The recent literature has produced an increasing understanding of the interactions between greenhouse gas mitigation and other policy areas. Numerous studies have identified a wide range of co-benefits and quantified them for industrialized and developing countries. However, the literature does not (as yet) provide a complete picture that includes all the different types of co-benefits needed for a comprehensive assessment. Nevertheless, even the co-benefits quantified at present can make up substantial fractions of, or under specific conditions even exceed, direct mitigation costs.
Beyond the recognition of co-benefits, the realization of potential synergies and avoidance of trade-offs requires an integrated approach that considers a single set of technologies or policy measures in order to simultaneously address all relevant areas. There are practical examples of targeted programmes for pinpointing co-benefits and identifying those policy measures that offer most potential for capturing possible synergies.
In the case of low-income countries, the consideration of potential synergies between GHG mitigation and other policy objectives could be even more important than in high-income countries. At present, climate change policies are often still relatively marginal issues in these countries compared to issues such as poverty eradication, food supply, the provision of energy services, employment, transportation and local environmental quality. Accelerated and sustainable development could therefore become a common interest for both local and global communities (Criqui et al., 2003).