EBRD/LSE study to map out transition to low carbon economies in emerging Europe

By Anthony Williams

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At a time when the world is once again grappling with the challenge of reducing its dependence on fossil fuels, the EBRD, together with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science, is launching a key new report describing the policies needed to reduce carbon emissions in emerging Europe and Central Asia.

The joint Special Report - The Low-Carbon Transition - will be presented on 6 April at the EBRD Headquarters by EBRD Chief Economist Erik Berglof and leading climate change expert Nicholas Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute, at a panel discussion also involving experts from the EBRD region.

Harmful Greenhouse Gas emissions have fallen substantially in emerging Europe over the last two decades. But the improvements mask a very varied picture among individual countries and the region as a whole remains highly energy and carbon intensive. There is much more work to do.

The report analyses a range of policy and reform proposals and identifies those that are likely to be most effective in reducing carbon emissions in the transition region, both in economies that now depend on highly profitable but finite sources of fossil fuels and those that are dependent on energy imports.

The analysis covers the economic impact of climate change mitigation on transition countries, focusing on macroeconomic impact, sectoral implications, and affordability of energy for households.

It looks both at energy efficiency investment that are economically profitable even in the short run and necessary structural changes that may be initially costly but are likely to yield economic benefits in the long term.                                                                                                                                                 

The EBRD already works intensely via its projects and via its Sustainable Energy Initiative to help economies become more energy efficient.

The new report complements this work both by outlining how climate change mitigation can be accelerated through appropriate policy action, and how political obstacles to such policies, particularly in energy dependent countries, can be overcome. 

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