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World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change

Published September 15, 2009

This yearly World Bank report's 2010 edition focuses on climate change. The press release states,

"Developing countries will bear most of the costs of the damage from climate change. Many people in developing countries live in physically exposed locations and economically precarious conditions, and their financial and institutional capacity to adapt is limited, says the report.  Already, policymakers in some developing countries note that an increasing amount of their development budget is being diverted to cope with weather-related emergencies.

At the same time, 1.6 billion people in the developing world lack access to electricity, the report notes.  These developing countries—whose average per capita emissions are a fraction of those of high-income countries—need massive expansions in energy, transport, urban systems, and agricultural production. Increasing access to energy and other services using high-carbon technologies will produce more greenhouse gases, hence more climate change.


The report finds, however, that existing low-carbon technologies and best practices could reduce energy consumption significantly, saving money.  For example, the report notes that it is possible to cut energy consumption in industry and the power sector by 20–30 percent, helping reduce carbon footprints without sacrificing growth. In addition, many changes to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases also deliver significant benefits in environmental sustainability, public health, energy security, and financial savings.  Avoided deforestation, for instance, preserves watersheds and protects biodiversity, while forests can effectively serve as a carbon sink.

Solving the climate problem requires a transformation of the world’s energy systems in the coming decades.   Research and Development investments on the order of US$100 - $700 billion annually will be needed—a major increase from the modest $13 billion a year of public funds and $40 billion to $60 billion a year of private funds currently invested.

Developing countries, particularly the poorest and most exposed, will need assistance in adapting to the changing climate. Climate finance must be greatly expanded, since current funding levels fall far short of foreseeable needs. Climate Investment Funds (CIFs), managed by the World Bank and implemented jointly with regional developing banks, offer one opportunity for leveraging support from advanced countries, since these funds can buy-down the costs of low-carbon technologies in developing countries."

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