Adaptation and pro-poor mitigation policies?

In his presentation to the 4th Brussels Development Briefing, Mark Rosegrant from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) explored how far climate change policies of adaptation and mitigation can foster development. He supported an optimistic view that, under certain preconditions, climate change strategies can finance pro-poor investment.

The current climate injustice is terrifying: although industrial countries emit most greenhouse gases, developing countries are more vulnerable to climate change consequences, they also have low capacities to adapt. Mr. Rosegrant argued that climate change will dramatically reduce production in many of the poorest countries and regions: in some countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, agricultural production will decrease between 15 and 25% until 2080.

Adaptation is one key strategy to tackle climate change, but as the IPCC acknowledges, we still miss detailed estimates of costs and benefits. Despite this uncertainty, much adaptation is only the extension of good development policy, such as improving the international trade system or investing in health, research and education.

Pro-poor mitigation is another key strategy for ACP countries and the international community. According to the last Stern report, there is much potential to reduce emissions in agriculture, especially if we recall that 14% of total greenhouse gas emissions are caused by agriculture. While climate change policies, such as global carbon trading or the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), could generate incomes for small farmers, it is still difficult for them to do so.

Concluding his presentation, Mr. Rosegrant was upbeat: “Investing in climate change for the poor”, he said, “can create new value-added for pro-poor investment.”

Links:

Video interview

Presentation

Summary of presentation (doc format)

See more from the 13 February briefing

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