September 15, 2009—Developing countries can shift to lower-carbon paths while promoting development and reducing poverty, but this depends on financial and technical assistance from high-income countries, says World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change.
High-income countries also need to act quickly to reduce their carbon footprints and boost development of alternative energy sources to help tackle climate change. If they act now, a 'climate-smart' world is feasible, and the costs for getting there will be high but still manageable. More from the press release...
Acting now is essential, or else options disappear and costs increase as the world commits itself to high-carbon pathways and largely irreversible warming trajectories. Climate change is already compromising efforts to improve standards of living and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Staying close to 2°C above preindustrial levels—likely the best that can be done—requires a veritable energy revolution.
Acting together is key to keeping the costs down and effectively tackling both adaptation and mitigation. It has to start with high-income countries taking aggressive action to reduce their own emissions. That would free some "pollution space" for developing countries, but more importantly, it would stimulate innovation and the demand for new technologies so they can be rapidly scaled up.
Acting differently is required to enable a sustainable future in a changing world. In the next few decades, the world’s energy systems must be transformed so that global emissions drop 50 to 80 percent. Infrastructure must be built to withstand new extremes. To feed 3 billion more people without further threatening already stressed ecosystems, agricultural productivity and efficiency of water use must improve.
Report's main messages...