Low carbon development (LCD) is a much used word in development circles today. As such, governments are actively exploring how to achieve their growth targets through a low carbon trajectory or even through a ‘carbon neutral’ pathway.
This is a new area that challenges how development has been done so far, calling for not only a serious rethink of old practices but also contesting entrenched value systems. In this viewpoint, we explore some of the underlying issues that are driving the process of mainstreaming climate change in development.
Recognising that there are variations in LCD, we map out the diversity of understandings and interpretations with a view to lay out the range of possibilities that countries can consider. We argue that whilst countries should certainly draw lessons from the experiences of others on mainstreaming climate change in their policies and practices, the version of LCD that each country follows needs to emerge from within its own national reality, anchored in its development prospects, aspirations and capacities.