Environment Systems and Decisions

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

A development-based approach to global climate policy

  • Susan Spierre ClarkEmail author
  • Thomas P. Seager
  • Evan Selinger


A common approach for addressing climate change is to reduce the cost of greenhouse gas mitigation through market-based mechanisms, which enable an economically efficient allocation of emissions. However, from a human development perspective, a market-based approach to emission allocation might not be appropriate, considering the value it places on social well-being. This research builds on previous empirical work to develop a framework for conceptualizing the relationship between carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and human development using the capability approach. The framework enables a critical examination of policy prescriptions that employ market-based methods for emission allocation due to their potential for unintended consequences for underdeveloped nations. Lastly, we offer a theoretical policy proposal aimed at preventing unintended human development consequences.


Human development index Climate change Development equity Capability approach Climate policy 



This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Numbers 1134943 and 1140190. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The authors would also like to thank Dr. Sonja Klinsky and Dr. Braden Allenby at Arizona State University for their insightful comments on this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Spierre Clark
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas P. Seager
    • 1
  • Evan Selinger
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built EnvironmentArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyRochester Institute of TechnologyRochesterUSA

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