Ideas to Action:

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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.

 

President Lula to Head the World Bank? Process Matters, Too

Last week the Guardian reported that the Obama Administration has approached President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil about becoming the next President of the World Bank. Seems unlikely to me – for one thing it’s early, since Robert Zoellick’s term lasts another three years, and the Administration has many other fish it is frying right now.

Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade: The Trouble with Offsets

This is a joint post with Matt Hoffman.

Carbon offsets -- granting rights to emit greenhouse gases beyond a stated ceiling in exchange for contributions to cutting emissions elsewhere -- are an important part of the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill now making its way through the U.S. Congress. Offsets have plenty of appeal, but in practice they have a poor track record. And there are less risky, lower cost ways to achieve similar goals.

A Transformational North Africa/Middle East Solar Power Program: Bright Prospect for the Clean Technology Fund

This is a joint post with Joel Meister and Matt Hoffman.

The May 11-12th meeting of the Clean Technology Fund’s Trust Fund Committee will consider a proposed $6-8 billion solar thermal power program for North Africa and the Middle East, according to the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds website. The concept note, Clean Technology Fund: Concept Note for a Concentrated Solar Power Scale-up Program in the Middle East and North Africa Region, cites CGD research on solar radiation potential in the region and is the most encouraging sign yet of CTF stakeholders’ commitment to clean energy development.

Nathalie's Story: Saving the Mountain Gorillas, and the Planet

GorillaMy friend Nathalie Johnson is one of my personal heroes. For the better part of two decades, she has worked tirelessly at the World Bank to conserve biodiversity while promoting sustainable livelihoods for the rural people of Africa. Fiercely proud of being a field biologist in an institution dominated by economists, Nathalie has turned out to be one of the finest applied economists I know.

Protectionist Snares Along the Road to Copenhagen

Countries importing Chinese goods should be responsible for the heat-trapping gases released during manufacturing, a top Chinese official said yesterday…. "As one of the developing countries, we are at the low end of the production line for the global economy. We produce products, and these products are consumed by other countries.... This share of emissions should be taken by the consumers, but not the producers."

-Associated Press, March 17, 2009

Why Marc Jacobsons Research Matters for the Clean Technology Fund

This post originally appeared on CARMA.org.

The airwaves have recently been filled with advertisements heralding a plethora of clean energy technologies. GE promoted its smart grid technologies in a Wizard of Oz-themed Super Bowl ad. Vestas, the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world, has branded itself No. 1 in Modern Energy. Various groups have designed commercials touting the potential of "clean coal," including a GE ad featuring models-turned-miners (tagline: "Harnessing the power of coal is looking more beautiful every day."). And environmental groups have struck back against the branding of coal as "clean" with satirical advertisements (tagline: "Clean coal harnesses the awesome power of the word ‘clean!’". In this maelstrom of marketing, who can say which clean energy technology is best?

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