Assessing the Costs of Climate Change Mitigation in Developing Countries

For instructors who include a discussion of non-Annex I mitigation financing/costs issues in their class, there’s an excellent new article  in the journal Climate Policy, Olbrisch, et al., Estimates of Incremental Investment for and Costs of Mitigation Measures in Developing Countries, 11 Climate Policy 970-86 (2011) .

Among the take-aways from the piece:

  1. The international financial support needed for developing countries mitigation programs  is likely to lie between the estimates of incremental cost and
    the incremental investment;
  2. Estimates of the incremental investment needed for mitigation action in developing countries range between US$175 and US$565 billion; incremental cost estimates, though more speculative,  are substantially lower (US$140–175 billion) in 2030 due to the lower operating costs of the energy efficiency measures and renewable energy sources;
  3. While estimates of international funding currently provided to developing countries for mitigation, adaptation, technology development and transfer, and capacity building remain speculative, several sources have recently pegged the figure at $10-15 billion, with 70-90% allocated for mitigation initiatives;
  4. The announced fast-start (2010–2012) pledges to date under the Copenhagen Accord are between $27-33 billion; while it is unlikely that all of these pledges constitute “new and additional” sources of funding, this does constitute a substantial increased commitment by Annex I States;
  5. The 2020 Copenhagen Accord goal of mobilizing US$100 billion per year falls within the low end of incremental mitigation cost estimates, but only if this is an annual average for 2012–2020 rather than a goal for 2020.

Overall, the article concludes that while current funding pledges may be sufficient to cover incremental mitigation costs of developing countries, this is by no means certain given a congeries of factors to be considered.

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