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Low carbon growth country studies – getting started: experience from six countries

This document is a review of the low carbon growth studies conducted in six emerging economies: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa. These countries, with the help of the Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP), have initiated country specific studies to assess development goals in conjunction with greenhouse gas mitigation opportunities. The aim is to present a framework for other countries who wish to implement studies of their own.

The paper is structured to mirror the seven step process of establishing a low carbon growth country study.

  1. Support national goals: the study lays the foundation for nationally appropriate mitigation actions with national priorities determining its scope and targets.
  2. Scope low carbon growth study: this involves identifying local champions (e.g. organisations and individuals) with convening power and engaging with stakeholders early on in the planning process.
  3. Mobilise resources: building a strong team is essential. In Brazil, stakeholder consultation was used to select teams comprised from a broad base of local experts.
  4. Build capacity: cross-sector engagement at local, national and international levels is crucial to building the technical and strategic capacity necessary for effective low carbon policy implementation. In Indonesia, capacity building exercises were integrated into the study process with the Ministry of Finance collaborating with the study team in both national and international settings.
  5. Model low carbon pathways: in the more comprehensive studies, the four main methodological steps identified included establishing a baseline, identifying and quantifying low carbon options, assessing the costs and building low carbon emissions scenarios.
  6. Identify greenhouse gas mitigation options: priorities should be drawn from the modelling data and cost-benefit and sensitivity analyses.
  7. Implement strategies: biggest challenges to implementation are establishing cohesive policies across sectors, financing the upfront costs and creating partnerships for implementation.

The paper concludes by looking at future opportunities for growth on low carbon pathways in all six countries. The four key messages to countries wishing to conduct a low carbon growth study are to learn by doing, maximise collaboration, communicate across sectors and boundaries and invest in capacity building.