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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.
Congress has one more chance this week to do the right thing and pass the bilateral trade agreement with Colombia (as well as the one with Panama). The New York Times made the same argument in an editorial today, focusing on America's relations with Latin America and the blow to U.S. credibility around the world if it walks away from an agreement negotiated in good faith -- and then renegotiated to meet Democrats concerns in a number of areas after they captured Congress in 2006.
The US Senate last Thursday passed a temporary extension of programs providing preferential access to the US market for developing countries. This is better than letting these programs expire but not as good as putting them on a more permanent footing.
A subcommittee of the U.S. Congress has just approved a bill that would let modestly more foreign nurses work in the United States. New York Times reporters are concerned that measures like this, by encouraging movement of nurses out of developing countries that need them, could literally kill children.
The U.S. Congress launched a new bipartisan Caucus for Congressional-World Bank Dialogue at a packed event on Capitol Hill July 16. The caucus, co-chaired by Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Betty McCollum (D-MN), provides a forum for members of Congress to engage the World Bank, parliamentarians and policy experts on poverty reduction, global development and trade.
One of the great underexplored areas in economic development research is rigorous investigation of how bad leaders affect development. A series of actions by Robert Mugabe's regime have coincided with an epic collapse of Zimbabwe's economy, erasing half a century of income growth and bringing on four million percent inflation.
The House Financial Services Committee will consider new legislation this week that would contribute $400 million in FY2009 to a multilateral Clean Technology Fund (CTF), administered by the World Bank, to promote low-carbon energy production in developing countries. Scheduled for mark-up on Tuesday, H.R.
In today's Financial Times, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan makes a strong case for collective action on the situation in Zimbabwe. Mr Annan argues that "if the government, which many claim to be the author of violence, cannot ensure a fair vote, Africa must hold it accountable. The victor of an unfair vote must be under no illusions: he will neither have the legitimacy to govern, nor receive the support of the international community."