Energy is needed for economic growth, and access to cheap, reliable energy is an essential development objective. Historically most incremental energy demand has been met through fossil fuels; however, in future that energy will have to be low carbon and ultimately zero-carbon. Decarbonization can and needs to happen at varying speeds in all countries, depending on national circumstances. This article reviews the implications of a transition to low-carbon energy on economic growth and development in current low-income countries. It sets out empirical findings about trajectories for energy intensity and emissions intensity of economic growth; explores pathways to accelerate decarbonization; reviews the theoretical and empirical literature on economic costs and co-benefits of energy decarbonization; and assesses analytical approaches. It discusses the opportunities that might arise in terms of a cleaner, more dynamic and more sustainable growth model, and the options for developing countries to implement a less-carbon intensive model of economic development.
SOURCE: Fankhauser, S. and Jotzo, F. (2017), Economic growth and development with low-carbon energy. WIREs Clim Change, e495
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