In July, a paper was published by a team of economists affiliated with the London School of Economics and Political Science. It is part of the Pathways to Resilience in Semi-Arid Economies project. Their work looks into reconciling economic development and poverty alleviation with climate change. The responsibility for the onset of climate change lies mostly with developed nations, so it is often acknowledged that the burden of its mitigation should not be thrust heavily upon the developing world. The effects of climate change, such as more frequent extreme weather events and changing temperatures, may drastically affect agriculture. Climate changes may also shift the geographic ranges of diseases, bringing them to places which have not yet experienced them. The changes could create friction and conflict in the developing world which could negatively impact their economy even further. This project looks at six case study countries in particular (Senegal, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Kenya, Pakistan, and Tajikistan) and hopes to anticipate how climate change will affect their economies.
The paper discusses how large settlements, and therefore a significant portion of economic activity, are located in places where transportation to distant markets is easily facilitated. With changing sea levels and other factors, climate change could have serious consequences for economies. In rural semi-arid places, many people depend heavily on agriculture for their livelihoods. If opportunities in these places become more limited due to new diseases or other effects of climate change, increased migration to cities would add to existing problems like congestion. Specific examples are offered which help to anticipate potential climate change outcomes. In Burkina Faso, questions of land tenure and rising prices lead to violent protests in multiple cities during a time of drought over the last decade. The effects of climate change will be most severe in poor, semi-arid places which are often the most susceptible and fragile.
Castells-Quintana, D., del Pilar Lopez-Uribe, M., & McDermott, T. (2015). Climate change and the geographical and institutional drivers of economic development (No. 198). Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
For more information on the relationship between climate change and the economy, see the Grantham Research Institute’s homepage at http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/.