Climate change: a generation-defining development challenge, or the flavor of the decade?

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ImageThis is an exciting time to be working on climate change, especially in the Bank.

Various conclusive reports and developments in 2007 (the 4th IPCC report, the Nobel Peace Prize, etc) placed the challenge of climate change firmly in the consciousness of the development community. Following on this, the Climate talks in Bali (December 3-14, 2007) confirmed the roadmap for a global effort at addressing the climate challenge, with an agreement on process that included all key players, notably the USA, in whatever emissions control regime was determined as appropriate after the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. This regime will be largely finalized, hopefully, by December 2009.

The Bank is moving actively to help and facilitate this process, and to support the four pillars emerging from Bali (adaptation to climate change, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, transfer of technology to facilitate this, and financing mechanisms to support the entire process).   We also see that major donor governments are asking the Bank to establish new financing mechanisms, and we are being challenged to lead on this ultimate development challenge of our times.

Late last year, the Bank's Board approved establishment of two new Funds to sustain the carbon market: the Carbon Partnership Facility and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. Every day in the Sustainable Development Network Week Program (a gathering of all Bank staff working on these issues) taking place this week, we see a strong climate agenda in the training capsule being offered, inviting staff to explore and understand the issues as they relate to various specific thematic sectors and to raise their game to meet these emerging development challenges.

Share your thinking on this. Is climate change here to stay as the key development challenge defining our generation and that of our children? Or is it just the flavor of the decade? Is this the right time for all this, or too early, or too late? Are we going too far, or not far enough?  Should we do different things, or are there things we should do differently?


Neeraj Prasad

Manager of the World Bank Institute's Climate Change team

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