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.

 

Making US Agricultural Policy More Efficient, Effective, and Fair

The United States is a major player in global agricultural markets. American farmers account for around 25 percent of world exports of wheat and corn, and are also among the largest producers and exporters of beef, pork, and poultry. This success is partly the result of those farmers having access to abundant land, deep financial markets, and modern technologies. But as I explore in my new book, Global Agriculture and the American Farmer: Opportunities for U.S. Leadership, it is also the result of government policies that distort markets and undermine the provision of global public goods. The poor in developing countries are particularly vulnerable to the negative spillovers of these policies.

Are India’s Government-subsidized Solar Shops Thriving or Barely Surviving?

We present results below from a survey of shop owners who are part of the Indian government’s Akshay Urja Solar Shops program. To our knowledge, the Akshay Urja program has not previously been evaluated. These results build on a case study featured in an upcoming CGD policy paper on clean energy access entitled, “Financing for Whom by Whom? Complexities of Advancing Energy Access in India.”

For a Clean Energy Breakthrough to Save the Planet, It Cannot Forget the Developing World

Most people accept that we will only achieve sustainable energy patterns with a substantial investment in research and development, but where the research will take place and where energy will be consumed doesn’t necessarily match up. Within 25 years, non-OECD countries will account for two-thirds of global energy consumption. To that end, the climate and energy challenge is primarily about finding ways to bring clean energy to Rio and Lagos, not to San Francisco or Berlin. 

Three Energy Hopes for the G-20

“Energy Sustainability” is high on the agenda for the G-20 meeting in Antalya, Turkey, next week. In practice, this means the governments of the world’s leading economies will pledge to continue the laudable goals of phasing out inefficient subsides and boosting energy efficiency. But the meatier agenda is two wonkier research items. According to the Turkish presidency priorities communiqué (PDF), the G-20 will “study the reasons behind the high cost of renewable energy investment and examine the deployment of public and private resources to fulfill the need for energy investment.”

DFID’s “Energy Africa” Campaign Launch: Three Fast Facts, One Bad Idea, and at Least One Way Forward

On Monday, Grant Shapps, the UK's Minister of State at the Department for International Development, kicked off DFID’s Energy Africa campaign at an event hosted by the Shell Foundation designed to help his team figure out how the UK government can invest its political clout and an initial £30 million ($46 million) to tackle rural energy poverty in Africa. Given solar’s limitations and these risks, how can we make sure that Energy Africa fulfils Minister Shapps’s ambitious brief?

NASCAR, Race Horses, and Tropical Deforestation? What Congress Could Do (Again) With Our Tax Dollars

I’ll admit that I’m not a Nascar fan, and I only watch horse racing during the Triple Crown (usually only the first two legs). But I am a big baseball fan and I still don’t think that my taxpayer dollars should be used to subsidize the building of fancy new stadiums, any more than they should be used to support race tracks or race horses. But what really disturbs me is that, with almost no scrutiny, my taxpayer dollars and yours might end up contributing to tropical deforestation and climate change.

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