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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.

 

Will Trump be the Grinch that Steals US-Cuba Environmental Cooperation?

Last week, I had the privilege of sitting in on a conference on United States-Cuba relations in Havana that brought together experts on the politics of both countries. The conference was dominated by uncertainty over the future of bilateral ties under a Trump Administration. One of the many prospective casualties of a reversal in US policy toward Cuba would be cooperation on the environment.

Implementing the Paris Agreement is Not Just about NDCs: Focus on Adaptation Too

The city of Marrakech is all dressed up for the negotiations and festivities of the 22nd Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC. From horse-drawn carriages spinning the COP22 logo around their wheels, to banners waving "Act” in five languages posted across streetlamps and Moroccan flags lining the storefronts of the medina, the anticipation is both visible and palpable, even with the backdrop of recent political protests across the country. As a model for clean energy transition and an example of the need to adopt drastic adaptation measures, Morocco is an appropriate setting for this year's two-week decision-making marathon.

Grading the Airlines’ Climate Agreement: Historic Steps, Missed Opportunities

In a historic climate agreement last Thursday, countries and airlines gathered at the triennial assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal committed to “carbon neutral growth” in international flights between more than 60 countries after 2021. This means that after airlines flying those international routes cut greenhouse gas emissions within their operations, they would need to offset any residual increase in their emissions by purchasing credits for emission reductions made in other sectors. The ICAO agreement is a mixed bag—it makes some historic steps and defers some important decisions to later, but is also a missed opportunity when it comes to carbon pricing.

Airlines and Forests: A Match Made at Cruising Altitude

In what could be the most consequential meeting on climate change in 2016, the world’s airlines are gathering next week in Montreal for the 39th triennial assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). There they will consider a proposal to cap carbon dioxide emissions from international flights and let participating airlines trade the rights to emit.  An ICAO-sanctioned cap-and-trade program could lead to airlines achieving their goal in part by buying credits for the protection of tropical forests.

Affordable Climate Protection: Saving the Amazon Forest Cost Brazil Far Less than the Rio Olympics

From 2004-2013, Brazil reduced climate emissions by more than any other country on earth, thanks to its success cutting Amazon deforestation by 80 percent. Now, a new study in Ecological Economics finds that actions to protect the Amazon were affordable too, costing Brazilian governments at the federal, state, and local levels just $2.1 billion over nine years—one-third the estimated $6.2 billion price tag of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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