The Economics of Climate-Resilient Development

The Economics of Climate-Resilient Development

Edited by Sam Fankhauser and Thomas K.J. McDermott

Some climate change is now inevitable and strategies to adapt to these changes are quickly developing. The question is particularly paramount for low-income countries, which are likely to be most affected. This timely and unique book takes an integrated look at the twin challenges of climate change and development. The book treats adaptation to climate change as an issue of climate-resilient development, rather than as a bespoke set of activities (flood defences, drought plans, and so on), combining climate and development challenges into a single strategy. It asks how the standard approaches to development need to change, and what socio-economic trends and urbanisation mean for the vulnerability of developing countries to climate risks. Combining conceptual thinking with practical policy prescriptions and experience the contributors argue that, to address these questions, climate risk has to be embedded fully into wider development strategies

Chapter 1: Climate-resilient development: an introduction

Sam Fankhauser and Thomas K.J. McDermott

Subjects: economics and finance, development economics, environmental economics, environment, climate change, environmental economics


Sam Fankhauser and Thomas K.J. McDermott 1.1 INTRODUCTION This book is about the link between economic development and adaptation to climate change from an economics perspective. Stern (2015) has called climate change and poverty alleviation the two biggest societal challenges of the twenty-irst century. They are linked, Stern observes, and f failing in one means failing in the other. The notion of climate-esilient r development acknowledges this complementarity. Low- ncome countries will be among the most affected by climate change, i to the point where development progress might be at risk. At the same time, the rapid development these countries are undergoing – in terms of economic growth, capital accumulation and demographics – is changing fundamentally their vulnerability to climate change, for better or for ill. The combination of rapid population growth with ongoing urbanization, for example, is expected to lead to a large- cale expansion of urban areas, a trend that is s most pronounced in locations that are vulnerable to climate extremes. The pace and scale of changes underway means that the greatest opportunities for achieving climate resilience lie in guiding current development trends. This is reinforced by the danger – if climate risks are ignored – of locking in long- erm risks, for example, through haphazard urban developt ment in risky locations. There is a window of opportunity to act now to reduce future vulnerability. The dynamic interaction of development trends with climate exposure and vulnerability is at the heart of climate-esilient development, and in r contrast to traditional adaptation analysis....