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  • Author: Jonah Busch, Jens Engelmann
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: An area of tropical forest the size of India will be deforested in the next 35 years, burning through more than one-sixth of the remaining carbon that can be emitted if global warming is to be kept below 2 degrees Celsius (the “planetary carbon budget”), but many of these emissions could be cheaply avoided by putting a price on carbon.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Author: Devesh Kapur, Arjun Raychaudhuri
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Since their inception, through 2012, the institutions comprising the World Bank group have been involved in lending nearly a trillion dollars. In this paper, we focus on the IBRD, which is the core of the World Bank. The IBRD has the potential to continue to grow and be an important player in official financial flows, supporting critical long-term development projects with large social returns, in sectors ranging from infrastructure, social sectors, or environment.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment, Foreign Aid, Infrastructure, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jonah Busch, Kalifi Ferretti-Gallon
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We have constructed a comprehensive database of 117 spatially explicit econometric studies of deforestation published in peer-reviewed academic journals from 1996-2013. We present a metaanalysis of what drives deforestation and what stops it, based on the signs and significance of 5909 coefficients in 554 multivariate analyses. We find that forests are more likely to be cleared where economic returns to agriculture and pasture are higher, either due to more favorable climatological and topographic conditions, or due to lower costs of clearing forest and transporting products to market. Timber activity, land tenure security, and community demographics do not show a consistent association with either higher or lower deforestation. Population is consistently associated with greater deforestation, and poverty is consistently associated with lower deforestation, but in both cases endogeneity makes a causal link difficult to infer. Promising approaches for stopping deforestation include reducing the intrusion of road networks into remote forested areas; targeting protected areas to regions where forests face higher threat; tying rural income support to the maintenance of forest resources through payments for ecosystem services; and insulating the forest frontier from the price effects of demand for agricultural commodities.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Marigold Norman, Smita Nakhooda
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper presents a thorough synthesis of available data to illuminate the current global state of finance for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+). It adds to a growing body of work that seeks to understand the size and composition of finance for REDD+ initiatives, as well as the delivery of climate finance more generally. The analysis shows that aggregate pledges of both public and private finance are significant, at more than US $8.7 billion for the period between 2006 and March 2014, but the pace of new pledges slowed after 2010. The public sector contributes nearly 90% of reported REDD+ finance, with the preponderance of funding concentrated among a relatively small number of donors and recipient countries. The paper analyzes early experience with performance-based finance, although such finance represents less than two-fifths of pledges to date. The extent to which new institutions in the climate finance architecture such as the Green Climate Fund will provide a new and effective channel for increasing support for REDD+ remains to be seen.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, International Cooperation, Politics
  • Author: Katrina Mullan
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper assesses the scale of the potential co-benefits for residents of developing countries of protecting forest ecosystems in order to mitigate climate change. The objective is to improve understanding among development practitioners of the ways in which services provided by forest ecosystems can also make important contributions to achieving development objectives such as improvements to health and safety, and maintenance of food and energy security. This is achieved by reviewing empirical studies that estimate the value of specific ecosystem services derived from forests in order to evaluate and describe the current state of knowledge on how the wellbeing of local people is likely to be affected by the introduction of global mechanisms for avoided deforestation in developing countries. There are four main ways in which wellbeing can be affected: 1) forests provide soil protection and water regulation services, which in turn reduce waterborne diseases, maintain irrigation water supply, and mitigate risks of natural disaster; 2) forests provide habitat for birds, fish, mammals and insects that affect human health and income generation opportunities; 3) clearing forest through use of fire can lead to respiratory illness and property damage, particularly if the fires spread accidentally; and 4) tropical forests are particularly high in biodiversity, making them important locally as well as globally as a potential source of genetic material for new crop varieties and pharmaceuticals. Evidence on the size of these benefits suggests that while they are highly variable, households in or near forests and poor households benefit most from forest ecosystem services.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Water, Food
  • Author: Katrina Brandon
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Tropical forests exert a more profound influence on weather patterns, freshwater, natural disasters, biodiversity, food, and human health–both in the countries where forests are found and in distant countries–than any other terrestrial biome. This report explains the variety of environmental services tropical forests provide and the science underlying how forests provide these services. Tropical deforestation and degradation have reduced the area covered by tropical forests from 12 percent to less than 5 percent of Earth's land area. Forest loss and degradation has reduced or halted the flows of a wide range of ecosystem goods and services, increasing the vulnerability of potentially billions of people to a variety of damaging impacts. Established and emerging science findings suggest that we have substantially underestimated the global importance of tropical forests and the impacts of their loss on human well-being.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Natural Disasters, Natural Resources
  • Author: Kevin Ummel
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper describes the creation of a database providing estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) footprints for 6 million US households over the period 2008-2012. The database allows analysis of footprints for 52 types of consumption (e.g. electricity, gasoline, apparel, beef, air travel, etc.) within and across geographic regions as small as individual census tracts. Potential research applications with respect to carbon pricing and tax policy are discussed. Preliminary analysis reveals:
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Martin Persson, Sabine Henders, Thomas Kastner
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper aims to improve our understanding of how and where global supply-chains link consumers of agricultural and forest commodities across the world to forest destruction in tropical countries. A better understanding of these linkages can help inform and support the design of demand-side interventions to reduce tropical deforestation. To that end, we map the link between deforestation for four commodities (beef, soybeans, palm oil, and wood products) in eight case countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea) to consumption, through international trade. Although few, the studied countries comprise a large share of the internationally traded volumes of the analyzed commodities: 83% of beef and 99% of soybean exports from Latin America, 97% of global palm oil exports, and roughly half of (official) tropical wood products trade. The analysis covers the period 2000-2009. We find that roughly a third of tropical deforestation and associated carbon emissions (3.9 Mha and 1.7 GtCO2) in 2009 can be attributed to our four case commodities in our eight case countries. On average a third of analyzed deforestation was embodied in agricultural exports, mainly to the EU and China. However, in all countries but Bolivia and Brazil, export markets are dominant drivers of forest clearing for our case commodities. If one excludes Brazilian beef on average 57% of deforestation attributed to our case commodities was embodied in exports. The share of emissions that was embodied in exported commodities increased between 2000 and 2009 for every country in our study except Bolivia and Malaysia.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Malaysia, Brazil, Argentina, Latin America, Bolivia
  • Author: Rosa C. Goodman, Martin Herold
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Tropical forests have the highest carbon density and cover more land area than forests in any other biome. They also serve a vital role as a natural buffer to climate change ―capturing 2.2–2.7 Gt of carbon per year. Unfortunately, tropical forests, mangroves, and peatlands are also subjected to the highest levels of deforestation and account for nearly all net emissions from Forestry and Other Land Use (FOLU) (1.1–1.4 Gt C / year). Net emissions from FOLU accounted for only 11% of total anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions or 14% of total carbon emissions in 2010, though these figures are somewhat misleading and do not reflect the full potential of tropical forests to mitigate climate change. First, net FOLU emissions have reduced only slightly while emissions from all other sectors have skyrocketed. Secondly, the FOLU net flux is made up of two larger fluxes —deforestation emissions (2.6–2.8 Gt C / year) minus sequestration from forest regrowth (1.2–1.7 Gt C / year). Additionally, intact tropical forests also appear to be capturing at least 1.0 Gt C/ year. Gross deforestation, therefore, accounts for over a quarter of all carbon emissions, and tropical forests have removed 22–26% of all anthropogenic carbon emissions in the 2000s. If deforestation were halted entirely, forests were allowed to regrow, and mature forests were left undisturbed, tropical forests alone could have captured 25–35% of all other anthropogenic carbon emissions. On the other hand, if climate change continues unabated, forests could turn from net sinks to net sources of carbon. Forestrelated activities are among the most economically feasible and cost-effective mitigation strategies, which are important for both short- and long-term mitigation strategies. Action is needed immediately to utilize these natural mitigation solutions, and we need coordinated and comprehensive forest-related policies for mitigation. An international mechanism such as REDD+ is essential to realize the great natural potential for tropical forests to stabilize the climate.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Jesse Lueders, Cara Horowitz, Ann Carlson, Sean B. Hecht, Edward A. Parson
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: For the last several years, California has considered the idea of recognizing, within its greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, offsets generated by foreign states and provinces through reduced tropical forest destruction and degradation and related conservation and sustainability efforts, known as REDD+. During their deliberations on the issue, state policymakers have heard arguments from stakeholders in favor of crediting REDD+ offsets, and those against. After years of planning and cooperative efforts undertaken with states in Brazil, Mexico, and elsewhere, California is still determining whether to embrace REDD+ offsets. The most salient and potentially persuasive arguments in favor stem from the opportunity to influence and reduce international forest-related emissions contributing to climate change, while simultaneously reducing the costs imposed by the state's climate change law. The state is still grappling, however, with serious questions about the effectiveness of REDD+ in addressing climate change, as well as the impacts of REDD+ on other social and environmental objectives. The suitability of the state's cap-and-trade program as a tool for reducing emissions outside the state, given the co-benefits that accrue to local communities from in-state reductions, remains another key area of debate. The outcome of this policy discussion will depend on interrelated questions of program design, future offset supply and demand, and the weight given to the importance of prioritizing in-state emissions reductions and co-benefits.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil, California, Mexico
  • Author: Erlend A. T. Hermansen, Sjur Kasa
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Norway – a small northern country with only 5 million inhabitants – is at present a global leader in REDD+ financing. In this paper, we explain why and how this happened by telling the story about the emergence of Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) in 2007 and its institutionalization in the following years. We emphasize how a set of Norwegian climate policy characteristics prepared the ground for NICFI. These characteristics were the relative absence of less expensive potential emission cuts domestically, a tradition of seeking cheaper emission reduction options abroad, and few fiscal constraints due to high petroleum revenues. When the domestic demand for a more proactive climate policy started to increase from 2006 onward, two Norwegian environmental NGOs, The Rainforest Foundation Norway and Friends of the Earth Norway, exploited the window of opportunity that emerged from the tension between high domestic abatement costs and increasing domestic climate policy demands by proposing a large-scale Norwegian rainforest effort. This proposal resonated well with the new emphasis on reduced deforestation as a promising climate policy measure internationally. Towards the end of 2007, these ENGOs managed to convince a broad majority in Parliament that large-scale financing of measures to reduce deforestation globally should become an important part of Norwegian climate policy. Financing NICFI through the growth in the steadily increasing development aid budget dampened opposition from more fiscally conservative actors and facilitated the rapid set-up of a flexible implementing organization directly linked to some of the most proactive politicians. Several agreements with key rainforest countries were rapidly established, and including ENGOs in policy formulation and implementation helped maintaining the momentum and legitimacy for NICFI as a more permanent solution to Norway's climate policy dilemmas. NICFI's robustness and high level of legitimacy are illustrated by the fact that the initiative has survived the recent 2013 change of government quite intact. However, we also suggest that the long-time survival of the initiative may be dependent on the future of the UNFCCC process as well as the destiny of the national projects.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Europe, Norway
  • Author: Dean Karlan, Greg Fischer, Margaret McConnell, Pia Raffler
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In a field experiment in Uganda, we find that demand after a free distribution of three health products is lower than after a sale distribution. This contrasts with work on insecticide-treated bed nets, highlighting the importance of product characteristics in determining pricing policy. We put forward a model to illustrate the potential tension between two important factors, learning and anchoring, and then test this model with three products selected specifically for their variation in the scope for learning. We find the rank order of shifts in demand matches with the theoretical prediction, although the differences are not statistically significant.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Governance
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Jonah Busch, Scott J. Goetz, Matthew Hansen, Richard A. Houghton, Wayne Walker, Nadine Laporte
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper presents an overview of the state of measurement and monitoring capabilities for forests in the context of REDD+ needs, with a focus on what is currently possible, where improvements are needed, and what capabilities will be advanced in the near-term with new technologies already under development. We summarize the role of remote sensing (both satellite and aircraft) for observational monitoring of forests, including measuring changes in their current and past extent for setting baselines, their carbon stock density for estimating emissions in areas that are deforested or degraded, and their regrowth dynamics following disturbance. We emphasize the synergistic role of integrating field inventory measurements with remote sensing for best practices in monitoring, reporting and verification. We also address the potential of remote sensing for enforcing safeguards on conservation of natural forests and biodiversity. We argue that capabilities exist now to meet operational needs for REDD+ measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) and reference levels. For some other areas of importance for REDD+, such as safeguards for natural forests and biodiversity, monitoring capabilities are approaching operational in the near term. For all REDD+ needs, measurement capabilities will rapidly advance in the next few years as a result of new technology as well as advances in capacity building both within and outside of the tropical forest nations on which REDD+ is primarily focused.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Author: Kevin Ummel
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: South Africa and many other countries hope to aggressively expand wind and solar power (WSP) in coming decades. The challenge is to turn laudable aspirations into concrete plans that minimize costs, maximize benefits, and ensure reliability. Success hinges largely on the question of how and where to deploy intermittent WSP technologies. This study develops a 10-year database of expected hourly power generation for onshore wind, solar photovoltaic, and concentrating solar power technologies across South Africa. A simple power system model simulates the economic and environmental performance of different WSP spatial deployment strategies in 2040, while ensuring a minimum level of system reliability.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Jonah Busch
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: An international mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation using carbon payments (REDD+) can be leveraged to make payments for forests' biodiversity as well. Paradoxically, under conditions consistent with emerging REDD+ programs, money spent on a mixture of carbon payments and biodiversity payments has the potential to incentivize the provision of greater climate benefits than an equal amount of money spent only on carbon payments.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Environment, Biosecurity
  • Author: Alan Gelb, Kai Kaiser, Lorena Viñuela
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The paper considers the process of discovery for subsoil resources, including both hard minerals and hydrocarbons and estimates its magnitude in recent years, as derived from the sum of extraction and changes in proven reserves. Spurred on by technology change and strong market conditions, discovery has been substantial for most minerals. The value of discovered reserves is high relative to the costs of exploration, particularly when low social discount rates are used to value potential production in the future. Discovery is therefore valuable and should be considered as adding to national wealth through increases in proven reserves. Many countries can continue to generate resource rents far longer than indicated by current reserve estimates and this has implications for decisions on how to plan to spend or save rents. With the high response of discovery to prices and technology, environmental constraints (climate change, water) are more likely than the actual exhaustion of resource deposits to limit resource-based development. The divergence between private and social valuation of discoveries may also justify measures taken by countries to encourage exploration, including through the provision of geo-scientific data to increase interest in discovery as well as competition among mining companies. More information is needed on the payoff to such investments, some of which are supported by donors. However, exploration is, of course, only a slice of the resource value chain. Many countries will need to improve management along the entire chain if resource wealth is to benefit their development.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Natural Resources, Water
  • Author: David Wheeler, Robin Kraft, Dan Hammer
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This note introduces and illustrates fCPR (Forest Conservation Performance Rating), a system of color-coded ratings for tropical forest conservation performance that can be implemented for local areas, countries, regions, and the entire pan-tropics. The ratings reward tropical forest conservation in three dimensions: (1) exceeding expectations, given an area's forest clearing history and development status; (2) meeting or exceeding global REDD+ goals; and (3) achieving an immediate reduction in forest clearing. Green ratings are assigned to areas that meet condition (2); yellow to areas that meet (1) only; and red to countries that fail to meet either condition. We have developed fCPR at the Center for Global Development (CGD), using monthly forest clearing indicators from CGD's FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action). This first release rates the quarterly conservation performance of 27 countries currently tracked by FORMA, as well as 242 of their states and provinces that contain tropical forests. The 27 countries accounted for 94 percent of tropical forest clearing during the period 2000–2005. Future releases will include additional countries as FORMA begins tracking them.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Democratization, Development, Economics, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Author: Nigel Purvis, Abigail Jones
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Worldwide, about 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity (one in five people), while unreliable electricity networks serve another 1 billion people. Roughly 2.7 billion—about 40 percent of the global population—lack access to clean cooking fuels. Instead, dirty, sometimes scarce and expensive fuels such as kerosene, candles, wood, animal waste, and crop residues power the lives of the energy poor, who pay disproportionately high costs and receive very poor quality in return. More than 95 percent of the energy poor are either in sub-Saharan Africa or developing Asia, while 84 percent are in rural areas—the same regions that are the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Asia
  • Author: Kevin Ummel
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA) database provides information about the carbon dioxide emissions, electricity production, corporate ownership, and location of more than 60,000 power plants in over 200 countries. Originally launched in 2007, CARMA is provided freely to the public at www.carma. org and remains the only comprehensive data source of its kind. This paper documents the methodology underpinning CARMA v3.0, released in July, 2012. Comparison of CARMA model output with reported data highlights the general difficulty of precisely predicting annual electricity generation for a given plant and year. Estimating the rate at which a plant emits CO2 (per unit of electricity generated) generally faces fewer obstacles. Ultimately, greater disclosure of plant-specific data is needed to overcome these limitations, particularly in major emitting countries like China, Russia, and Japan. For any given plant in CARMA v3.0, it is estimated that the reported value is within 20 percent of the actual value in 85 percent of cases for CO2 intensity, 75 percent for annual CO2 emissions, and 45 percent for annual electricity generation. CARMA's prediction models are shown to offer significantly better estimates than more naïve approaches to estimating plant-specific performance.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Health, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China
  • Author: Michael D. Cooper
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Over the last decade, a series of devastating natural disasters have killed hundreds of thousands of people, displaced millions, and decimated the built environment across wide regions, shocking the public imagination and garnering unprecedented financial support for humanitarian relief efforts. Some suggest that disaster migration must be supported by the international community, first as an adaption strategy in response to climate-change, and second, as a matter of international protection.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Humanitarian Aid, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David Wheeler, Darius Nassiry
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Climate negotiators in Cancún reached agreement that long-term climate finance will include a commitment by developed countries to mobilize US$ 100 billion per year to help developing countries combat climate change. However, that level of investment will require substantial capital from private investors, particularly for innovation and commercialization. We propose a public-private green venture fund (GVF) to promote development and deployment of low-carbon technologies for developing countries. The GVF will use a fund of funds model backed by public "cornerstone" equity. In this paper, we propose a structure for the GVF and explain the design rationale, operating principles and key parameters for two funds of funds for technology innovation and deployment. We also highlight some key issues to be considered, including differential treatment of public and private investors and possible approaches to setting technology priorities.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment
  • Author: Nemat Shafik
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Development finance is at a turning point. There is talk about a "triple revolution of goals, actors and tools." As much of Asia grows its way out of poverty, aid will increasingly be focused on Africa and on countries plagued by instability, or with governments unable to meet the basic needs of their populations. A growing share of development finance will be directed to tackling global public goods-like climate change, conflict prevention, and public health. Responsibility for addressing global challenges will increasingly be borne by coalitions that cut across states, the private sector, and civil society. These networks to address poverty and global issues will become a feature of the international architecture in a multipolar world. The rules of the game and the tools of development assistance need to evolve to focus on transparency, results, accountability, a market-driven division of labor and flexible partnerships for the future development finance system to become an effective tool of global problem solving.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Climate Change, Development, Environment, Health
  • Author: David Wheelter, Saurabh Shome
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Until recently, India's intransigent negotiating posture has conveyed the impression that it will not accept any carbon emissions limits without full compensation and more stringent carbon limitation from rich countries. However, our assessment of India's proposed renewable energy standard (RES) indicates that this impression is simply wrong. India is seriously considering a goal of 15 percent renewable energy in its power mix by 2020, despite the absence of any meaningful international pressure to cut emissions, no guarantees of compensatory financing, and a continuing American failure to adopt stringent emissions limits. If India moves ahead with this plan, it will promote a massive shift of new power capacity toward renewables within a decade. We estimate the incremental cost of this change from coal-fired to renewable power to be about $50 billion-an enormous sum for a society that must still cope with widespread extreme poverty. If India moves ahead with its current plan, it should give serious pause to those who have resisted U.S. carbon regulation on the grounds on that it will confer a cost advantage on "intransigent" countries such as India.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States, America, India
  • Author: Joel E. Cohen
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This essay reviews some of the most important demographic trends expected to occur between 2010 and 2050, indicates some of their implications for economic and global development, and suggests some possible policies to respond these trends and implications. The interactions of population, economics, the environment, and culture are central. In the past decade, for the first time in history, old people outnumbered young people, urban people outnumbered rural people, and women of reduced fertility outnumbered women of high fertility. The century from 1950 to 2050 will have included the highest global population growth rate ever, the largest voluntary fall in the global population growth rate ever, and the most enormous shift ever in the demographic balance between the more developed regions of the world and the less developed ones. In the coming half century, according to most demographers, the world's population will grow older, larger (albeit more slowly), and more urban than in the 20th century, but with much variance within and across regions. No one knows what numbers and demographic characteristics of humans are sustainable, but it is clear that the prodigious stain of a billion or so chronically hungry people at present results from recent and ongoing collective human choices, not biophysical necessities. Concrete policy options to respond to demographic trends include providing universal primary and secondary education, particularly education for global and household civility; eliminating unmet needs for contraception and reproductive health; and implementing demographically sensitive urban planning, particularly construction for greater energy efficiency and friendliness to older people.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: Washington
  • Author: David Wheeler
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The failure of carbon regulation in the U.S. Congress has undermined international negotiations to reduce carbon emissions. The global stalemate has, in turn, increased the likelihood that vulnerable developing countries will be severely damaged by climate change. This paper asks why the tragic American impasse has occurred, while the EU has succeeded in implementing carbon regulation. Both cases have involved negotiations between relatively rich “Green” regions and relatively poor “Brown” (carbon-intensive) regions, with success contingent on two factors: the interregional disparity in carbon intensity, which proxies the extra mitigation cost burden for the Brown region, and the compensating incentives provided by the Green region. The European negotiation has succeeded because the interregional disparity in carbon intensity is relatively small, and the compensating incentive (EU membership for the Brown region) has been huge. In contrast, the U.S. negotiation has repeatedly failed because the interregional disparity in carbon intensity is huge, and the compensating incentives have been modest at best. The unsettling implication is that an EU-style arrangement is infeasible in the United States, so the Green states will have to find another path to serious carbon mitigation. One option is mitigation within their own boundaries, through clean technology subsidies or emissions regulation. The Green states have undertaken such measures, but potential free-riding by the Brown states and international competitors seems likely to limit this approach, and it would address only the modest Green-state portion of U.S. carbon emissions in any case. The second option is mobilization of the Green states' enormous market power through a carbon added tax (CAT). Rather than taxing carbon emissions at their points of production, a CAT taxes the carbon embodied in products at their points of consumption. For Green states, a CAT has four major advantages: It can be implemented unilaterally, state-by-state; it encourages clean production everywhere, by taxing carbon from all sources equally; it creates a market advantage for local producers, by taxing transport-related carbon emissions; and it offers fiscal flexibility, since it can either offset existing taxes or raise additional revenue.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Owen Barder
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: There is a healthy debate about how to achieve poverty reduction in developing countries, but not enough discussion of what we mean by “poverty reduction.” “Poverty reduction” is often used as a short-hand for promoting economic growth that will permanently lift as many people as possible over a poverty line. But there are many different objectives that are consistent with “poverty reduction,” and we have to make choices between them. There are trade-offs between tackling current and future poverty, between helping as many poor people as possible and focusing on those in chronic poverty, and between measures that tackle the causes of poverty and those which deal with the symptoms. Because donors focus on just one dimension of poverty reduction (growth) they marginalise other legitimate objectives such as reducing chronic poverty or providing social services in countries that cannot otherwise afford them.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Third World, Foreign Aid
  • Author: Jan von der Goltz
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Developing countries with large greenhouse gas emissions play a decisive role in negotiating a post-Kyoto climate agreement. No effective program to reduce global emissions is possible without their support. At the same time, developing countries face a delicate task in balancing their growing responsibility for a livable climate with the pursuit of continued economic development. This article discusses the negotiating positions major developing country emitters are taking on core issues. Among the most vital unsettled questions are burden sharing between developed and developing countries, the role of the market in the international climate architecture, as well as implementation arrangements. An annex discusses current mitigation policies of major developing country emitters, and argues that developing countries are already taking meaningful action to limit the growth of their greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Treaties and Agreements, Third World
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian, Aaditya Mattoo, Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, Jianwu He
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: There is growing clamor in industrial countries for additional border taxes on imports from countries with lower carbon prices. A key factor affecting the impact of these taxes is whether they are based on the carbon content of imports or the carbon content in domestic production. Our quantitative estimates suggest that the former action when applied to all merchandise imports would address competitiveness and environmental concerns in high income countries but with serious consequences for trading partners. For example, China's manufacturing exports would decline by one-fifth and those of all low- and middle-income countries by 8 percent; the corresponding declines in real income would be 3.7 percent and 2.4 percent. In contrast, border tax adjustment based on the carbon content in domestic production, especially if applied to both imports and exports, would broadly address the competitiveness concerns of producers in high income countries without seriously damaging developing-country trade. Therefore, as part of a comprehensive agreement on climate change, new WTO rules could be negotiated that would prohibit the extreme form of action while possibly allowing trade actions based on domestic carbon content as a safety valve.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Arvind Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The basic narrative on climate change between the rich and poor worlds has been problematic. The focus on emissions has made industrial countries inadequately sensitive to the unmet energy needs in developing countries. And it has led developing countries to adopt the rhetoric of recrimination and focus on the legacy of historical emissions by industrial countries. The ensuing blame game has led to the current gridlock. As a way out, we suggest some simple principles for determining equitable distribution of emission cuts between developed and developing countries to meet global targets. These principles emphasize basic energy needs and the equality of access to energy opportunities rather than emissions, taking account of development levels, as well as energy efficiency in creating such opportunities. To apply these principles, we develop a new data set to distinguish between energy needs and emissions-intensity for major developing and developed-country emitters and quantify the relationship between these variables and changes in income (or development). This quantification allows us to project emissions levels in 2050. Our main finding is that meeting global emissions targets equitably requires very large, probably revolutionary, improvements in the carbon intensity of production and consumption, much larger than seen historically. We conclude that a new shared narrative that places equality of energy opportunities at the forefront would naturally shift the focus of international cooperation from allocating emissions “rights” or reductions and blame to maximizing efforts to achieving technology gains and rapidly transferring them worldwide. Abandoning the setting of emissions targets for developing counries and creating instead a framework where all countries contribute to maximizing technology creation and diffusion is what Copenhagen should be about.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Treaties and Agreements
  • Author: David Wheeler
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: At the recent UN climate change conference in Bali, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for a revolutionary change in the world's energy mix to minimize the risk of catastrophic global heating. This paper explores the implications for the World Bank and other donor institutions, employing proposed Bank financing of the Mmamabula coal-fired power project in Botswana as an illustrative case. Using the latest estimates of generating costs for coal-fired and low-carbon power options, I compute the CO2 accounting charges that would promote switching to the low-carbon options. In all cases, I find that that the switching charges are at the low end of the range that is compatible with safe atmospheric limits on carbon loading. Among the low-carbon options that I have considered for Botswana, solar thermal power seems to dominate carbon capture and storage.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, Markets, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: David Wheeler, Kevin Ummel
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper provides a detailed description and assessment of CARMA (Carbon Monitoring for Action), a database that reports CO2 emissions from the power sector. We built CARMA to assist the millions of concerned global citizens who can act to reduce carbon emissions once they have timely, accurate information about emissions sources. CARMA also lays the groundwork for the global monitoring system that will be necessary to ensure the credibility of any post-Kyoto carbon emissions limitation agreement. CARMA focuses on the power sector because it is the largest carbon dioxide emitter (26% of the global total), and because power plants are much better-documented than many sources of carbon emissions. The CARMA database and website put anyone with web access a few keystrokes away from detailed knowledge about power plants and the companies that own and operate them. CARMA includes many aggregation tools, so it can be used for local, regional, national and international comparisons. The database also offers complete information about power plants and companies that do not emit carbon because they use non-fossil energy sources (nuclear, hydro, solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal, etc.). In this paper, we provide a description of CARMA's methodology, an assessment of its strengths and weaknesses, and some tests of its accuracy across countries and at different geographical scales. While CARMA performs well in these tests, we recognize that it is far from perfect. We therefore extend the following invitation to any power plant or company that disputes our estimates: Provide us with better data, verified by an appropriate third party, and we will incorporate them in CARMA.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment
  • Author: David Wheeler
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Among partisans of greenhouse gas emissions regulation, the Senate's failure to pass the Warner-Lieberman cap-and-trade bill is often attributed to rampant denial, fueled by diehard political conservatism, energy-company propaganda, and government suppression of evidence on global warming. If so, the solution to the problem is electoral change, exposure of the propaganda, and public education. However, public concern is already so widespread that even leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention have acknowledged the need for action. In this paper, I consider two additional forces that have stymied carbon emissions regulation in developing countries. The first is the perception that costly carbon regulation promoted by the rich will inflict an unjust burden on the poor. The second is hostility to taxation of critical fossil-fuel resources that were developed long before climate risk was identified. My econometric analysis suggests that these same forces have significantly affected senators' votes on Warner-Lieberman. By implication, Congress is not likely to approve cap-and-trade legislation unless Americans with below-median incomes are compensated for expected losses. My analysis supports recent proposals for direct distribution of emissions permit auction revenues to American families on an equal per-capita basis.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Government, Markets, Politics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Kimberly Elliott
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: While the precise contribution of biofuels to surging food prices is difficult to know, policies promoting production of the current generation of biofuels are not achieving their stated objectives of increased energy independence or reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Reaching the congressionally mandated goal of blending 15 billion gallons of renewable fuels in gasoline by 2015 would consume roughly 40 percent of the corn crop (based on recent production levels) while replacing just 7 percent of current gasoline consumption. Moreover, while it has long been known that the net energy and greenhouse gas emission benefits of corn-based ethanol are relatively small because its production is energy-intensive, recent scientific studies suggest that the current generation of biofuels, including biodiesel made from palm oil, soybeans, and rapeseed, as well as corn-based ethanol, actually add to greenhouse gas emissions relative to petroleum-based fuels when land use changes are taken into account. That is, greenhouse gases are released when forests are cut down or grasslands cleared to plant biofuels, or food is planted on new acreage to replace crops diverted to fuel elsewhere. In sum, the food crisis adds urgency to the need to change these policies but does not change the basic fact that there is little justification for the current set of policies.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Author: David Roodman
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Commitment to Development Index (CDI) ranks 21 of the world's richest countries on their dedication to policies that benefit the five billion people living in poorer nations. Moving beyond simple comparisons of foreign aid, the CDI ranks countries on seven themes: quantity and quality of foreign aid, openness to developing-country exports, policies that influence investment, migration policies, stewardship of the global environment, security policies and support for creation and dissemination of new technologies.
  • Topic: Environment, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, India, Asia, Brazil
  • Author: David Wheeler
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Among climate scientists, there is no longer any serious debate about whether greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are altering the earth' s climate. There is also a broad consensus on two issues related to reducing emissions. First, developing countries must be full participants in global emissions control, because they will be most heavily impacted by global warming, and because they are rapidly approaching parity with developed countries in the scale of their emissions. Second, efficient emissions control will require carbon pricing via market-based instruments (charges or cap-and-trade). These points of consensus are sufficient to establish a clear way forward, despite continued disagreements over the choice of specific instrument and the appropriate carbon charge level. Since all market-based systems that regulate emissions sources require the same emissions information, the international community should immediately establish an institution mandated to collect, verify and publicly disclose information about emissions from all significant global carbon sources. Its mandate should extend to best-practice estimation and disclosure of emissions sources in countries that initially refuse to participate. This institution will serve four purposes. First, it will lay the necessary foundation for implementing any market-based system of emissions source regulation. Second, it will provide an excellent credibility test, since a country's acceptance of full disclosure will signal its true willingness to participate in globally-efficient emissions reduction. Third, global public disclosure will itself reduce carbon emissions, by focusing stakeholder pressure on major emitters and providing reputational reward s for clean producers. Fourth, disclosure will make it very hard to cheat once market-based instruments are implemented. This will be essential for preserving the credibility of an international agreement to reduce emissions.
  • Topic: Environment, Industrial Policy, International Cooperation, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe