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Science and Technology Development

Innovation in water, part 3: necessity is the mother of invention

Julia Bucknall's picture

 Futuristic water design that would provide water for food in the desert, featured in The Guardian in 2008. Photograph: Exploration Architecture.

“What are the new developments in water? Are there new technologies that developing countries could use to bypass expensive and cumbersome systems?  What’s the next big thing that could solve the water crisis?”  Politicians and the media often ask experts for new ideas to make water “interesting”.  Yet, on the whole, water systems constructed today use much of the same technology they did 100 years ago. 

To that ghost, I say Rest in Peace

Rachel Ilana Block's picture


Yesterday’s New York Times op-ed piece by Al Gore is well worth a read.  It’s one of those pieces where I found myself nodding along to the computer screen.  Gore helpfully cuts through to the heart of the supposed controversies about the climate science and within the climate science community. 

Photo © iStockphoto.com

His arguments echo what I heard at a recent seminar here at the Bank on the role and functioning of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the overblown reaction to mistakes that are real but which in no way alter the overwhelming majority of existing scientific findings about climate change.

During that seminar Kristie Ebi, Executive Director of the IPCC Technical Support Unit for Working Group ll (which authors the volume addressing physical and social impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation) for the next round of assessments coming out in 2013, carefully explained the extensive review process applied by the IPCC. 

Spending on pet food and energy R&D - not an apocryphal claim

Marianne Fay's picture

I had heard that the world spent less on energy R&D than on pet food, so I decided to check. Actually, it's worse than that.

   Photo © Sophielouise at Dreamstime

Worldwide energy R&D spending in 2007 was about $12 billion according to IEA statistics that we are reporting in the upcoming World Development Report.   I could not find what the world spends on pet food - so I looked up what happens in the US.  In 2005, Americans spent $34 billion on pet products, 41 percent (or $14 billion) of which was on food and treats.