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January 2009

It's the model, stupid!

Marianne Fay's picture

“The essential problem is that our models – both risk models and econometric models – as complex as they have become, are still too simple to capture the full array of governing variables that drive global economic reality.[...] But risk management can never reach perfection. It will eventually fail and a disturbing reality will be laid bare, prompting an unexpected and sharp discontinuous response..”   Alan Greenspan, former Governor of the US Federal Reserve, writing in the "Opinion" column of the FTMarch 16 2008.

In my backyard, or not—but is that really the question?

Andrea Liverani's picture
In my backyard, or not—but is that really the question?
   Photo © World Bank

For years scientists have argued that in order to grab the public’s attention to global warming, citizens must be told how the towns, regions and communities in which they and their children live will be affected. Information on local level impacts – the argument runs – makes climate change “real” and should therefore be the cornerstone of public support for mitigation.

Cities on the rise?

Alexander Lotsch's picture

The developing world is rapidly urbanizing, as a previous World Development Report noted. Low and middle-income nations are home to three quarters of the world’s urban population. Urban areas are likely to absorb almost all of the world’s population increase over the next two decades. The most populous urban areas tend to concentrate in coastal zones--China and India alone have more than a quarter of the world’s urban population and the world’s largest population living in low-lying coastal zones. Even Africa, generally considered a rural continent, has two-fifths of its population in urban areas, and a large concentration of coastal cities.

Innovative adaptation goes beyond “good development”

Nate Engle's picture

Innovative adaptation goes beyond good development

   Photo © Scott Wallace/World Bank

Adaptation involves both preparations and responses to climate change impacts. But how does it differ from simply carrying out "good development"? In many ways, adaptation is good development, at least up to a certain degree of climate change. Sustainable development, if achieved, makes society more resilient to climate stresses and better able to respond to climate impacts. However, one of the main arguments we will make in the next World Development Report is that climate change will challenge the current development paradigm.