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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Halting and Reversing Deforestation Critical to +2 °C Climate Target

The newly released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, "Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change,” describes the actions that people will need to take if we are to maintain a safe and stable global climate.  Like the two previous IPCC reports (which I have written about here and here), it is based on the collective volunteer work of dozens of top scientists and economists synthesizing the findings of thousands of peer-reviewed articles.

Streamlining REDD+ to Confront the Growth and Spread of Tropical Forest Clearing

The latest news from FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action) is very bad.  Figure 1 shows that the FORMA index of global forest clearing rose 60% from January, 2007 to October, 2012.  It declined during the economic crisis, from late 2008 to early 2010, but has climbed steadily since then.  To make matters worse, this increase has been accompanied by rapid dispersion of clearing. As Table 1 shows, only Brazil has displayed a significant decline during the past five years.  The FORMA indicator has increased slightly in Indonesia and sharply in other regions of Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.  In January, 2007, Brazil and Indonesia accounted for 77.3% of the global indicator total.  By October, 2012, their share had fallen to 39.4%.

Be Mine: S. 332

Roses are red, violets are blue, here’s a climate change bill for you.

On Valentine’s Day, Senators Boxer and Sanders introduced S. 332, the Climate Protection Act of 2013. Senator Sanders also introduced his Sustainable Energy Act. The outlook for the package isn’t exactly rosy. The bills will have a tough time passing the Senate and would be pretty much DOA in the House.

Can We At Least Contain Ethanol’s Damage?

“Corn ethanol is a done deal…. There’s no stopping it.”

Princeton University scholar, Tim Searchinger, on The Grist blog in 2009

In response to this year’s severe drought and surging corn prices, the governors of North Carolina and Arkansas asked the Environmental Protection Agency to waive the mandate for blending ethanol into gasoline. Governor Perry of Texas filed a similar request during the price spikes of 2008 that the EPA rejected. After that, global debate over the implications of crop-based renewable fuels for food prices and climate change escalated. Some policymakers responded, but only by tinkering around the margins: the US Congress allowed $6 billion in subsidies to expire last year in the face of intense budget pressures, and the European Commission recently proposed halving its mandate for food-based biofuels.

South Korea Wins Green Climate Fund: Now Comes the Hard Part

This is a joint post with Lawrence MacDonald.

In a break with the post-World War II practice of international organizations being headquartered in either Europe or the US, South Korea beat five nations to become the host of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a new entity that may become a key player in international efforts to avert runaway climate change. The GCF interim secretariat announced late last month that Songdo International Business District, a gleaming new satellite city adjacent to South Korea’s main airport, won the competition to host the fund. The decision is expected to be confirmed at the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that will get underway in Doha, Qatar, later this month.

Can’t HiPoPoDomAe and Donuts Just Get Along?

I got to be part of a panel yesterday at the UN, grandly titled “Conceptualizing a Set of Sustainable Development Goals - A Special Event of the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly.” I was excited to be there not just because of the location and topic, but also because of considerable respect for the rest of the panel, including Andrew Revkin of the NYT Dot Earth blog, WRI’s Manish Bapna and Oxfam’s Kate Raworth.

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