Climate, sustainable energy, and development

FERDI is searching for new tools to study the political implications of environmental degradation and climate shocks in developing countries.

For example, it is examining the effects of trade policies on the environment, the impact of decentralised electrification projects on economic development and poverty reduction, and how an indicator of vulnerability to climate change can guide the allocation of funds for adaptation.

- Trade and environment. Jaime de Melo's work explores the reasons for the successive failures at regional, plurilateral, and multilateral levels to agree on the reduction of barriers to trade in goods and services. His work argues for a concerted effort to reduce plurilateral (and eventually multilateral) barriers (tariffs and non-tariff barriers) on trade in environmental goods.

- A mapping of decentralised electrification projects. FERDI is mapping decentralised electrification projects and analysing their impact on economic development and poverty reduction. Under the direction of Jean-Claude Berthelemy (University of Paris 1/FERDI), FERDI has developed a database of decentralised electricity projects and their effects: the COSMMA database (Collaborative Smart Mapping of Mini-grid Action).

- Climate vulnerability indicators. FERDI has developed a Physical Vulnerability to Climate Change Indicator (PVCCI) that measures climate shocks and the exposure of countries to these shocks. This indicator is intended to be used as a possible criterion for the geographic allocation of international funds for climate change adaptation. Created in 2012, this indicator is subject to regular adjustments.

Achievements 2021-2022

Measuring the impact of decentralized electricity projects. In 2021, FERDI developed a method to use night-time light data, which is known to be correlated with human activity, to assess the economic changes observed after the start-up of a mini-grid in remote rural localities. This approach, given its innovative nature, required much discussion with peers. Successive versions were presented at events organised by the Chairs for Energy and Prosperity1, Climate Economics, and Industrial Economics of Emergence in Africa, but also by AFD, IRENA2 and GDN3 and discussed with various European and African researchers. It also gave rise to in-depth discussions with the Club-ER (the African association of rural electrification agencies which includes more than 30 countries), several of these agencies, and French NGOs.

FERDI has proposed the measurement of the physical vulnerability to climate change indicator at the regional and micro-regional level. A first application was conducted for Madagascar, and was used in a  document on the vulnerabilities of Madagascar. This document was used for training in the first quarter of 2021 in the framework of the agreement with the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Madagascar for the project of Support for capacity building in the analysis of structural vulnerability factors and the blue economy (ARCEB).


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