Abstract for: Can good government save us? Extending a climate-population model to include governance and its effects

Many believe good government to be essential for a nation’s progress, but governance is a multidimensional concept with unclear implications for economic development and global sustainability. The World Bank has tracked six country-level Worldwide Governance Indicators since 1996. Regression analysis across 150 countries identified two of these indicators, Government Effectiveness and Regulatory Quality, that consistently help to explain changes in economic growth and CO2 emissions. The regression results provided the evidence needed to incorporate the effects of governance in an existing climate-population simulation model. Policy testing of the revised model led to findings about what improved governance can and cannot do. The testing suggested that the best combination of such improvements could boost progress on emissions reduction without hindering economic development—but not enough to adequately mitigate climate change. Achieving the double goal of economic development and strong climate change mitigation would thus require some kind of extra effort that does not fall into the usual definitions of good national governance.