This report argues that Governments and societies currently relying on their extractive resources to drive long-term national development will need to understand and manage the evolving risks and opportunities of a carbon-constrained world. It sets out the parameters of the emerging debate, with specific emphasis on fossil fuels. It seeks to address a number of questions, including: • If development of the extractives sector represents a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity, to what extent is that opportunity changing in a carbon-constrained world? • What risks does extractive-sector dependence pose for other emerging sectors of the economy, which stand to benefit from the global shift to lower-carbon growth? • Can donor support for extractives-led growth and for low-carbon, green development be reconciled? In contrast to prevailing pressures to develop reserves quickly, the paper argues that donors and advisers should help put back on the table the full range of options available to a country. This includes choices to ‘go slow’, in tandem with boosting local capacity to benefit from investments, business and job opportunities; to integrate extractives development into sustainable economic diversification plans from the outset; and the choice not to extract or expand the sector at all.


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