International support of climate change policies in developing countries: Strategic, moral and fairness aspects

by Dirk T.G. Rübbelke

International transfers in climate policy channeled from the industrialized to the developing world either support the mitigation of climate change or the adaptation to global warming. From a purely allocative point of view, transfers supporting mitigation tend to be Pareto-improving whereas this is not very likely in the case of adaptation support. We illustrate this by regarding transfer schemes currently applied under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto framework. However, if we enrich the analysis by integrating distributional aspects, we find that international adaptation funding may help both the developing and developed world. Interestingly this is not due to altruistic incentives, but due to follow-up effects on international negotiations on climate change mitigation.

We argue that the lack of fairness perceived by developing countries in the international climate policy arena can be reduced by the support of adaptation in these countries. As we show – taking into account different fairness concepts – this might raise the prospects of success in international negotiations on climate change. Yet, we find that the influence of transfers may induce different fairness effects on climate change mitigation negotiations to run counter. We discuss whether current transfer schemes under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto framework adequately serve the distributive and allocative objectives pursued in international climate policy.