Climate change mitigation and poverty reduction – trade-offs or win-win situations?

Client: Funded by Compagnia di San Paolo, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and VolkswagenStiftung joint research programme ‘Europe and Global Challenges’

Period:  2013-2016

Project leader at ERC:  Britta Rennkamp

Project team at ERC: Tara Caetano, Loveline Muluh, Britta Rennkamp, Holle Wlokas, Teboho Nchaba

The project tackles the essential question of how to reduce emissions and poverty at the same time. We analyse the relationship between climate change mitigation and poverty reduction in three developing countries – South Africa, Thailand and Mexico – from a multi-disciplinary perspective. We structured our research in three areas.

The first area is the analysis of the political economies in all three countries to identify the causes of poverty and key emitting sectors and the institutional framework and policies that aim to reduce both poverty and emissions. The analysis of the political economies has the purpose to identify the key actors, blockages and drivers for implementation of mitigation policies. Further, we analyse key mitigation actions, such as carbon taxes as well as renewable energy and climate laws in a discourse network analysed.

The second area analyses the impacts carbon taxes and fossil fuel subsidies on income distribution. The purpose here is to analyze the socio-economic impacts of the feasible mitigation options identified in the first area using applied macro and micro modeling techniques.

The third area deals with the question whether and how poverty eradication is and can be dealt with within the existing global climate regime, drawing on the findings of the first two research areas. In light of scientific uncertainty and overriding arguments of justice and ethics, the role and effects that arguments, discourse and rhetoric – albeit in a context of considerable power differentials – have among the members of this regime is of particular interest here.