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Should South Africa tax carbon emissions?

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Since it is the poorest continent, produces less than 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and was not responsible for the build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere, there is a strong case that Africa should not have to constrain its growth by mitigating greenhouse gas emissions in the future.  The one exception may be South Africa, which produces 65 percent of Africa’s (and 1.5 percent of the world’s) emissions and, as a middle-income country, may have the capacity to curb emissions in the future.  In a recent paper, Delfin Go, Sherman Robinson, Karen Thierfelder and I explore the costs to the South African economy of a tax on carbon emissions. 

Agricultural trade, global warming, and development: Part 1 Can global warming thaw the Doha negotiations?

John Nash's picture

As we approach a critical phase in the negotiations regarding climate change, and continue to grope for a way forward in the Doha Round negotiations, it seems to me to be worth emphasizing the multi-faceted linkages between a liberalized trade regime and climate change. Some of these linkages have received fairly extensive attention.  For example, it is widely recognized that trade barriers to movement of low-carbon technology need to be kept low, and this is being addressed (although some might think inadequately) under the rubric “trade in environmental services” in the Doha Round negotiations. But other connections have received, IMHO, a level of attention that grossly undervalues their potential to contribute to objectives on either the trade side or the climate change side, or both. This is especially true in the realm of agriculture.

Lessons from not so long ago

Kavita Watsa's picture

Even in the frugal India of the 1970s, where the idea of waste bordered on the criminal, I thought my grandfather was being excessively old-fashioned when he refused to use our indoor water-heater to take a hot bath in the cooler months.

Lessons from not so long ago
Photo © Cammeraydave | Dreamstime.com
Although we could quite easily afford our modest electricity bills, he would insist on staggering outside with a bucket of water and leaving it to grow warm in the afternoon sunshine for a few hours. Then he would struggle back indoors with it, and, presently, emerge from his bath to take his evening walk down to the railway station to watch the trains go by. My granddad was eighty years old at the time: a man of many interests, but very few needs.

Was it really just three decades ago that my granddad’s carbon footprint was barely visible? Today, as part of my job at the World Bank, I’ve been following climate issues closely, and am often struck by the difference between life in a big western city in the 21st century and in the small-town India in which I grew up. In my world today, many people are beginning to adopt “carbon fasts” during the Christian period of Lent, agreeing to a daily low-carbon action, say, unscrewing a light bulb and doing without it for 40 days. But in the small-town India of my childhood, my grandfather wouldn’t have installed—much less used—an electric light, unless he really needed it to begin with. 

Weekly news update on climate change: May 1

Trade and Climate Change: Challenges and opportunities for developing countries

Muthukumara Mani's picture

Interaction between trade and climate change regimes has received much attention lately. While I can think of a number of “climate-positive” reasons for exploring synergies between the two regimes and for aligning policies that could stimulate production, trade, and investment in cleaner technology options, much of focus instead has been on using trade measures as weapons in the global climate negotiations.  This stems mainly from competitiveness concerns in countries that are now racing to reduce GHG emissions to meet Kyoto 2012 targets and beyond and in the US primarily to allay domestic fears of a tightening climate regime. These concerns have led to proposals for tariff or border tax adjustments to offset any adverse impact of capping CO2 emissions. This also has roots in the fear of leakage of carbon-intensive industries such as steel and chemicals to non-implementing countries.

Weekly news update on climate change: April 24

Sandy Chang's picture

Development Marketplace seeks volunteers to help assess innovative climate change ideas

Rasmus Heltberg's picture

Development Marketplace (DM) is a competitive grants program administered by the World Bank that identifies and funds innovative, early-stage projects that deliver results and have a high potential for scale-up.

This year's global competition on Climate Adaptation (DM 2009) focuses on (i) Resilience of Indigenous People's Communities to Climate Risks; (ii) Climate Risk Management with Multiple Benefits; and (iii) Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management.

For every annual DM global competition, over 200 assessors (including some World Bank staff) volunteer to review proposals and select finalists. We are seeking development professionals with expertise in climate change adaptation to help identify the 100 finalists. Assessors commit to volunteer approximately 5-7 hours between June 4-10, 2009 to review 30-40 proposals  and submit online the ranking of their top eight most innovative proposals.

Weekly news update: April 17

Sandy Chang's picture

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