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Yesterday I sent this letter to CGD contacts who have expressed an interest in our work on development and climate change. But it really should be of interest to all in the development community. If you share my view that climate and development are inextricably intertwined, please read on, take the survey, and tell your friends to take it, too!
Development advocates hoping for an equitable as well as efficient global agreement on climate change ought to be deeply depressed about the results of a recent FT/Harris poll. What is depressing is the way the question was framed (and that does matter): “Do you agree that, since China is the biggest carbon emitter, it should cut its emissions the most?” In most G-7 countries including the U.S., more than 60 percent of respondents agreed.
Eldis, the online aggregator of development policy, practice and research at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, is conducting a survey to identify "the most significant new piece of development research of 2008." This strikes me as having roughly the same statistical validity as American Idol does for when it comes to finding new singing talent. Still, as with Idol and other talent shows, the entertainment value of a popularity contest is hard to dispute!
We are at the start of what promises to be an unusually difficult year in the global economy. Policy decisions in the United States and other rich world countries will matter immensely for poor and vulnerable people living in developing countries.
Last week the Center for Global Development hosted the third annual Richard H. Sabot Lecture to honor the memory of Dick Sabot, a development practitioner and scholar, and a founding member of CGD's board of directors (see our events page for photos and a trascript of the event). Lord Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and author of the Stern Review, spoke on "The Economics of a Global Deal on Climate Change."
This is a joint post with Arvind Subramanian
In a Q&A published today, CGD non-resident fellow Peter Timmer estimates that soaring global food prices and panicky starve-thy-neighbor rice export restrictions in Asia could lead to 10 million or more premature deaths in the region if the current high prices are passed along to poor rice consumers.
Politicians and protesters in Washington today for the first Climate Crisis Action Day would do well to remember that global institutions have a potentially valuable role to play in addressing global warming.
**This post is co-authored with CGD senior fellow David Wheeler
Today's Washington Post column by David Ignatius finally inches popular understanding in the U.S. a bit further in the right direction on why climate change could be so costly to human society. It isn't just the direct costs of seawalls and more destructive hurricanes that climate change will bring. It's the risk that institutional arrangements to deal with those costs will not be resilient and will collapse under the resulting pressure--so that, as Chinua Achebe suggested about post-colonial West Africa, things do literally "fall apart".