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.
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.
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.
|Photo © Cammeraydave | Dreamstime.com|
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.
- Obama Looks to Protect Reefs From Souring Seas - Science - 4/15/09
- Archaeology: A New Look at the Mayas' End - Science - 4/24/09
- Atmospheric Science: Shifting Gear, Quickly - Science - 4/24/09
- Temperature sensitivity of drought-induced tree mortality portends increased regional die-off under global-change-type drought - PNAS - 4/29/09
- Changes in biogenic carbon flow in response to sea surface warming - PNAS - 4/29/09
- Time to act - Nature - 4/30/09
- Impact of historical land cover change on daily indices of climate extremes including droughts in eastern Australia - Gephysical Research Letters - 2009
- California in clean-fuel drive: State rule says biofuels aren't so green - Nature - 4/30/09
- Japan goes for the sun: Government pushes to regain national lead in solar-energy research - Nature - 4/30/09
- New UK coal must be partly 'clean' - Nature - 4/30/09
- Climate crunch: A burden beyond bearing - Nature - 4/30/09
- Climate crunch: Sucking it up - Nature - 4/30/09
- Overshoot, adapt and recover - Nature - 4/30/09
- The worst-case scenario - Nature - 4/30/09
- Climate change: Too much of a bad thing - Nature - 4/30/09
- Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2 °C - Nature - 4/30/09
- Warming caused by cumulative carbon emissions towards the trillionth tonne - Nature - 4/30/09
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.
- CLIMATE CHANGE: New Push Focuses on Quick Ways to Curb Global Warming - Science - 4/17/09
- Who Owns Energy Efficiency? - Science blog - 4/17/09
- SCIENCE AND GOVERNMENT: Governance and Environmental Change in the Arctic Ocean - Science - 4/17/09
- OCEANS: Limits to Marine Life - Science - 4/17/09
- Atlantic Forcing of Persistent Drought in West Africa - Science - 4/17/09
- More than hot air: The United States has finally acknowledged that global warming is a threat. It must now act on that. - Nature - 4/23/09
- Projected impacts of climate change on a continentwide protected area network - Ecology Letters- 3/09
- Climate response to regional radiative forcing during the twentieth century - Nature Geoscience - 3/09
- India's electioneers make bold pledges on science: Major parties back climate plan, but differ on nuclear policy. - Nature - 4/23/09
- Australia launches carbon capture institute - Nature - 4/23/09
- Final warning from a sceptical prophet - Nature - 4/23/09
- Global change: China at the carbon crossroads - Nature - 4/23/09
- The carbon balance of terrestrial ecosystems in China - Nature - 4/23/09
- Impact of changes in diffuse radiation on the global land carbon sink - Nature - 4/23/09
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.
- Global warming-enhanced stratification and mass mortality events in the Mediterranean - PNAS - 4/14/09
- Elevated CO2 stimulates marsh elevation gain, counterbalancing sea-level rise - PNAS - 4/14/09
- NASA ponders 'carbon copy' of crashed mission - Nature - 4/15/09
- Little progress seen at climate talks: Money and targets separate developed and developing countries. - Nature - 4/15/09
- Argentina's dengue-fever outbreak reaches capital - Nature - 4/15/09
|Photo © Syed Zakir Hossain/Greenpeace|
We are now faced with overwhelming scientific evidence that more intense storm surges and sea-level rise from climate change are serious global threats. Increased cyclonic activity and heightened storm surges are expected from the rise in sea surface temperature now observed at all latitudes and in all oceans. Even small changes in sea level profoundly affect storm surge height and the extent of flooding in coastal zones and adjoining low-lying areas. I think there is a dire need for greater disaster preparedness in countries vulnerable to such storm surges.