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Here are my wishes for commitments that countries could make at each of three big development-relevant international events in the next 12 months. I find it harder than ever to make such a list this year; global cooperation is becoming harder than ever to manage. With the rise of China and other emerging markets, cooperation in what is now a multipolar system is more necessary than it has been in decades, but more and more elusive. That puts a premium on strengthening the world’s international institutions and on—yes—UN and other international conferences and convenings and conversations in search of a global consensus on norms, programs, actions, and goals
The results of Sunday’s runoff election in Brazil open a new chapter in the country’s fight against deforestation. Dilma Rousseff will have to overcome skepticism that she’s the right woman for the job, in light of perceptions that she privileged development at the expense of conservation during her first term as president.
In the latest in a surge of extreme weather events, a mid-November storm twice the size of Texas hammered the west coast of Alaska with hurricane-force winds. The storm pushed further north than low-pressure systems typically do this time of year, gaining energy as it passed over unusually warm water. Loss of coastal ice in recent decades left coastal villages exposed to the brunt of the waves. In Nome, tides rose to seven feet above normal bringing water to the base of some buildings.
Yesterday’s U.S. government decision to re-consider the proposal for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring oil from the Alberta tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico, opens the way for policymakers to include consideration of the climate and development impact of decision. Unfortunately, announcements of the decision suggest this is not necessarily part of the plan.
I participated in a conference in Oslo this week titled Energy for All. The subject of energy access is relatively new to me, except in the context of climate change where Arvind Subramanian and I have concluded that short of unprecedented technological breakthroughs in both energy efficiency and low-carbon generation to meet the needs of people currently lacking electricity, the planet is cooked.