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Developing pathways for zero
poverty and zero emissions
Presentation to Our Common Future under Climate Change Conference
Paris, 8 July 2015
Prof. Harald Winkler
Energy Research Centre, University of Cape Town
Zero poverty and zero emissions
• Poverty eradication top priority of developing
countries for long time
• Global goal on mitigation framed as net zero
emissions by 2050/70
• SDG “end poverty in all its forms everywhere”
• How to achieve zero poverty and zero
Easy problem? hard solutions !
• Oxfam “make poverty history”
• “For every complex problem, there is a solution that is
simple, neat, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
Material conditions shape ideas
• Poverty and inequality shape agenda
in South Africa
• Many developing countries, climate
action needed at same time as
reducing poverty and inequality
• National Development Plan poverty
and inequality = foremost priorities
• Emissions ‘peak, plateau and decline’
• Very challenging in economy
dominated by coal, with low skills base,
Model multiple development-climate objectives
• Information that is credible, analytically rigorous and therefore
• Story to enable interest to imagine themselves in different future =
relevant and legitimate
• Long-standing energy model development at ERC –now linked with
• Technically plausible, but has negative welfare effects – Phase 1
Winkler, H., et al., Information for a developmental approach to mitigation: Linking sectoral and
economy-wide models for Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and South Africa. Joint paper for CDKN
project on Linking sectoral and economy-wide models. 2014, Energy Research Centre,
University of Cape Town: Cape Town.
Merven, B., et al., The socio-economic implications of mitigation actions in the power generation
sector and carbon taxes in South Africa. Working paper for CDKN project on Linking sectoral and
Deep decarbonisation, jobs, eductions, energy,
agriculture and more ….
• ERC undertook ‘deep decarbonisation pathways project’ case
study on South Africa
• 14 Gt CO2-eq in SA’s energy sector from 2015-2050 and
meeting the multiple development objectives is possible – to a
• From history of minerals-energy complex, focused on energy
intensive sector growth
• But how to replace jobs lost in mining, energy supply and
• Economic Structure scenarios
decrease unemployment by incentivizing growth in
sectors with low carbon emissions and high levels of
• High Skills scenario
Assume better education; high skilled labour
More inclusive development, but …
Both scenarios – more inclusive development
• Income increases by 170% from 2010 to 2050
• Popuation in low-income bracket from 50% to ~18% by 2050
Unemployment reduced – from current 24% to 12% in
Economic Structure, 18% in High Skills
High Skills needed anyway –but hard to achieve
Reducing poverty and emissions is a ‘wicked problem’
Cannot wait for ‘complete’ solution
Implement SD policies
• Sustainable development policies and measures (SD-
• Recognise these are not ‘business-as-usual’
Winkler, H., et al., Sustainable development policies and measures: starting from development to
tackle climate change, in Building on the Kyoto Protocol: Options for protecting the climate, K.
Baumert, et al., Editors. 2002, World Resources Institute: Washington DC. p. 61-87.
Winkler, H., N. Höhne, and M. Den Elzen, Methods for quantifying the benefits of sustainable
development policies and measures (SD-PAMs). Climate Policy, 2008 8(2): p. 119–134.
Winkler, H., M. Howells, and K. Baumert, Sustainable development policies and measures:
institutional issues and electrical efficiency in South Africa. Climate Policy, 2007. 7 (3): p. 212–
Höhne, N. and S. Moltmann, Linking national climate and sustainable development policies with the
post-2012 climate regime: Proposals in the energy sector for Brazil, China, India, South Africa
and South Korea. 2007, Ecofys: Cologne.
RSA, Dialogue working paper 18: Submission from South Africa: Sustainable Development Policies
and Measures. 2006, Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism: Pretoria. p. 3.
Baumert, K. and H. Winkler, SD-PAMs and international climate agreements. Chapter 2, in Growing
in the greenhouse: Protecting the climate by putting development first, R. Bradley and K.A.
Baumert, Editors. 2005, World Resources Institute: Washington, D.C. p. 15-23.
• If zero poverty cannot be achieved, then ?
• Mathematical models will NOT provide ‘solution
• Co-producing knowledge with stakeholders
• Long-term mitigation scenarios for South Africa
• Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios
in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru,
• Use this approach for transition to zero
poverty and zero emissions societies.
If there is no zero poverty, we cannot expect
ambitious action in developing countries
A new social contract?
To realise zero poverty and zero emissions,
a new social contract is needed