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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Post-2015 Consensus: Climate Change Viewpoint, Scott

Viewpoint Paper

Scott (ODI) raises the issue of how climate change is to be incorporated into the international development agenda, given the acknowledged link between climate change, development and poverty reduction. The Open Working Group proposes to mainstream climate change through targets related to shifting to low carbon development pathways, adaptation and resilience, while there should also be a goal to ‘tackle climate change and its impacts’, with appropriate targets.

The two targets proposed by Galiana relate to inputs rather than outcomes, arguably lacking the ambition which should be expected of the post-2015 framework.  The implicit recommendation seems to be that these spending targets be applied to all countries.  It seems unreasonable to expect developing country governments to meet another financial target when many are struggling with more immediate social policy issues.

The paper does not discuss a third area of targets through which climate change can be mainstreamed into the post-2015 framework – resilience.  Currently proposed under the climate change goal is a target to ‘strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate related hazards and natural disasters in all countries’.  Meanwhile, under the poverty goal is another resilience outcome target, ‘by 2030 to build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations to disasters, shocks and climate-related events’, which acknowledges that climate change is one of a range of negative impacts on poor people.

While it may well be true that tackling climate change requires technological advances in the development of scalable, cost-effective low-carbon energy, how it is to be included in a post-2015 framework is very much a political, rather than a technical, conversation.