To slow or reverse greenhouse gas emissions all governments need to develop and implement policies to combat climate change. In the early years these policies tended to be rather fragmented; now they are becoming more coherent and linked to sustainable development. The overall aim is to achieve production that is less carbon-intensive and to increase the use of alternative sources of energy while boosting energy efficiency in industry, construction, transportation and equipment. Fiscal measures were among the most widely used in developed countries, often combined with financial incentives such as grants and preferential loan rates and tariffs.
Although most developed countries are now committed to combating climate change, they do not want to reduce international competitiveness so have tried to ensure that some new measures, particularly for energy-intensive industries, are introduced mostly on a voluntary basis, though there can still be sanctions for non-compliance. Using fiscal and financial measures, some governments have also introduced national systems to allow companies to trade emissions allowances. Local governments, cities and municipalities often have their own climate change programs. Many businesses introduce "win-win" practices, which increase profitability and at the same time, reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
Many developing countries too have been trying to integrate climate-friendly approaches into their sustainable development strategies while striving to achieve the overriding goal of poverty eradication. For this, however, they need to rely to some extent on external assistance - bilateral and multilateral. Bilateral aid from the OECD countries for climate change over the period 1998-2000 averaged $2.7 billion per year. The most significant multilateral source has been the Global Environment Facility which over the period 1995-2003 allocated for climate change activities about $1.25 billion and leveraged $6.2 billion in other funding.
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