Development Experts Push Climate Change ‘Solutions’

Development experts are pushing an array of strategies for addressing climate change and its effects, as world leaders gear up for U.N. climate change talks in Copenhagen.

Experts associated with Bruegel, a development think tank based in Belgium, highlight the need to create innovative green technologies. Fellows of the Center for Global Development and the Peterson Institute for International Economics suggest shifting focus from emissions to research. And a new World Resources Institute report argues that multilateral banks should incorporate ecosystem services into their development strategies to help address climate change and related issues.

Philippe Aghion, David Hemous and Reinhilde Veugelers of Bruegel urge the international community to create emission free "backstop technologies." These technologies, they explain, are needed to address climate change but they not yet available in the market. Developed countries should lead their less-developed counterparts in implementing new green technologies, once these are made available, the authors say.

Aghion and Veugelers are fellows of Bruegel while Hemous is associated with Harvard University. Aghion is also a professor at Harvard.

The mitigating effects of technology on climate change are front and center to a Financial Times opinion piece written by Nancy Birdsall of the Center for Global Development and Arvind Subramanian of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Technological improvements, they write, are necessary to achieve global emission targets without sacrificing the resources of developing countries.

Birdsall and Subramanina urge leaders who will attend the U.N. climate summit to minimize talks on emission cuts and instead focus on the need to research ways that will foster fair access to energy-related services around the world.

Meanwhile, authors of a report released by the World Resources Institute want multilateral banks to incorporate ecosystem services into their development strategies. Ecosystem services, as defined by Janet Ranganathan, WRI vice president for science and research, as well as Frances Irwin and Cecilia Procope Repinski, are benefits that man derives from the environment. Some examples are recreation, climate regulation, freshwater and hazard protection. Irwin is a former fellow and Procope a former associate at WRI.

The WRI report states that the inclusion of ecosystem services in development strategies would benefit not only climate change efforts but the overall development of the banks' partner countries.

Specific policy recommendations proposed by the authors include:

• Incorporating environment services in environment-related development strategies.

• Integrating these services in core bank operations, enhancing partner countries' capacity to implement an "ecosystem services approach."

• Educating and empowering local stakeholders.

• Strengthening environment-related policies.

About the author

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.