Climate mitigation can support growth in developing countries

Climate change is already upon us. Proliferating and intensifying natural disasters, soaring numbers of endangered species, the melting Arctic and the expanding Sahara are all signs that global mitigation strategies are urgently needed to stave off further environmental damage and human suffering.

Some of the measures needed to mitigate climate change present a conundrum, however. Conventional wisdom tells us that the poorer countries that will suffer the most from climate change will also be the ones to suffer the most from climate change mitigation. According to this thinking, mitigating the damage from climate change by restricting the use of fossil fuels would harm developing countries disproportionately, because their economies would not be able to adapt to global economic shifts driven by mitigation and would be unfairly hampered by restrictions on their use of the fossil fuels that powered economic growth in rich countries for 200 years.

The question, then, is how to structure climate mitigation strategies so that they do not stall growth and development in the places that need it most.

Photo Credit: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam