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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.

 

Economic Cycles, Deforestation, and REDD+

The latest news from FORMA demonstrates the power of global and regional economic cycles as drivers of deforestation.  My previous post highlighted the rapid growth and spread of forest clearing during the first phase of the global economic recovery.  Fortunately, new clearing has declined sharply since then, as the chart of FORMA's global indicator shows below.  The effectiveness of forest protection may vary somewhat from quarter to quarter, but not nearly enough to explain such pronounced swings. 

Streamlining REDD+ to Confront the Growth and Spread of Tropical Forest Clearing

The latest news from FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action) is very bad.  Figure 1 shows that the FORMA index of global forest clearing rose 60% from January, 2007 to October, 2012.  It declined during the economic crisis, from late 2008 to early 2010, but has climbed steadily since then.  To make matters worse, this increase has been accompanied by rapid dispersion of clearing. As Table 1 shows, only Brazil has displayed a significant decline during the past five years.  The FORMA indicator has increased slightly in Indonesia and sharply in other regions of Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.  In January, 2007, Brazil and Indonesia accounted for 77.3% of the global indicator total.  By October, 2012, their share had fallen to 39.4%.

Corruption Threatens to Undermine Climate Action - Transparency International

The latest Global Corruption Report from Transparency International (TI), launched May 5 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, tackles corruption and climate change. The message is stark: without better governance, transferring funds to developing countries to combat climate change could go awry. This would mean even less progress cutting the emissions of planet-heating gases, a squandering of scarce climate funds, and an intensified risk of dangerous, runaway climate change.

One Year Later: Policy-Driven Responses to Help Haiti

Twelve months after the devastating earthquake, some of the fresh ideas CGD policy experts proposed to help Haiti through non-aid channels have gained traction, while others remain relevant, but have yet to be tried. The anniversary is a time to revisit progress and shine a light on untapped opportunities to assist Haitians in their reconstruction efforts through U.S. policies on trade, debt, migration, and more:

Beyond Copenhagen: Making Forest Conservation Credible

This is a joint posting with Dan Hammer.

The climate negotiations in Copenhagen have galvanized the climate evangelists and skeptics alike; the talks, some say, are merely a front to assuage the general public, and will only divert attention from the scientific imperative to curb global carbon emissions. But one benefit of the talks has already been realized: They have catalyzed a flurry of activity, especially in the domain of monitoring and evaluation. Last week in Copenhagen, Google.org announced that it will provide free access to raw satellite imagery to facilitate global monitoring of deforestation, which may account for 15% of annual greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, Google.org has partnered with two leading forest scientists to host their image-parsing algorithms online, so that experts in developing countries can produce more accurate maps of forest cover loss from satellite images.

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.