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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.

 

A Corporate Giant’s Role in Reducing Climate Change and Promoting Development: A Conversation with Unilever’s Paul Polman

Unilever is the world’s single largest end-user of palm oil, purchasing nearly 3 percent of global palm oil production. Whilst we can not do everything alone , with this scale comes responsibility—to make sure that our supply chains are not driving tropical deforestation, and to tackle endemic social issues such as forced labour and the protection of indigenous people.

Postcard from Davos

The world’s elite—plus a few ringers like me—gathered last week in the small Swiss village of Davos to discuss the state of the world at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Although not formally on the agenda, the issue of tropical forests infiltrated a number of discussions. But first, a quick recap of the meeting’s big themes that provided the broader context.

Will Trump be the Grinch that Steals US-Cuba Environmental Cooperation?

Last week, I had the privilege of sitting in on a conference on United States-Cuba relations in Havana that brought together experts on the politics of both countries. The conference was dominated by uncertainty over the future of bilateral ties under a Trump Administration. One of the many prospective casualties of a reversal in US policy toward Cuba would be cooperation on the environment.

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.

Grading the Airlines’ Climate Agreement: Historic Steps, Missed Opportunities

In a historic climate agreement last Thursday, countries and airlines gathered at the triennial assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal committed to “carbon neutral growth” in international flights between more than 60 countries after 2021. This means that after airlines flying those international routes cut greenhouse gas emissions within their operations, they would need to offset any residual increase in their emissions by purchasing credits for emission reductions made in other sectors. The ICAO agreement is a mixed bag—it makes some historic steps and defers some important decisions to later, but is also a missed opportunity when it comes to carbon pricing.

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