Strategies to mitigate climate change in a sustainable development framework Author –(1)Prof. Maneesh Soni (Asst. Professor – renaissance college of commerce an management) & (2) Prof. Shraddha mishra (lecturer –Commerce-renaissance college of commerce and management) Abstract Strategies that mitigate climate change resulting from increasing concentration of greenhouse gas emissions while promoting sustainable and equitable development are needed to be taken rapidly and immediately by countries world-wide.
Choice of strategies that are sensitive to regional and national needs is a major challenge because of diversities in responsibility and obligations and developmental needs in the world. However, large number of tools and techniques available which can assist countries and regions to determine such strategies. They will need to be continuously adapted so as to overcome the numerous barriers and threats that remain in implementing actions to mitigate for climate change.
To ensure sustainable development for the vast majority in the world, local management of resources is crucial. Grim descriptions of the long? term consequences of climate change have given the impression that the climate impacts from greenhouse gases threaten long-term economic growth. However, the impact of climate change on the global economy is likely to be quite small over the next 50 years. Severe impacts even by the end of the century are unlikely. The greatest threat that climate change poses to long? erm economic growth is from potentially excessive near? term mitigation efforts. 1. Introduction – The consensus among scientists world-wide that global climate instability may occur if the current rate of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is not reduced is strong enough for taken national and international actions. This view has been confirmed by United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC,1992,2008,2009), and they have called for rapid and immediate actions. Continued GHG emissions on its urrent accumulated stock so increasing the concentration will result in warming of the earth leading to unprecedented rise in global temperatures. Despite the extent of this warming, its local, regional and global impacts are uncertain, the rapid actions called for by IPCC must be adhered to. These uncertainties which are mainly due to limited knowledge of the earth’s absorptive capacity for GHG and the extent of possible feedbacks to the atmosphere are not enough to support in-action.
Likely impacts of global warming such as sea level rise, changes in storm activity, in vegetation distribution and in agronomic conditions can be dangerous to human existence and trans-boundary in nature. The lifetime of GHG is very long, 50-200 years, hence this problem can persist for very long periods. All the more reason for actions to stabilize GHG emissions. Identification and selection of actions to mitigate GHG emissions will be a great challenge because these emissions are strongly tied to human activities that support life systems.
However, these activities cover a wide range, from ones crucial to human well-being to those leading to affluence and over-consumption. This broad activity range provides opportunity to search for possible replacement of high emission intensive activities with less emission intensive ones and even provide room for innovation. Undertaking the necessary analysis and making optimal choices of actions will require carefully thought out strategies from countries and regions world-wide.
These strategies will need to be technically feasible and cost-effective, while they promote sustained and equitable development and be sensitive to the different regional and national needs. Developing national actions to solve the climate problem will be difficult because the likely impact of the problem is global and no one country or group of countries can provide its remedy. The cooperation of countries and coordination of national efforts will be central in any solution to the problem.
It is therefore necessary that countries world-wide cooperate through regional and international mechanisms such as the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) which recently came into force to tackle the global climate problem. In formulating national actions to mitigate the global climate problem which is the interest of this paper, strategies envisaged should be flexible enough to capture the various diversities of national needs. In addition, the different responsibilities of GHG emissions and their attendant obligations to its remedy should be important considerations.
For example, industrialized countries, has only 25% of the world’s population but are responsible for most of the current and past global GHG emissions, 75% of carbon dioxide emissions (carbon dioxide forms over half of man-made GHG). Further, carbon dioxide emissions per capita in those countries are very high, about 5 times the world average in North America and over twice in Western Europe. Limiting CO2 emissions is central in reducing GHG emissions in the atmosphere because its forms about half of the total GHG emissions.
CO2 is emitted to the atmosphere by three main sources, energy production and use, industrial activities and land use changes, but energy production and use contributes over 70% of the total. Therefore limiting CO2 emissions in the energy sector will have the greatest impact on total global GHG emissions, and the paper intends to emphasize this point. 2 Energy and global climate change – Providing adequate, reliable and affordable energy in any country is crucial to its overall development because energy is the engine of economic growth and improved lifestyles.
A fact that has been well demonstrated in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, and in the newly industrialized nations. However, the extraction, processing, supply and use of energy can cause serious environmental and health problems. Therefore, providing affordable and adequate energy for the vast majority of the world’s population that needs improved quality of life, is a major challenge for concerned authorities. Current trends show that energy demand will continue to increase for most countries of the world in the future.
The driving forces for rising demand in developing countries is the need to overcome poverty and cope with high population growth rates, while in newly industrialized countries it is the tendency to replicate past energy use patterns of industrialized countries. Maintaining current over-consumptive lifestyles in OECD countries can also increase their energy levels. Satisfying this growing trend will prove difficult using the present fossil fuel dependent paradigm. There is need to depart from this paradigm and use low carbon emitting energy sources along with other measures.
Limitations in domestic economies, poor access to external investment funds, and likely impacts on the overall environment are factors that will drive the search for new energy paths. In addition, the stock of cheap fossil sources are reducing as they become less accessible so expensive. Current use patterns of biomass as an energy source cannot continue as demand surpasses present stock in most countries where it is needed. Also, the capacity of world’s ecosystem to cope with environmental stress from energy activities is diminishing.
Investment funds for large energy plants are declining especially in countries that need significant energy expansion. These changing circumstances will determine the energy choices countries will take in the future. 3. Sustainable and equitable development framework-Sustainable development is widely used and has varying definitions to different people, but this paper will not duel on the merits and demerits of them. However, this paper defines it as the strategy of managing all natural, human, financial and physical assets to achieve long-term wealth and well-being (Repetto, 1986).
This definition implies control over the mobilization and utilization of resources to ensure that benefits accrued are used to maintain and improve the asset base. For this to be effective, local control must be central. Hence, countries and regions world-wide must be prepared to take control over the depletion of their resources and distribution of benefits accrued to ensure sustainable development. Past growth patterns adopted world-wide were highly depended on excessive use of natural resources with very little consideration for its replenishment.
These patterns have created serious environmental problems such as land degradation, soil depletion, water and air pollution, ozone depletion and now threats of climate change. Combating these problems is difficult because most of the benefits accrued were not used to neither maintained or improved the asset base. More sustainable growth patterns are required for future development world-wide. 4 Development-energy use and carbon emissions – Historical evidence suggest hat as countries develop leading to improved lifestyles and increased energy consumption, their carbon emissions also increases as shown in a generalized form in three categories of countries have emerged in the world: (a) developing countries that uses energy for survival, have substantial development needs and also emit low carbon; (b) newly industrializing countries uses energy for development and industrialization, but with increasing carbon emissions, and (c) industrialized countries that uses energy to sustain present lifestyles and maintain their level of development, and emits most of the world’s carbon.
Countries falling under (b) are growing very fast using similar growth patterns as those used by developed countries. Reduction of income disparities, coping with rapid urbanization problems such as poor air quality while conserving their natural resource base are among the main challenges facing them. However, their investments on social services and institution building has been significant. Conservation of their resource base is still a priority because they still depend on them for supporting their economies and employment generation.
Wider use of energy efficient technologies, proper choice of industries are among their options for sustainable development. Developed countries that fall in (c) have great concentration of the world’s wealth but are great consumers of natural resources from developing countries and contribute most of global emissions. Reducing carbon emissions, controlling air and water pollution and waste disposal while maintaining current lifestyles are among their greatest challenges. The search for cleaner technologies, reduction of natural resource use, and wider use of energy efficient technologies are among the development options for these countries.
However, these countries do have very strong institutions, the technologies and established diffusion mechanisms which can assist countries in the other categories in their development process. [pic] Fossil Fuel CO2 intensities and GDP per capita of the World’s 20 Largest Economy [pic] These different circumstances has led to different emissions of carbon to the atmosphere and have produced varying impacts on their economies. Depending on the energy source mix in the country, the efficiency of systems employed and the type of industrial activities, the CO2 emissions have different impact on the economy. Mitigation analysis for national action – As mentioned previously, the threat of climate instability will have impacts and no single country can solve it. However, its solution lies on the coordination of national actions within regional and international frameworks. The solution will need to involve countries world-wide because the impact of GHG emitted in one location may be felt in a completely different location. Hence, countries should develop a plan of action to cope with this problem.
Such plan should be long-term in nature, be capable to respond to uncertainties and un-planned events, and can be adjusted to suit new information as they become known. Despite the plan will be primarily based on national actions, but international concerns will be important because as trade between countries get more intensified, actions by one country will affect the other. the growing inter-relationships among countries especially in world trade means that certain national actions will have economic and financial impacts globally. Such price change of certain commodities may affect the competitive position of a country in global markets.
Therefore, developing a national plan require detailed analysis and thought. In developing goals and commitments, the country must produce an inventory of GHG emissions. This is a requirement of FCCC. The revised OECD methodology is still the most credible tool for producing national inventories and it gives GHG emissions from the main sources energy, forestry, and agricultural sectors. The inventory will assist to identify mitigation options assessment to develop national actions. The screening and selection of mitigation options require a proper understanding of these options.
Their economic impacts, social impacts, health related impacts, identification of beneficiaries and losers, etc. As a first step, it is important that countries GHG emissions scenarios. 6 Mitigation options – Most mitigation options can be described broadly into two categories technical and policy. These options have varying costs, economic impacts, and implementation requirements. Most of the options so far suggested are varying degrees of the ones identified by IPCC. The IPCC ones are the following, On the Short-term: • Improved Energy Efficiency • Utilization of cleaner energy resources and technologies • Improved forest management Phasing out of CFCs under Montreal Protocol • Improved livestock waste management, altered use and formulation of fertilizers, and other changes to agricultural land use, while maintaining food security. On the long term: • Accelerated and coordinated research programs • Development of new technologies • Review planning in relevant fields • Encourage beneficial behavioral and structural changes • Expand global observation and monitoring The short-term options will interest most countries because they also have development implications and can assist countries to achieve stabilization of GHG emissions without major sacrifices.
In adapting these options, countries have adopted the following measures: In the energy sector; • Shift to low carbon fuels – greater use of renewable energy sources, use of gas fired combined cycles, more use of natural gas as opposed to coal, greater use of biomass. • Efficiency programs on energy supply and use • Reduction of leaks from gas plants • Controlling transport related emissions In the land use sector; • Reduction of emissions by change in agricultural systems • Maintaining and expanding sinks by protecting forest and practicing agro-forestry and other plantation exercises. Changing cattle feed to reduce methane emitted and utilizing methane produced The choice of options will depend on several economic, political and social parameters depending on the conditions within the country. Detailed analysis may be needed before options are selected. There are few principles that should be considered in selecting options. These are: • Options with the greatest effect per unit investment should be chosen over others because GHG emissions reduction should be at the lowest cost. There should be complimentarily in benefits between development needs and GHG reduction in the option chosen, and options with only GHG benefit can be ignored. • Options that reduce more than one type of GHG should be a priority. The benefits from mitigation options in addition to GHG reduction should include stimulation of investments, promotion of trade, creation of wealth, and increase employment. Options need to be implemented within a framework of policies and policy instruments. 7. Policy and policy instruments – Several policies and policy instruments are necessary in attempting to tackle the climate problem.
They be grouped as economic, administrative, planning, and information. There are major differences between them and they address varying audiences. Generally, some criteria in selecting these policies and policy instruments are: • Cost-effectiveness – achieving the environmental objectives at the lowest cost. The cost calculations should include cleaning, restructuring, production, implementation and administration. • Policy-effectiveness – achieving environmental objectives with the least amount of uncertainty. • Dynamic efficiency – achieving environmental objectives with technological improvements over time. Economic policies and instruments – Economic instruments are mostly market-oriented instruments and can be classified as taxes, tradable permits and subsidies. The main aim of introducing environmental related taxes that is to influence the behavior of business and individuals to be more environmentally conscious through economic motivation. These measures such as carbon tax can be effective in reducing emissions and produce health benefits but have several drawbacks. Distribution of proceeds is a major area of consideration because they have high potential for raising revenue.
Reducing corporate tax so as to make it revenue neutral, re-investing in technological development, promotion of renewables and energy efficiency, are different approaches towards solving these problems. Competition between energy taxed goods and alternatives, impact on country’s market advantages, tariff structures are other concerns. At present, these taxes are likely to be more effective in national perspective than international. Problems of compliance, administration and re-distribution are major barriers to its success internationally.
Tradable permits and Joint implementation are economic instruments but they are not widely used except in the United States of America. This arrangement involves buying over credits between a polluter and a non-polluter through agreements of the two parties. There are major problems of impact on overall GHG reduction, contents of agreement, impacts of power relationships and other dis-equilibrium factors on certification, verification, monitoring and enforcement. Financial incentives and subsidies can be used to promote the development and use of cleaner and less-GHG intensive sources.
These incentives will provide insurance against environmental damages. Providing support for renewable energy sources has been a very popular choice of this approach. 9. Administrative policies and instruments – Government initiatives and interventions can be useful in mitigation strategies. These can be in the form of regulations and standards, administrative guidance on projects and programs. Several of these measures have been tried successfully in different parts of the world, mostly in developed countries. There are several drawbacks in practicing these policies and policy instruments.
Compliance can prove to be a major barrier in most countries. Regular dialogue between different stakeholders and establishing mutual recognition and respect increases compliance. The administrative costs to execute some of these measures can be very high for poor countries and so render them ineffective. Poor capacity for enforcement in most countries reduces the importance of these measures. 10. National planning policies and instruments – Land use planning measures can promote or reduce the demand for energy and transportation services which are major sectors that emit GHG.
Urban planning decisions have significant impact on transport requirements and so is the design and location of physical structures. This will affect other services such as power supply and consumption. Government guidance will be necessary to help promote planning policies that are less environmentally damaging. Problems of compliance and enforcement will be barriers to this approach. 11 Information policies and instruments – Setting organized information organs, increase public awareness, advisory services and very good education and training programs can form very good policies and instruments to reduce GHG emissions. xplaining the significance of the exercise is very important because attitudes need to be changed to achieve the reduction targets that most countries will set themselves. This information will primarily involve the diffusion of about developments, impacts and measures to be taken to improve situation. This will need to involve several organizations at different levels. Administrative costs and the channel of communication utilized will prove to be barriers. 12 Challenges and threats- There are several challenges and threats to solving the climate problem by countries world-wide.
They can be classified as economic, institutional, psychological, and informational. The present world economic system including its price structure present a serious threat. Growing market failures and price distortions continue to produce dis-equitable results which will weaken international agreements and compliance. Unfair trading systems such as the recently concluded GATT only worsen the problem. Initiatives must be introduced to improve on pricing systems and overcome the serious market failures that still persist.
Significantly large number of countries in the world lack adequate institutions to cope with climate change analysis and this will present serious problems in developing national plans and actions. The need for institutions and appropriate organizational arrangements is crucial to mitigation analysis in any country. The attitudes of several countries towards accepting responsibility will weaken international agreements and hence affect national decisions. Develop countries must accept the concept of “natural debt”, the accumulation of historical GHG in the atmosphere and therefore should be central in solving the problem.
Developing countries must be prepared to adopt low-GHG emission strategy to contribute towards the solution of the climate problem. Data limitations and poor access to information are major threats to the solution of the climate problem. This more true for analysis and technological development. If this area is not improved, significant large number of countries will find it hard to be involved in solving the climate problem. 13 Conclusions – The threat of global climate problem is growing and due to the nature of the problem, national actions through regional and international mechanisms are required.
However, these actions must be carried within a sustainable and equitable development framework. The paper discussed several options and policies but implementing them require detailed analysis to ensure that national benefits are maximized. The importance of local control and management within a politically committed environment cannot be over-emphasized in ensuring sustainable development.
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