An investigation of the evidence of benefits from climate compatible development

Produced as part of the Adaptation to climate change and human development CCCEP research programme theme

Abstract of Working Paper 124

Climate change is likely to have profound effects on developing countries both through the climate impacts experienced, but also through the policies, programmes and projects adopted to address climate change.

Climate change mitigation (actions taken to reduce the extent of climate change), adaptation (actions taken to ameliorate the impacts), and ongoing development are all critical to reduce current and future losses associated with climate change, and to harness gains.

In the context of limited resources to invest in climate change, policies, programmes, or projects that deliver ‘triple wins’ (ie generating climate adaptation, mitigation and development benefits) – also known as climate compatible development – are increasingly discussed by bilateral and multilateral donors. Yet there remains an absence of empirical evidence of the benefits and costs of triple win policies.

The purpose of this paper is therefore to assess evidence of ‘triple wins’ on the ground, and the feasibility of triple wins that do not generate negative impacts.

We describe the theoretical linkages that exist between adaptation, mitigation and development, as well as the trade-offs and synergies that might exist between them.

Using four developing country studies, we make a simple assessment of the extent of climate compatible development policy in practice through the lens of ‘noregrets’, ‘low regrets’ and ‘with regrets’ decision making.

The lack of evidence of either policy or practice of triple wins significantly limits the capacity of donors to identify, monitor or evaluate ‘triple wins at this point in time.

We recommend a more strategic assessment of the distributional and financial implications of ‘triple wins’ policies.