US Climate and Health Alliance

Decarbonizing Development: Three Steps to a Zero-Carbon Future. Climate Change and Development


Stabilizing climate change entails reducing net emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) to zero. This report outlines three principles to guide countries in their efforts to create a zero-carbon future: (a) planning ahead with an eye on the end goal; (b) going beyond carbon pricing with a policy package that triggers changes in investment patterns, technology, and behaviors; and (c) protecting poor people and avoiding concentrated losses.what all models and modelers agree on is that action will be needed on four fronts: ■ Decarbonizing the production of electricity ■ Undertaking massive electrification (to increase reliance on clean electricity) and, where not possible, switching to cleaner fuels ■ Improving efficiency and reducing waste in all sectors ■ Preserving and increasing natural carbon sinks through improved management of forests and other vegetation and soils Pricing carbon is vital to discourage polluting behaviour and raise the revenue to support a just transition. Pricing the things we don’t want, and using the funds for things we do want sends the right signal to the market and triggers the right kinds of investments and behaviour to clean up the global economy. The World Bank emphasises that carbon taxes or cap-and-trade systems are the most efficient and just ways to generate revenue needed for education, health and infrastructure, and reduce carbon emissions at the same time. Governments need to start acting yesterday to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and ever-increasing costs of dealing with it. Waiting until 2030 would increase the global cost of cleaning up by 50 percent, and this extra economic cost would be partnered with dire impacts to health, infrastructure, and physical changes such as sea-level rise and species extinction that could potentially be avoided with immediate action. Cutting subsidies for fossil fuels and investing in clean energy is economically and environmentally a no-brainer. Fossil fuel subsidies primarily benefit the wealthy, and encourage continued spending on fossil infrastructure that will be left worthless and stranded as the inevitable renewable transition happens.

Marianne Fay Stephane Hallegatte Adrien Vogt-Schlib
Resource URL
World Bank
International policy US policy Policy International United states

Resources main page