Soutenance de thèse: Auriane Meilland

Phd defense: Auriane Meilland

Alignment between national development priorities and climate change mitigation goals – analysis, modeling and implications for international climate negotiations

Auriane Meilland, under the supervision of Franck Lecocq

13 mai

At 2 p.m., 1st floor auditorium


Climate change mitigation goals and development priorities are closely linked. For the most part, however, they remain discussed in separate arenas, both within individual countries and at the international stage, where development is addressed in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and mitigation is tackled by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In such a context, are countries’ development strategies consistent with their climate mitigation targets? Can this assessment shed new light on how fair countries’ contributions to the Paris Agreement are? To address these questions, including for countries in which existing data and analyses are limited, the present thesis builds and provides first applications of a model-based, datasober methodology. Its aim is to examine the conditions under which climate mitigation targets, as expressed in Nationally Determined Contributrions, and other long-term national development goals, as expressed in official development planning documents, are compatible.

In the absence of a comprehensive dataset on countries’ development priorities, we first collect and analyse the long-term national development documents of 121 countries to extract stated development priorities. In doing so, we show that the SDGs are comprehensive enough to be a relevant framework to map development priorities. We then build a flexible methodology based on the computable general equilibrium (CGE) model KLEM to assess the compatibility between some of the development priorities expressed in the development plans, and national mitigation targets. We demonstrate that CGE assessments of climate policies are sensitive to the choice of macroeconomic closure of the model – a point that, to our knowledge, had not been made in the climate modeling literature – and consequently include sensitivity analyses on this dimension in our methodology. We provide first applications of the methodology to Malawi, Colombia and Iraq, and discuss directions for future developments. Third, we review the tools currently used to assess the fairness of national mitigation targets: none would, at the same time, include the wide range of (sometimes contradictory) equity principles in the literature, while providing conclusive judgements. We build a survey collecting citizens’ attitudes towards international equity in France and the US. Its results suggest that such surveys with a normative intent, if expanded, could legitimize the use of a narrower range of principles, thus improving – without fully reaching – the conclusiveness of these tools. We conclude by discussing how integrating other development priorities in the debates on fairness may help overcome this stumbling block.

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