Select Committee on International Development Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by The Green Globe Task Force

  It is already well established that climate change will impact disproportionately on the world's poor:

    —  Many live in environmentally marginal areas (low-lying estuarine or coastal zones, arid or semi-arid areas) where they are already highly vulnerable to climate extremes, and these are expected to worsen with climate change.

    —  They have less resources with which to adapt to climate change.

  The predominant policy focus to date by the UK and multilateral institutions has justifiably been on climate modelling and mitigation of GHG emissions in developed countries through development of the Kyoto Protocol. Yet the least-developed countries that are the focus of DFID's poverty-eradication policies have per capita emissions that are tiny compared to the global average, and their immediate climate-related priority must therefore be adaptation, both to current climate variability and to projected climate change.


  Climate change does not feature prominently within the environmental or economic policy agenda of developing countries. The UK could play an important role in supporting a programme of policy analysis which would address the issues outlined below, and build capacity in developing country institutions.

(i)  Ensuring that climate change-oriented programmes deliver as many ancillary sustainable development benefits as possible

  Energy is a vital component of all development, yet two billion people currently have no access to basic energy services such as a connection to mains electricity. As a result they have to rely on locally available fuels such as wood, animal dung and crop residues, the use of which have negative health and environmental impacts. Access to alternative energy sources can give enormous health benefits via reduced indoor and outdoor air pollution. The Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows developing countries to either initiate mitigation projects on their own, or to develop such projects jointly with industrialised (Annex 1) countries. CDM could provide a valuable source of additional finance for energy sector projects such as renewable or low-carbon power sources, as well as providing a mechanism for technology transfer. It is essential that the UK and Europe's climate policies are designed and implemented in a way that enables successful implementation of the CDM.

  Forestry-sector mitigation projects. Forest sinks have an important role in GHG mitigation strategies. If properly designed, these have the potential to deliver important development benefits such as watershed protection, access to forest products, biofuels and others. However, they also have the potential to harm both development and environmental goals by displacing indigenous peoples, threatening existing agriculture and reducing biodiversity.

(ii)  Ensuring that climate policies do not, and are nor perceived to be obstructing economic development

  In many developing country situations fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas, kerosene) are likely to remain the cheapest, most readily available sources of energy for many decades. In the transport sector particularly, there are as yet few viable alternatives. Any GHG-reduction polices in developing countries must not result in inequitable restrictions on access to such sources of energy.

(iii)  Ensuring that, where possible, development initiatives support climate change objectives

  Sustainable agriculture. Biomass energy, small-scale hydropower and low-input organic farming all have the potential to deliver climate-related benefits. In addition, policies designed to reduce vulnerability to current climate variability such as improving the drought resistance of crops or irrigation will also provide adaptation benefits.

  Development priorities such as energy, water supply and waste water treatment services have the potential to increase GHG emissions, but could be delivered using renewable, local resources that provide both environmental and social benefits. Energy efficiency policies have clear development benefits as well as reducing GHG emissions.

(iv)  The impact of globalisation

  It is useful to consider climate change together with globalisation. Both these processes are acknowledged to generate both winners and losers. A key focus for DFID should be to identify the communities that are "double losers". One example is Sub-Saharan Africa which has seen a reduction in GDP over recent decades as well as having many areas characterised as arid or semi-arid and therefore most vulnerable to changes in rainfall intensity or temporal distribution.

(v)  Harnessing private investment

  Private investment has rightly been identified as a key component in the effort to deliver development objectives. However, there are distributional features that mean that this is unlikely to work in the case of the poorest developing country populations. The majority of current investment in developing countries is focused on a small number of countries, and even within these countries there are huge inequalities. A key function for government/multilateral institution funding is to target the areas overlooked by private capital, either directly, or in a way that leverages capital into projects that would otherwise be unattractive to private investors.

  For further information and a list of members see

The Green Globe Task Force

January 2002

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