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.

 

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.

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?

Upcoming World Bank Vote Threatens Future of Clean Tech Fund

This is a joint posting with Joel Meister.

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.

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