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Views from the Center

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Be Mine: S. 332

Roses are red, violets are blue, here’s a climate change bill for you.

On Valentine’s Day, Senators Boxer and Sanders introduced S. 332, the Climate Protection Act of 2013. Senator Sanders also introduced his Sustainable Energy Act. The outlook for the package isn’t exactly rosy. The bills will have a tough time passing the Senate and would be pretty much DOA in the House.

Climate Talks Deadlock and the Fiscal Cliff Spark Fresh Interest in Carbon Taxes

This is a joint post with Lawrence MacDonald.

What do the stalled climate talks getting underway in Doha, Qatar, this week and the partisan jousting in Washington over the impending “fiscal cliff” have in common? Not much if you get your information from the mainstream media, which has mostly either ignored the idea or poured cold water on it. Below the surface, however, there is fresh interest in the United States in taxing carbon pollution, including from some unexpected quarters. Such a move can’t come soon enough.

Hurricane Sandy and Development

Will Hurricane Sandy be the wake-up call that Americans need to finally recognize that rapid climate change is already upon us and the rest of the world?  Michael Mann, a leading climate scientist, told the Los Angeles Times it may be a galvanizing event, “a Cuyahoga River moment for climate change.” The superstorm, Mann says, “has galvanized attention to this issue and the role that climate change may be playing with regard to the intensification of extreme weather.” Cleveland’s Cuyohaga River in

Ten Zero-Cost Ideas for Development Progress in 2011

A new year calls for a development policy wish list.  My wish list is about what the rich and powerful global actors– mostly but not solely in the United States – can do to improve lives among the poor and vulnerable around the world in the coming year.

Climate: Is a Big Technology Push Really Enough?

I’ve been mulling over this problem ever since I finished this paper with Arvind Subramanian. We conclude that to deal with the climate change threat to human well-being and livelhoods as we know them today requires an extraordinary technological revolution – not just reducing carbon content but completely eliminating it, i.e. completely severing the link between burning fossil fuel and generating energy.

Copenhagen: Why China is Mostly Right

China recently announced it will reduce the emissions-intensity of its economy (ratio of emissions to GDP) by at least 40-45 percent by 2020. But in Copenhagen it is resisting making that promise an internationally binding commitment. That’s a big problem for the U.S. negotiators, since the Congress is adamant: the U.S. will not commit until and unless the Chinese do too.

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