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An assessment of the compatibility between climate change mitigation and global development

Sakai Diaz, Marco Antonio Hiroo (2013) An assessment of the compatibility between climate change mitigation and global development. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Humanity’s greatest challenge is to improve the living standards of billions of people across the world without surpassing the planetary boundaries, and especially within the carbon space compatible with a 2°C future. Mitigation actions are thus required to create synergies and address climate and development goals simultaneously. It has been recognised that technology-led mitigation measures can accomplish this task, as long as they are also complemented with demand-side measures. Several bodies of literature have emphasised, for example, the urgent need to reduce consumption levels, particularly in industrialised economies. However, in the context of an ever more globalised world, the climate benefits delivered by demand-side mitigation policies can be offset by the existence of potential negative consequences in developing nations via international trade. This thesis assesses the compatibility between climate change mitigation actions taken in industrialised nations and improving development prospects in the developing world from a demand-side approach. The study contributes to the existing knowledge base by providing answers to four separate but related research questions that were proposed to examine relevant aspects associated with this issue. The results reveal that CO2 emissions have increased monotonically with income without showing signs of having decoupled over time. The findings also show that while curbing final demand for imports in developed countries can contribute to reduce their consumption-based emissions and free carbon space, they can also curtail the development opportunities available to the global South. Moreover, specific policy instruments, like border carbon adjustments, can potentially distort trade flows and jeopardise development in developing nations. Finally, the analysis unveils that the available carbon space compatible with a 2°C target is insufficient to deliver significant improvements in living standards in less developed countries given the continuity of the status quo. The sharing of the development and carbon spaces should be done in an equitable manner. The longer it takes developed countries to significantly cut their emissions, the smaller is the carbon space available particularly to the poorest nations who need it the most. The conclusions from this work evidence the necessity to formulate alternative development pathways capable of facilitating a transition towards an equitable, low-carbon, high-developed, and sustainable global economy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
ISBN: 978-0-85731-692-9
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Earth and Environment (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.707027
Depositing User: Repository Administrator
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2017 12:26
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:54
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6303

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