Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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.

 

Could Solar Lighting Be the Next Mobile Phone?

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of mobile phone subscriptions in developing countries increased from 215 million to 4.1 billion.  From a luxury for the rich, the mobile has become a ubiquitous presence in rural and urban areas alike, even in some of the most fragile countries in the world.  Afghanistan saw 38 subscriptions per 100 people in 2010, an average of more than one phone per household.  And while ubiquity in Afghanistan is evidence enough that mobile phone access hardly guarantees quality of life or sustainable development, mobiles have proven themselves powerful tools to improve

Durban Climate Deal: What a Great Result This Would Have Been Some Ten Years Ago!

The Durban climate conference concluded last weekend with a successful last-ditch effort to salvage some notion of cooperation.  The outcome would be quite nice if there were no particular urgency about taking action.  As is, it seems to me we are making some progress, but there is no more denying that as a world community, we are letting slip the option to limit the risk of dangerous climate change to the levels previously deemed acceptable.  We are, effectively, taking a bet that impacts will turn out to be at the low end of the predicted range.  This is certainly a possible outcome

Earth Goals for the Earth Summit?

A while ago, I blogged about the government of Colombia’s proposal for next year’s Rio + 20 Summit –that it should agree a set of “Sustainable Development Goals,” or SDGs for short.  That blog raised the concern that having a set of SDGs agreed only three years before a new round of MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) might be a little confusing to… well... everyone. 

Hand-wringing Our Way to Durban

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.

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