Figure 19.9. Economic indicators (1998) (UN-Habitat 2001)

rim areas is linked to changes in production structure (Luukanen and Kaivo-oja 2002). Mexican industry has become "lighter" and focused more on assembly industries. This is a controversial sector in development terms because it creates low-quality jobs and aggregate value, decreases government revenues, and lowers capacity to cope with environmental issues (Varady et al. 2002). Reduced carbon emissions in these countries could also be caused by deindustrialization related to recurrent economic, financial, and institutional crises.

One unsolved question is whether divergent development pathways might give Asian tigers increased capacity to adapt to changes in the carbon cycle. Although they are socially segregated, they enjoy relatively more wealth, technology, information, skills, infrastructure, access to resources, and management capabilities than their Latin American counterparts (Figures 19.5, 19.8, and 19.9). These advantages may provide a foundation for development policies with positive carbon-relevant consequences, including the ability both to promote mitigation and to cope with socioeconomic implications of changes in the carbon cycle.

The third development pathway taking place in the peripheries is represented by high primary commodity—export economies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. These countries have recently experienced reductions in their already small share of world domestic product (Figure 19.1; Lo 1994). Their consumption of energy and CO2 emissions has increased in recent years but is insignificant compared with that of the cores (Figures 19.2 and 19.3). Industrialized economies continue to be the main sources of trade and financing for these areas. Many of the peripheries maintain his torical and structural characteristics that are vulnerable to the vagaries of international markets and are hit hard by recurrent weaknesses in the prices of their primary exports. For instance, in terms of 1990 U.S. dollars, the price index of all nonfuel primary commodities decreased from 118.1 to 89.3 from 1995 to 2000 (FAO 2001).

Falling prices and the embrace of economic liberalization in the peripheries both contribute to recurring financial crises, heavy external borrowing, inflation, stagnation of economic growth, high rates of urban and rural segregation, and weakening institutions. Besides hampering their ability to promote key carbon development policies, such factors might also hinder their ability to promote mitigation and cope with the social implications of changes in the carbon cycle.

Rim and peripheral regions share several aspects of land use changes caused by agriculture and forestry. Their forests have decreased and croplands have grown during recent decades (Richards 1990), leading to increased relative contributions to carbon emissions (Figure 19.7). Land use changes are caused by the interplay of several proximate and underlying factors. "Among the most frequently found factor combinations are the agriculture-wood-road connexus (mainly driven by economic, policy, institutional and cultural factors), the agricultural-wood connexus (mainly driven by technological factors), and population-driven agricultural expansion." There are regional variations, however, in causal connections, "with the agriculture-wood connexus featuring mainly Asian cases, and the road-agriculture connexus featuring mainly Latin American cases" (Geist and Lambin 2001, 95).

Rim and peripheral regions exhibit at least two carbon-relevant scenarios within the complex mosaic of agricultural and forest practices, namely intensification and diversification.5 The first is common among commercial farmers, the second within the subsistence sector. Three sets of factors may drive intensification: land scarcity linked to population growth, markets, and intervention through projects sponsored by states, donors, or nongovernmental organizations (Lambin et al. 2001).

Diversification is often driven by interacting processes, which have adverse effects on agricultural-based livelihoods. This list of processes includes the embrace of liberalization, deregulation, and new regional trade agreements (Ellis 2000; Romero 2002). The impacts of intensification and diversification on the carbon cycle are diverse and potentially contradictory. For example, increased use of fertilizers may increase nitrous oxide emissions in most crops. But in rice the improved efficiency linked to intensification has led to decreased methane emissions (Milich 1999). Diversification strategies can lead to a range of results, including land degradation, abandoned land capital (terraces, irrigation), and regeneration through ecological succession (Romero 2002).

Relevance of Common and Different Patterns of Development

The emergence of core, rim, and peripheral regions underlies diverse, carbon-relevant, regional pathways of development. Some carbon-relevant features are common to all regions, such as demographic concentration in urban areas and intensification of agriculture. These features can be managed through similar policy strategies, but only if they take into consideration the socioeconomic, political, and cultural configuration of each region.

Other key characteristics are differentiated in regional and historical terms. Core regions, for instance, have by far the highest share of international trade, production, energy consumption, and carbon emissions. Their responsibility in the design of mitigation and adaptation policies is consequently much higher. Some cores have become less intensive, while development patterns of some rims are leading to more intensive energy use and carbon emissions. Most of the peripheries are confronted with the basic issues of equity, governance, and the need for alternative models of economic growth.

Differences in development patterns demand a range of different carbon-related policies. Actions aimed at reducing CO2 emissions are, for instance, most appropriate for cores. Policies aimed at reducing social disparities, increasing local financial capacities, and strengthening institutional settings are key for many rims and peripheries.

All regions are confronted by paradoxes. Industrialization, the key driver of development in core and rim regions, is at the heart of deep and irreversible transformations of the carbon cycle. Nevertheless, these industrialized regions are better endowed to promote development policies with positive consequences for the carbon cycle, such as urban and environmental planning. Might they also be better able than the peripheries to undertake mitigation and cope with the social implications of change? The latter bear a much smaller responsibility for altering the carbon cycle. In addition, they are confronted by pressing issues (social segregation, financial constraints), which may constrain their capacities for mitigation and adaptation.


1. Ecological footprint, as a land-based surrogate measure of the population's demands on natural capital, "is the total area of productive land and water required continuously to produce all the resources consumed and to assimilate all the wastes produced, by a defined population" (Rees and Wackernagel 1996: 227-228).

2. Gruebel (1994), Lo (1994). As Figures 19.1, 19.2, and 19.3 show, core regions' gross domestic product (GDP) and share of energy consumption rose during recent years, even if there are differences in carbon dioxide emissions. Whereas North America's carbon dioxide emissions sharply increased, Asia's and Western Europe's tended to be stable.

3. The carbon relevance of intensive livestock in all regions is related to methanogene-sis (Ayres et al. 1994: 130-131). Cattle from developed and developing countries produce 30 percent and 22.5 percent, respectively, of estimated annual CH4 emissions by animals (Milich 1999: Figure 9).

4. Curitiba, Brazil, is an outstanding exception to this tendency (UNEP 2002).

5. Diversification in a livelihood context relates to the existence, at a point in time, of diverse income sources underpinned by circulation, migration, and off-farm employment (Ellis 2000).

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