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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.

 

tropical forest

A Global Offer to Reduce Deforestation: $5 Billion a Year for 20 Years

When it comes to measuring development impacts, nothing beats forests. With ever-improving satellite monitoring technology, measuring global forest cover is each year easier, cheaper, and more accurate. Which means that—whatever you want to call it (pay for performance, results-based aid)—rewarding tropical forest countries for preserving their forests, and for their climate and development benefits, is becoming easier and more accurate.

Clouds on the Horizon for International Forest Offsets? It’s Complicated.

The international forest and climate communities have placed high hopes on the potential for compliance carbon markets to generate funding to reduce tropical deforestation through international forest offsets. At a meeting last week in San Francisco on “Navigating the American Carbon World” (NACW) it seemed as if these hopes are likely to be dashed. Or at least not realized in time to save the vast tropical forests in time for them to play a significant role in combatting dangerous climate change.

Implementing the Paris Agreement is Not Just about NDCs: Focus on Adaptation Too

The city of Marrakech is all dressed up for the negotiations and festivities of the 22nd Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC. From horse-drawn carriages spinning the COP22 logo around their wheels, to banners waving "Act” in five languages posted across streetlamps and Moroccan flags lining the storefronts of the medina, the anticipation is both visible and palpable, even with the backdrop of recent political protests across the country. As a model for clean energy transition and an example of the need to adopt drastic adaptation measures, Morocco is an appropriate setting for this year's two-week decision-making marathon.

New Approach to Managing Environmental and Social Risks in World Bank Programs

On Thursday, August 4, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a new “Environmental and Social Framework” for bank-financed investment projects. While the new policy framework has cleared the hurdle of Board approval, many questions remain. Will the new framework succeed? Will it enhance country capability and commitment to managing environmental and social risks? And will it reduce the bureaucratic hassles associated with bank lending and bolster demand?

What’s Next for the UK on Climate Change after Brexit? Lemons to Lemonade.

In the short run, the uncertainty about future national policy may discourage private investment in renewable energy and other low carbon technologies. At the same time, the freedom to forge its own climate policy and to step out ahead of the EU may open opportunities for more ambitious action and creative intellectual leadership in UK support to developing countries.

Oxfam America: Poor Countries Should Get to Sell the Remaining Fossil Fuels

Reducing fossil fuel emissions to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius or less means that a huge amount of proven fossil fuel reserves will need to stay in the ground.  A new Oxfam America Research Backgrounder by Professor Simon Caney of Oxford rightly proposes that, in considering which assets will be “stranded” (left in the ground), priority for extracting these fossil fuels should somehow be given to the poorest countries/people. But while poor countries should get priority when it comes to selling fossil fuels, when it comes to using them, they should be viewed as an energy source of last resort, after alternatives have been seriously explored.

Will SCOTUS Ruling on EPA’s Clean Power Plan Derail Paris Agreement?

Last Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court decided, by a 5 to 4 vote, to allow states to temporarily stop preparing to implement the Obama administration's signature regulation for cutting greenhouse gas emissions until a series of lawsuits against the rules have been decided.  This casts uncertainty on climate policy actions both in the U.S. and internationally, as many developing countries are only willing to take climate action if the US shows leadership.

Saving Forests in Paris: Breakthrough for REDD+?

The historic UN “Paris Agreement” achieved by climate change negotiators highlighted the importance of conserving forests and laid the groundwork for future global carbon markets to finance emissions reductions from tropical forest countries.  But a full-fledged carbon market-based mechanism to protect forests and reduce rampant deforestation is still years down the road.  In the meantime, reducing emissions from deforestation will continue to depend on a medley of public and private financing appr

Financing for Adaptation to Climate Change: Ensuring the Most Vulnerable Are Covered

At next week’s global climate summit in Paris the mood is likely to be somber in the wake of the devastating terrorist attacks. Spirits won’t be raised by the fact that the national emissions reduction plans submitted so far are only half of what’s needed to keep global temperature increases within the agreed target of 2 degrees Celsius.  Also discouraging are the large gaps that remain between how much climate finance developing countries need to cover the costs of mitigation and adaptation and the commitments put forward by developed countries.

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