If each of the 40 million SUVs in the United States was switched to a car with EU fuel efficiency standards (45 mpg), annual CO2 emissions would be reduced by 142 million tons. In comparison, the resulting emissions from providing electricity to the 1.6 billion people who today live without it would be 160 million tons of CO2. In other words, if 40 million Americans switched their SUVs to more efficient vehicles, and 1.6 billion more people gained access to electricity, the net impact on the climate would be just about zero.

This simple tradeoff is illustrated in the World Development Report released by the World Bank on Monday. The massive document is both a compendium of scientific, economic, and social research related to climate change and an urgent call for a climate deal in Copenhagen. It is clear that the World Bank has taken notice of the many linkages between climate change, human well-being, and economic development (see Climate Connections from State of the World 2009), and details why and how these could be included in a successful Copenhagen treaty.

The moral implications of sealing a deal are heavily emphasized in the report. Consider this statistic: “Developing countries face 75-80 percent of the potential damage from climate change” and yet high-income countries contribute two thirds of anthropogenic greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The report calls for such injustice to be met with steep financing from developed countries for technology development and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The World Bank's annual report emphasizes equity and behavior change

The World Bank's annual report emphasizes equity and behavior change

In order to keep the climate on a 2ºC warming trajectory, estimates for developing country needs range from $28 to $100 billion annually for adaptation and $139 to $175 billion annually for mitigation.  Current annual funding for mitigation and adaptation together total only $9 billion. Furthermore,

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Climate Change, climate justice, Copenhagen, developing countries, development, equity, finance, SOW09, State of the World, Transforming Cultures

Worldwatch has just launched its State of the World 2009 Report in India. Into a Warming World is the 26th edition of the State of the World series, which since its inception has functioned as a platform to discuss some of the most pressing sustainability issues of the day. “State of the World 2009 is a research masterpiece’, said Alex Steffen, Executive Editor of Worldchanging.com, ”the single most important reference guide to climate change yet published.”

State of the World 2009: Into a Warming World

State of the World 2009: Into a Warming World

Through the eyes of 47 expert authors, Into a Warming World outlines not only the serious challenge that climate stabilization now presents to the global community, but also the multitude of economic, social, environmental, and security opportunities that exist to manage and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

Bearing in mind that each country will need to adopt a unique yet coordinated response to address this challenge, Worldwatch has collaborated with the Centre for Environment Education (CEE) to tailor State of the World 2009 for an Indian audience. This has been done through the inclusion of a Preface by Kartikeya Sarabhai, CEE’s Director, in which he offers an overview of India’s engagement with the issue of climate change to date and elaborates on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the country.

Into a Warming World was first launched in Washington in January 2009, a year that is set to become the most crucial year yet for climate change in 25 years of global warming diplomacy. 2009 is a year that has seen a new and more proactive U.S. administration, borne witness to a growing number of climate change-related impacts around the world as well as considerable growth in global awareness of the challenge and the opportunities that exist to address the problem, and is the year that will end with a meeting of global leaders in Copenhagen this December to decide the shape and form of a new global treaty on climate change within the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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India, SOW09, State of the World