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Yesterday I sent this letter to CGD contacts who have expressed an interest in our work on development and climate change. But it really should be of interest to all in the development community. If you share my view that climate and development are inextricably intertwined, please read on, take the survey, and tell your friends to take it, too!
For those interested in the ongoing climate change debate, I urge you to look at the recently-released report (and the Roll Call op-ed) from the bipartisan Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests (full disclosure: I sat on this commission).
Development advocates hoping for an equitable as well as efficient global agreement on climate change ought to be deeply depressed about the results of a recent FT/Harris poll. What is depressing is the way the question was framed (and that does matter): “Do you agree that, since China is the biggest carbon emitter, it should cut its emissions the most?” In most G-7 countries including the U.S., more than 60 percent of respondents agreed.
In a surprise New York Times op-ed last weekend, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Kerry (D-MA) announced a joint initiative on climate change.
The proposal mixes the good (I am glad it finally spells out that only carbon capture and storage turns coal into “clean coal”) with the bad. Still, it is welcome news that the Senate may finally be able to “count to sixty” and pass some kind of legislation to reduce emissions.
From the headlines you would think Davos was mostly doom and gloom and blaming the bankers (and rough talk from Putin and between PM Erdogan of Turkey and Peres of Israel). Development was less visible this year than ever. As Simon Maxwell observed: No Bono. No Jeff Sachs. No Zoellick.
Eldis, the online aggregator of development policy, practice and research at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, is conducting a survey to identify "the most significant new piece of development research of 2008." This strikes me as having roughly the same statistical validity as American Idol does for when it comes to finding new singing talent. Still, as with Idol and other talent shows, the entertainment value of a popularity contest is hard to dispute!
We are at the start of what promises to be an unusually difficult year in the global economy. Policy decisions in the United States and other rich world countries will matter immensely for poor and vulnerable people living in developing countries.