CGD in the News

"Rapid Response" to an Ancient Issue (Huffington Post)

December 02, 2010

The Huffington Post mentioned a Center for Global Development blog post in an article on Climate Change.

From the article:

As an American and public health professional, I have not always felt proud of the traditions that follow our Thanksgiving feast: the consumption of pounds of leftovers and the slipping of healthy eating habits at holiday parties; the chaos of consumer stress teeming at pre-dawn Black Friday shopping extravaganzas; the mind-numbing non-stop Christmas playlists overwhelming the radio waves.

But there is one particular tradition that shines a bright light into the winter season ahead: the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Held every year just after Turkey Day -- and this year in Cancun from November 29 -- December 1 -- this Convention is a congregation of environmental activists, civil society leaders, and policy makers from around the world who negotiate the legislative changes that will protect our environment, and consequently, protect humankind.

For anyone who missed Al Gore's eye-opening documentary on climate change, An Inconvenient Truth or Prince Charles' similarly themed Harmony, it has become clear that our global track record on planet protection has been lamentable over the past few decades. (Additionally, this powerful video clip from the Natural Resources Defense Council gives a quick catch-up on the mess we have created thus far.)

There is certainly enough evidence on hand to prove the threats true, particularly from a public health perspective. Health of high-income country citizens will certainly suffer from heat waves, flooding, and air pollution, and the damage of disasters like Katrina can be crippling. But consider also, for example, the millions of farmers in low-income countries who have no subsidies or welfare from their government. Heavy rains, droughts, and extreme temperatures can mean no harvest, and no harvest means not only no health care, but a struggle to survive in already challenging circumstances.

It is also certainly not the case that no political efforts have been attempted: The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has been ratified by every member nation of the UN, and additionally, 190 have ratified the Kyoto Protocol (those who have not ratified include Afghanistan, Somalia, and -- you got it -- the USA). A recent blog post by the Center for Global Development also reports that "More than 80 percent of World Bank client countries have requested support for climate activities -- up from 10 percent a decade ago, and the bank is now active on climate in 130 countries." Governments -- at least symbolically -- are on board.

Read the article.