Chapter 2: The role of climate in development
David Castells-Quintana, Maria del Pilar Lopez- ribe and U Thomas K.J. McDermott 2.1 INTRODUCTION The links between climate change, economic development and poverty reduction have gained increasing attention over recent years in both the academic and policy literature. Climate change can affect the processes of poverty reduction and economic development directly, by modifying relevant environmental conditions, with impacts, for example, on agricultural and labour productivity, disease environments and via the effects of extreme weather events on capital formation. These mechanisms are now increasingly recognized in the literature, albeit the evidence base in some cases remains relatively thin, given the relative novelty of this area of study. Climate change might also affect development paths indirectly by altering the socio- olitical environment within which poverty reduction and p development take place. We discuss two specific channels through which climate change might affect development: institutions and conflict (and their interaction). Both institutions and conflict matter hugely for development outcomes. Each might be affected by climate change, for example, through its effects on poverty, inequality and the distribution of economic or political power, on the availability of resources and on the movement of people. The potential for indirect effects from climate change to development is less well established in the literature. While there is a growing literature on climate and conflict, it tends to be largely empirical and lacking specific mechanisms for identifying causal effects. Understanding both the direct as well as the indirect effects of climate change is not only fundamental for the...
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