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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. 

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.

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.

Risk of intensified storm surges: High stakes for developing countries

Susmita Dasgupta's picture
Flood Victims Wait for Relief
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.

Innovative Adaptation

Rosina Bierbaum's picture

co-authored with Arun Agrawal

Everyone agrees that innovation and its diffusion of innovations are key to managing climate change. Meeting the climate challenge in the coming decades will be fundamentally more difficult if we fail to come up with new, more cost-effective technologies.

But global efforts to innovate and share existing innovations fall woefully short of what is needed.

Nowhere is the gap between need and reality more glaring than for innovations related to adaptation. Members of climate change community who care about innovation have had their sights firmly fixed on technological innovations on the mitigation side: to reduce and capture emissions, to geo-engineer climate, to make energy use more efficient, to meet global energy needs through alternative and advanced renewable sources ... the list goes on.

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