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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.

 

World Bank Missing Out on India's Next Green Revolution

What is it going to take to get the World Bank to change course on renewable energy? Here at the Center we’ve been trying to help get the bank to be more aggressive on renewables for nearly a year. But inertia is a powerful force, and despite shifts in thinking by individual bank staff, the institution itself is still moving very slowly. But what if a major client and a competitor joined forces on renewables?

Where There Is No Vision, the People Will Refuse to Perish--But Do-Nothing Institutions Very Well Might

It's been a busy year for citizen action on carbon emissions. On September 11, a UK jury considered charges against six Greenpeace activists who tried to shut down the Kingsnorth power station in Kent, UK. Kingsnorth emits 12.8 million tons of CO2 annually -- among the top 150 of over 50,000 plants worldwide in our CARMA database. It will vault much higher in the rankings after its planned expansion increases its emissions to 24.8 million tons.

Poznan Redux: The True Climate Cost

This is a joint posting with Kevin Ummel
Q: What can we do to save the earth?
Wendell Berry: "Stay put."
Economists are always irritating their colleagues by harping about opportunity cost, but the concept can be useful nonetheless. For example, consider the “carbon account” announced for the Poznan climate change meeting. According to the sponsors, travel and other logistics for the 8,000 conference participants will generate 13,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Participants have duly announced the purchase of “carbon offsets” as atonement for their logistical sins (which begins to sound like the sale of indulgences by the medieval Church, but that’s another story). The whole thing projects a reassuring aura: By purchasing offsets, the participants can cover the “climate cost” of the meeting.

Poznan, Hot Air, and Carbon Offsets

"I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man's being unable to sit still in a room."
-- Blaise Pascal
Q: What can we do to save the earth?
Wendell Berry: "Stay put."

Obama and House Committee Shake-Up Signal Sea Change in U.S. Climate Policy

This is a joint posting with Joel Meister
Recent announcements of climate-related transition teams and agency director appointments have provided a wealth of information about the prospects for action on climate change by the Obama White House. Bolstered by changes in the leadership of a crucial House committee, the energy and climate change agenda is likely to be a top legislative priority for the new administration. These changes also suggest that climate policies will affect the strategy for economic recovery, as well as a reorientation of US foreign assistance toward climate-sensitive policies that will yield significant benefits for poor people in developing countries.

Bail, Baby, Bail: What General Motors can Teach us about Policy Distortions

This is a joint posting with David Wheeler and Robin Kraft

When countries in Latin America or Africa descend into crisis, economists in Washington take a harsh view. Governments are forced to reduce spending in return for IMF rescue packages and in some instances, countries are even put on a cash-only budget. In the United States, we have a very different approach designed to minimize hardship of any kind -- the bailout.

Smart Obamanomics for the President-Elect's Top Priority: Energy and Climate Change

This is a joint post with Kevin Ummel, Robin Kraft, Joel Meister and Dan Hammer
During the second presidential debate on October 7, an exchange took place that tells us a lot about what to expect from an Obama administration:

Tom Brokaw: Senator Obama, if you would give us your list of priorities, there are some real questions about whether everything can be done at once.
Barack Obama: We're going to have to prioritize, just like a family has to prioritize … Energy we have to deal with today … So that would be priority number one.

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