The death toll from Cyclone Idai that ripped into Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi in March 2019 is now above 1,000, with damages estimated at $2 billion. In 2018, more than 10,000 people lost their lives in disasters (with $225 billion of economic losses). Approximately 79 percent of fatalities occurred in the Asia Pacific region, including the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island. In fact,
Co-authored with Mik Schulte
I recently spent some time traveling around rural Tanzania, trying to better understand the way the communities, cities, and regions manage their water. As we departed from the last village, we handed out cookies to the children who had gathered to watch from a distance while we toured the farms. I can still picture the smallest boy when I gave him the last cookie; his eyes lit-up, convinced he was the luckiest of boys.
In this northern part of Tanzania, near the foothills of the famous Mount Kilimanjaro, the land is fertile and farming is productive and lucrative. However, water-related conflicts color the landscape, both among farmers and between sectors. Climate change is increasing aridity, which reduces the amount of water available for drinking, farming, and eventually, hydropower production. Rainfall is becoming ever more erratic and variable which forces farmers to make riskier planting decisions, and often decimates crops with unpredicted and unmanaged flood or drought. Farmers from other, more arid, regions are pressing in to farm the fertile northern plains. Water is already over-subscribed and farmers, their communities, and the cities and businesses on whom they depend are looking for ways to survive and thrive in this new reality.
“We need to see people cracking open this market like IFC did in 2013,” declared Sean Kidney, CEO of the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI). He was referring to IFC’s issuance of two $1 billion green bonds as he set the scene for announcing CBI’s 'Green Bond Development Bank of 2018' award to IFC at a ceremony on March 5, 2019. IFC was recognized for its trailblazing work as issuer, investor and technical advisor. IFC was also recognized for its partnership with Amundi in creating the Amundi Planet Emerging Green One Fund. This is focused on green bonds in emerging markets and is the largest green bond fund in the world.
Meera Shekhar served as Commissioner representing the World Bank Group on the Lancet Commission on Obesity
As climate change challenge continues to worsen, its impacts extend far beyond the extensive damage to the environment—it also has a direct effect on global health, including obesity and undernutrition.
Obesity, undernutrition and climate change have generally been viewed as separate concerns. But a new report released this week -- The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change: The Lancet Commission Report -- shows that these three interconnected agendas –termed a “syndemic” must be tackled together, with synergistic actions, to really create transformative and lasting change.
A massive storm system brought historic flooding across South Eastern Europe in 2014, causing more than $2 billion in damages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and shrinking Serbia’s economy by nearly a full percent. Two years later, in August 2016, thunderstorms in the Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia dropped 93 liters of precipitation per square meter in just a few hours, sparking flash floods in the capital, Skopje, that killed at least 21 people.
In both cases, some of these impacts could have been reduced by improving cross-border monitoring and forecasting while strengthening early warning services at a national level. Fortunately, governments are now working together to improve information exchanges across boundaries and strengthening regional early warning systems through the South-East European Multi-Hazard Early Warning Advisory System.
Read the Chinese version of this blog
Blogging from the Commemoration event for the 2018 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer in Beijing, China.
Have you suffered heat stress this summer? If not, you were lucky. Depending on where you live and how wealthy you are, a sweltering and humid couple of days can either be an opportunity to catch up with paperwork in an air-conditioned room, or they can literally mean the difference between life and death. Too much heat can kill you.
Photo: Tony Salas | Flickr Creative Commons
In my home state of California in the United States, major drought-fueled wildfires tore across the state in the latter half of 2017 setting records for both the state’s deadliest fire, as well as the largest fire. Wildfire season is back in 2018 with the most destructive year ever—currently more than 13,000 firefighters are battling 9 large blazes that have damaged or destroyed over 2,000 homes or buildings and scorched over 730,000 acres of land.
The Mendocino Complex fire in Northern California recently broke the state’s previous record for largest fire, spreading furiously due to heat, wind, and years of drought.
California’s Governor Jerry Brown said this is becoming the new normal…where fires threaten people’s lives, property, neighborhoods and, of course, billions and billions of dollars. Many point to climate change as the driver for weather conditions fueling most of the wildfires. July was the hottest on record for the state, and extreme weather is causing larger and more destructive fires across the whole western United States.
As the Global Environment Facility’s 6th Assembly welcomes over 1,000 delegates and heads of state in Vietnam this week, it seems like a good time to take a step back and consider how we are doing when it comes to environmental action and sustainability.
It is no secret that disruptive “technologies of tomorrow” are now regularly touted as a keystone to addressing a changing climate. A recent study by IFC shows that building on technological innovation, global markets for climate-smart business already exceed US $1 trillion in size in key industries ranging from energy storage and electric vehicles to green buildings and supply chain logistics. By scaling up business models relying on these technologies, developing countries can unlock trillions more in investment opportunities while promoting shared and sustainable economic prosperity.