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Development aid and climate finance

Eyckmans, Johan, Fankhauser, Sam ORCID: 0000-0003-2100-7888 and Kverndokk, Snorre (2016) Development aid and climate finance. Environmental and Resource Economics, 63 (2). pp. 429-450. ISSN 0924-6460

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10640-015-9883-3


This paper discusses the implications of climate change for official transfers from rich countries (the North) to poor countries (the South) when the motivation for transfers is ethical rather than strategic. Traditional development transfers to increase income and reduce poverty are complemented by new financial flows to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation transfers) and become climate-resilient (adaptation transfers). We find that in the absence of barriers to adaptation, mitigation or development, climate change will make isolated transfers less efficient: A large part of their intended effect (to increase income, reduce emissions, or boost climate-resilience) dissipates as the South reallocates its own resources to achieve the mitigation, adaptation and consumption balance it prefers. Only in the case of least-developed countries, which are unable to adapt fully due to income constraints, will adaptation support lead to more climate resilience. In all other cases, if the North wishes to change the balance between mitigation, adaptation and consumption it should structure its transfers as “matching grants”, which are tied to the South’s own level of funding. Alternatively, the North could provide an integrated “climate-compatible development” package that recognizes the combined climate and development requirements of the South. If the aim is to increase both mitigation and adaptation in the South, development assistance that increases the income level, can be an effective measure, but only if there is an international agreement and the recipient country is not income constrained. If the recipient country is very poor, development aid may reduce adaptation effort.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2015 15:16
Last Modified: 29 May 2024 05:27
Projects: ES/K006576/1, MILJØ2015
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, Research Council of Norway

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