7.5 Specific Development Stages and Mitigation Costs (Including Economies
Developing countries and EITs exhibit a number of special characteristics that
should be reflected in mitigation cost studies. There is a need for further
development of the methodologies and approaches that reflect these issues; this
section introduces a number of distinct features for such economies and concludes
with a number of suggestions for the expansion of studies and methodology development.
7.5.1 Why Developing Countries Have Special Problems in
Their Mitigation Strategies
The term developing countries covers a wide variety of countries
with distinct differences in their economic, political, social, and technological
levels. The group of countries termed least developing countries
have very little basic infrastructure, the newly industrialized countries
have a structure closer to that of the developed countries, and others lie between
these two extremes. Almost all developing countries have a relatively low level
of GHG emissions per capita at present, but large countries like India, China,
and Brazil will soon become very important in terms of their contribution to
total global emissions. It is therefore important to understand how these countries
might participate in globally cost-effective policies.
Mitigation costs in a country depend critically on the underlying technological
and socioeconomic conditions. Studies that assess these costs make assumptions
about current and future socioeconomic development patterns and the potential
to implement climate change mitigation policies. Developing countries exhibit
a number of specific complexities that are of major importance to costing studies.
Data are limited, exchange processes are constrained, markets are incomplete,
and a number of broader social development issues are potentially important
for future GHG emissions, such as living conditions of the poor, gender issues,
and institutional capacity needs. Some of these difficulties arise particularly
in relation to land-use sectors, but can also be important in relation to the
energy sector and transportation.
To sum up, a number of special issues related to technology use should be considered
for developing countries as the critical determinants for their climate change
mitigation potential and related costs. These include current technological
development levels, technology transfer issues, capacity for innovation and
diffusion, barriers to efficient technology use, institutional structure, human
capacity aspects, and foreign exchange earnings.
The methodology of most current mitigation cost studies was developed on the
basis of approaches originally designed for the market-based economies of developed
countries. The application of these methodologies in a developing countries
context typically poses special problems relating to data, sectoral coverage,
activity projections, and assumptions about markets, behaviours, and policy
instruments. A simplified application of these methodologies in developing countries
can lead to a number of inaccuracies in mitigation studies:
7.5.2 Why Economies in Transition (EIT) Have Special Problems
in Their Mitigation Strategies
- Major GHG emission sources and drivers for future emission can be overlooked.
This is especially relevant for the land-use sectors.
- Mitigation studies may focus on specific technical options that are not
consistent with national macroeconomic policy contexts and broader social
and environmental policy priorities.
- The technical potential of specific options, for example electricity saving
options, may be overestimated because consumer behaviour and power market
failures are not captured.
- The impacts of using different policy instruments cannot be assessed because
the studies do not include any information on national institutional structure,
taxes, and other regulation policies and various technology promotion programmes.
- Implementation issues, including institutional and human capacity aspects
and local market development, are not represented.
Estimating the costs of mitigation for EITs presents its own challenges, which
can be described as past, present, and future. In the recent past, prices were
not the rationing mechanism of choice. The listed prices (where there were any)
did not necessarily reflect the actual level of scarcity, since they were not
set by supply and demand. As such, data based on listed prices from which to
construct marginal abatement cost curves is sketchy at best, and completely
missing at worst.
Today, problems still exist in the construction of such curves, in that each
transition economy has its own unique mix of fee markets and state control.
The newer sources of data reflect a mix of price and quantity rationing that
needs to be better understood on a country-by-country basis.
Finally, using this data to estimate mitigation costs into the near or distant
future depends on critical assumptions about how the political, legal, and economic
institutions will evolve in these economies. Any estimates of mitigation costs
into the twenty-first century made under the assumption that current institutions
will be held constant are almost certainly not going to be correct. Hence, it
is essential to devote a good deal of effort to develop scenarios of evolution
for these institutions and their implications for economic development.