CGD Policy Blogs

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FY2016 Omnibus – Naughty or Nice?

While you might not know it from the weather, there’s at least one sure sign it’s December in DC. No, we’re not referring to the oversized and ornamented evergreens on the Capitol and White House lawns, but to the recent mad dash by Congress to wrap up remaining legislative business before the end of session. Despite a year marked by bitter partisanship, Congress managed to arrive at an agreement to fund the federal government through the rest of FY2016.

WTO Members Avoid Failure in Nairobi, But Future Still Uncertain

Trade ministers, while attending the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Nairobi, again managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat. Faced with the prospect of complete failure, ministers worked overtime to cobble together a package of mostly small, symbolic agreements at the WTO’s Tenth Ministerial Conference. While the outcome is not being greeted with the same dismay, Nairobi looks more like the Copenhagen summit on climate change than the recent session in Paris, which managed to bridge North-South differences.

Saving Forests in Paris: Breakthrough for REDD+?

The historic UN “Paris Agreement” achieved by climate change negotiators highlighted the importance of conserving forests and laid the groundwork for future global carbon markets to finance emissions reductions from tropical forest countries.  But a full-fledged carbon market-based mechanism to protect forests and reduce rampant deforestation is still years down the road.  In the meantime, reducing emissions from deforestation will continue to depend on a medley of public and private financing appr

The Paris Climate Agreement Feels Historic, but the Sustainable Development Goals Don’t. Why?

There were two major gatherings of global leaders this year – in New York for the UN General Assembly and in Paris for the climate talks.  In some ways, the agreements that came out of both meetings look similar.  The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a bunch of aspirational targets for national and global progress without any legal authority, some of which look simply implausible without truly revolutionary global policy change of which there is little sign to date.  Paris

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.

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