framework to encompass contributions to the literature on equity in climate change, and highlights the consequences -- in terms of future emissions allocations -- of different approaches to equity. Progressive cuts relative to historic levels -- for example, 80 percent by industrial countries and 20 percent by developing countries -- in effect accord primacy to adjustment costs and favor large current emitters such as the United States, Canada, Australia, oil exporters, and China. In contrast, principles of equal per capita emissions, historic responsibility, and ability to pay favor some large and poor developing countries such as India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, but hurt industrial countries as well as many other developing countries. The principle of preserving future development opportunities has the appeal that it does not constrain developing countries in the future by a problem that they did not largely cause in the past, but it shifts the burden of meeting climate change goals entirely to industrial countries. Given the strong conflicts of interest in defining equity in emission allocations, it may be desirable to shift the emphasis of internationalcooperation toward generating a low-carbon technology revolution. Equity considerations would then play a role not in allocating a shrinking emissions pie but in informing the relative contributions of countries to generating such a pie-enlarging revolution.

Suggested Citation

  • Mattoo, Aaditya & Subramanian, Arvind, 2010. "Equity in climate change: an analytical review," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5383, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5383
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    Cited by:

    1. Schleich, Joachim & Dütschke, Elisabeth & Schwirplies, Claudia & Ziegler, Andreas, 2014. "Citizens' perceptions of justice in international climate policy: Empirical insights from China, Germany and the US," Working Papers "Sustainability and Innovation" S2/2014, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
    2. Brännlund, Runar & Lundgren, Tommy & Söderholm, Patrik, 2015. "Convergence of carbon dioxide performance across Swedish industrial sectors: An environmental index approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 227-235.
    3. Münnich Vass, Miriam & Elofsson, Katarina & Gren, Ing-Marie, 2013. "An equity assessment of introducing uncertain forest carbon sequestration in EU climate policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1432-1442.
    4. Mattoo, Aaditya & Subramanian, Arvind, 2012. "Equity in Climate Change: An Analytical Review," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1083-1097.
    5. Marian Leimbach & Niklas Roming & Gregor Schwerhoff & Anselm Schultes, 2016. "Development perspectives of Sub-Saharan Africa under climate policies," EcoMod2016 9336, EcoMod.
    6. Caspar Sauter & Jean-Marie Grether & Nicole A. Mathys, 2015. "Back to 1820? Spatial distribution of GDP and CO2 Emissions," IRENE Working Papers 15-05, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.
    7. Azadeh Tavakoli & Majid Shafie-Pour & Khosro Ashrafi & Ghahreman Abdoli, 2016. "Options for sustainable development planning based on “GHGs emissions reduction allocation (GERA)” from a national perspective," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 19-35, February.
    8. Antimiani, Alessandro & Costantini, Valeria & Paglialunga, Elena, 2015. "The sensitivity of climate-economy CGE models to energy-related elasticity parameters: Implications for climate policy design," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 38-52.
    9. Sauter, Caspar & Grether, Jean-Marie & Mathys, Nicole A., 2016. "Geographical spread of global emissions: Within-country inequalities are large and increasing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 138-149.
    10. Markandya, A. & Antimiani, A. & Costantini, V. & Martini, C. & Palma, A. & Tommasino, M.C., 2015. "Analyzing Trade-offs in International Climate Policy Options: The Case of the Green Climate Fund," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 93-107.

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    Keywords

    Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases; Climate Change Economics; Environmental Economics&Policies; Air Quality&Clean Air; Environment and Energy Efficiency;

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