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.

 

A Win for India is a Win for the World: Why the United States Needs to Help India Clean up Its Coal

The Obama Administration has left an indelible impact on domestic energy policy and global climate policy. Policies driving technological innovation—in what critics have dubbed the “war on coal”—are helping the United States transition its energy system to one that is cleaner and more efficient. While the administration touts the growth of clean energy deployment in the United States at international fora, it should not limit its engagement with foreign countries on fossil energy—especially when the climate gains could be large. 

Oxfam America: Poor Countries Should Get to Sell the Remaining Fossil Fuels

Reducing fossil fuel emissions to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius or less means that a huge amount of proven fossil fuel reserves will need to stay in the ground.  A new Oxfam America Research Backgrounder by Professor Simon Caney of Oxford rightly proposes that, in considering which assets will be “stranded” (left in the ground), priority for extracting these fossil fuels should somehow be given to the poorest countries/people. But while poor countries should get priority when it comes to selling fossil fuels, when it comes to using them, they should be viewed as an energy source of last resort, after alternatives have been seriously explored.

My Top Three Videos about Energy and Development: Rosling, Gates, and Pritzker

Energy is a colossal development issue, touching on virtually every aspect of human progress from health and education to job and wealth creation. Modern energy access got its own Sustainable Development Goal (#7). Here are my three all-time favorite videos about the power unleashed by delivering energy to people—and what we can do about it.

US Holiday Lights Use More Electricity Than El Salvador Does In a Year

At this time of the year, sparkling trees and decorated lawns have taken over. A 2008 study from the US Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that decorative seasonal lights accounted for 6.6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity consumption every year in the United States. That’s just 0.2% of the country’s total electricity usage, but it could run 14 million refrigerators. It’s also more than the national electricity consumption of many developing countries, such as El Salvador, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nepal, or Cambodia.

Hydropower for Me but Not for Thee--with Two Postscripts

Summary: Senator Leahy (D, VT) represents a state which depends heavily on clean, cheap hydropower. His use of the budget bill to deny poor countries an opportunity to develop their hydropower resources leads to further erosion of global leadership by the United States and reinforces the need for BRICs Bank.

Seven Graphics that Explain Energy Poverty and How the US Can Do Much More

Energy poverty is an endemic and crippling problem; nearly 600 million people in Africa live without access to any power, which also means no access to safer and healthier electric cooking and heating, powered health centers and refrigerated medicines, light to study at night, or electricity to run a business.  Here’s the situation in the 6 countries chosen to be part of President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative, home to nearly 1/3 of the continent’s population. 

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