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Quantifying the social equity of carbon mitigation strategies

Casillas, Christian E., Kammen, Daniel M.
Climate policy 2012 v.12 no.6 pp. 690-703
carbon, case studies, climate change, developing countries, electricity, gender, greenhouse gas emissions, human development, livelihood, marginal abatement cost curve, poverty, social impact, stakeholders, subsistence farming, urban areas, villages, weather
Many tools that are helpful for evaluating emissions mitigation measures, such as carbon abatement cost curves, focus exclusively on cost and emissions reduction potential without quantifying the direct and indirect impacts on stakeholders. The impacts of climate change will be the most severe and immediate for billions of poor people, especially for those whose livelihoods are based on agriculture and subsistence activities and are directly dependent on weather patterns. Thus, equity and vulnerability considerations must be central to GHG emissions reduction strategies. A case study of a carbon abatement cost curve for an electricity system in two Nicaraguan rural villages is presented and is complemented with assessments based on the poverty metrics of the poverty headcount, the Gini coefficient, and the Kuznets ratios. Although these metrics are relatively easy to calculate, the study provides a general indication as to how the social impacts of mitigation strategies on the poor (whether they are in rural or urban environments, developed or developing countries) can be revealed and highlights the inequalities that are embedded in them. Further work analysing how mitigation measures affect the various more detailed poverty indices, such as the Human Development, Gender Equality, or Multidimensional Poverty indices, is needed.