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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.
World Bank chief economist Justin Lin endorsed charges for CO2 emissions in a keynote address at the 10th anniversary conference of the Global Development Network being held in Kuwait. Speaking in an ornate marble hall at the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development following an address by Mohammed Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lin said that he recognized that such a call might not be politically correct in the oil-rich state.
Even as President Obama breaks new ground this week on U.S. environmental policy, an upcoming vote by country members of the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund Trust Fund Committee may perpetuate business-as-usual policies that subsidize coal-fired power plants and contribute to global warming. On Friday morning, the committee is scheduled to consider and approve investment criteria that include coal-fired power projects among “clean” technologies that are eligible for billions in MDB financing.
President Obama clearly wants to break with his predecessor on energy and climate policy. But the American political divide has not disappeared, and it still threatens to derail the Copenhagen climate negotiations next December. Three developments during the past week highlight both the promise and the peril: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's appointment of Todd Stern to be U.S.
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!
What is it going to take to get the World Bank to change course on renewable energy? Here at the Center we’ve been trying to help get the bank to be more aggressive on renewables for nearly a year. But inertia is a powerful force, and despite shifts in thinking by individual bank staff, the institution itself is still moving very slowly. But what if a major client and a competitor joined forces on renewables?
Today Bloomberg News reports that Russia's national monopoly, Gazprom, has shut down all natural gas shipments to the Ukraine as part of an escalating price war that has created an energy crisis in Europe.
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.