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The UN’s World Food Program now estimates that some three million Zimbabweans, or roughly one-quarter of the population, may require food aid this year. Zimbabwe is suffering from erratic rainfall this year, blamed in large part on the El Niño weather phenomena. An estimated 70% of Zimbabweans rely on agriculture, so the impact on poverty and human welfare will no doubt be severe. But in reading about Zimbabwe’s current predicament, something struck me: neighboring Zambia seems to have no urgent food aid requirements.
The great new frontier in the global fight against poverty is access to electricity. The UN has launched a campaign to provide energy for all and our friends at the ONE Campaign have issued an Energy Poverty Challenge (see Michael Elliott’s video here). According to ONE, some 70% of Africans don’t have access to modern energy.
Today Bloomberg News reports that Russia's national monopoly, Gazprom, has shut down all natural gas shipments to the Ukraine as part of an escalating price war that has created an energy crisis in Europe.
Yesterday, I spoke at the 2008 U.S.-Africa Infrastructure Conference, Connecting the Continent, organized by the Corporate Council on Africa. I spoke about the infrastructure constraints faced by the private sector in Africa, particuarly the lack of a reliable supply of electricity.
Once again the G8 has come up tragically short on climate change and a host of urgent problems affecting poor people in developing countries. The good news is that they are at least discussing the right topics. The first Hokkaido G8 document, on the World Economy spills lots of ink on relations between rich and developing economies, including for example, reaffirmation of support for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
In U.S. jurisprudence, the standard for conviction in a criminal proceeding is "beyond a reasonable doubt" -- at least 90% certain, in the conventional understanding. The prevailing standard in civil proceedings is the "preponderance of evidence" -- more likely true than not -- which implies greater than 50% likelihood.
Today the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the first part of its long-awaited Fourth Assessment Report. This is a major event, because the Report strengthens the scientific consensus about the threat from global warming if we don't curb greenhouse gas emissions.