Book summary: The political economy of low carbon resilient development

Article, 17 February 2017

A book edited by IIED researchers examines the political dynamics affecting planning for climate change action at national and local level.

If 2015 and 2016 were the years of international agreements on climate change and sustainable development, 2017 is the year when national governments need to start implementing policies.

The shift from planning to implementation will be particularly challenging for least developed countries (LDCs) and those most vulnerable to climate change.

So it's timely that a book edited by two IIED researchers looks at the political, economic and social factors affecting how governments are moving from planning to implementation. 

The Political Economy of Low Carbon Resilient Development, edited by Neha Rai and Susannah Fisher, examines the politics and discourses affecting climate action in four countries.

It uses a political economy approach – analysing the complex web of political, financial and social drivers that influence national discourse and government planning on climate change. Rai and Fisher argue that this approach can provide deeper insights into the efficiency, equity and effectiveness of climate change responses, and has particular relevance for low-income and developing countries.

Neha Rai is a senior researcher in IIED's Climate Change research group. She specialises in public policy analysis, urban and regional planning, climate finance and governance.

In an interview about the book, Rai explains that low carbon resilient development (LCRD) is a relatively new concept which could offer a "triple-win" for low income countries. LCRD seeks to integrate climate change mitigation (reducing greenhouse gas emissions), climate change adaptation (reducing the adverse effects of climate change) and sustainable development.

The book presents case studies of four LDCs: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal and Rwanda. Fellow editor Susannah Fisher says in a video interview (below) that these four countries have developed interesting and exciting LCRD plans and strategies.

The book really looks at how those strategies are moving forward to implementation and what the challenges might be in building a consensus and political will and momentum around taking those through to implementation – Susannah Fisher


Fisher is a senior researcher at IIED, working on climate change politics and governance in the global South, with a focus on climate justice, effectiveness and gender equality. She says that working on the book with national partners helped strengthen the quality of the research and make it relevant for national stakeholders.


The Political Economy of Low Carbon Resilient Development, edited by Neha Rai, Susannah Fisher (2016), available to purchase from Routledge, 172 pages, hardback (ISBN: 978-1-13-893297-5)/eBook (ISBN: 978-1-31-567928-0)

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