Journal Article
Introduction to the Special Issue on the Economics of Climate Change Impacts on Developing Countries

Selected Studies on Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia

Within the last century, the global average temperature increased by about 1 °C and this rate of increase may accelerate over the course of the 21st century. Although estimates of climate change are based on projections and probabilistic assessments, ample evidence exists that climate change impacts are likely to become more profound in this century, particularly if mitigation policies are absent or inadequate.

It has been argued that, relative to keeping the warming at 2 °C or lower, the global cost of continuing with “business as usual” may be 5 to 20 times higher. Changes in temperature and precipitation, and its impact, vary from region to region. Developing countries are likely to suffer relatively more from the impacts of climate change since they already have a disproportionate number of poor and marginalized people whose activities are frequently concentrated in climate sensitive sectors. Also, developing countries have the least adaptive capacity to cope with a changing climate.

Significant questions therefore exist with respect to the nature, scale, and timing of appropriate policy responses. Due to wide variations in climatic conditions across regions and countries in the developing world, detailed impact studies require assessments at local levels.

The objective of this Special Issue is to assemble studies of climate impacts and adaptations in countries in sub-Sahara Africa (Ghana (four studies); Ethiopia (two studies), Cameroon (one study)); and Southeast Asia (Vietnam (four studies)). The papers examine road infrastructure, hydropower generation, crop yields, adaptation among rangeland pastoralists, fish stocks, forestry and fuel interactions, and land rental decisions among smallholder female farmers. For Ghana and Vietnam, sectoral impacts are aggregated at the economy-wide level in order to consider macroeconomic implications.

Journal Article
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