Monday, April 21, 2014
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Global investment in renewables fell by 14% during 2013, but the percentage of electricity generated by renewable sources still grew, a report shows.
It said investment fell for the second year in a row because of cheaper technology, but also as a result of uncertainty surrounding energy policy.
However, falling costs meant renewables accounted for 8.5% of the global electricity mix, up from 7.8% in 2012.
See full Article: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26923260
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Reducing pollution from cars has been cheaper and easier than UN experts thought, a draft report says.
The UN's climate panel has admitted it underestimated the huge gains in weight and fuel efficiency achieved by car manufacturers.
But the panel says all the improvements will be swamped by the future growth in global traffic.
See full Article: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26955982
Friday, April 18, 2014
News - Speeches and opinion - Towards a corruption-free Caribbean: ethics, values, trust and morality
Excellency, Honourable members of government, ladies and gentlemen
It is a great pleasure for me to be here today. I would like to congratulate the University College of the Cayman Islands to host this most important conference and to recognise the sponsors supporting it.
While our globalised world seems to turn in a constant series of crises evolving in real-time on the internet and 24-hour news, it is important that we take the time at this important conference to consider the underlying issues that are at stake. Corruption being one of the major contributor. And what can be done to prevent and treat this disease?
This conference is an opportunity to better understand how leaders, managers and those who deliver services to our people can anchor their work on a strong set of ethical values. This applies to the public and private sector but starts with individuals.
See full Speech transcript: News - Speeches and opinion - Towards a corruption-free Caribbean: ethics, values, trust and morality
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Wild weather and unpredictable seasons are changing what farmers can grow and is making people hungry. Food prices are going up. Food quality is going down. Soon, climate change will affect what all of us can eat.
That’s why we’re calling on governments and big businesses to stop climate change making people hungry – and why we need you to take action.
Join us and people around the world as we demand action from governments and big businesses to cut emissions, to help farmers deal with changing weather and make sure there’s enough good food for us all.
- See more at: http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/food-climate-justice#sthash.4NjQTkt4.dpuf
See full Press Release: http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/food-climate-justice
El mundo necesita un plan B porque los responsables políticos no están reduciendo las emisiones de carbono. Así lo considera un informe de Naciones Unidas.
Por primera vez, el Panel Intergubernamental sobre Cambio Climático (IPCC, por sus siglas en inglés) parece asumir un discurso más realista y admite que es necesario pensar en cómo mitigar la acumulación atmosférica de gases de efecto invernadero.
Según el panel de expertos, si los gobiernos sobrepasan por mucho sus metas a corto plazo, tendrán que reducir el CO2 incluso más rápido en la segunda mitad del siglo para que el cambio climático no se vaya de las manos.
Ver Artículo completo: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/noticias/2014/04/140408_ciencia_ipcc_como_mitigar_cambio_climatico_np.shtml
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Traffic jams, smog, litter-strewn streets. City life can be hard at the best of times, and with the United Nations predicting that the number of city dwellers will reach 6.25 billion by 2050, the challenge to develop sustainable, livable and green cities is perhaps greater than ever before.
In 2011, the UN released research which reported that, 'the world's cities [are] responsible for up to 70 percent of harmful greenhouse gases while occupying just two percent of its land'.
See full Article: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101552198
Climate change is coming and will touch every part of the world, the United Nations has warned, adding that few places are prepared for the impact of extreme weather.
The latest report from the influential Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released Monday, is a stern threat about the hazards of ignoring changes to the world's climate by the use of fossil fuels.
See full Article: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101538234
Oxfam warns that in spite of the advances made in the last decade, Latin America and the Caribbean remains the region of highest wealth inequality in the world. Its elites continue to accumulate extreme wealth and excessive power.
Oxfam´s briefing report Latin America and the Caribbean: kingdom of the elites, presented today at the World Economic Forum in Panama City, states that in spite of the documented decrease in inequality in the last 10 years, Latin America and the Caribbean is still the world´s most iniquitous region. Some of its countries have income disparities only comparable to nations in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.
The briefing states that while the richest people in Latin America receive almost 50% (on average) of the region´s total income, the poorest only receive 5%. In other words, while 164 million people live in poverty (66 million of them in extreme poverty), 113 Latin Americans are on the list of the world´s billionaires (65 Brazilians, 16 Mexicans, 12 Chileans, 8 Peruvians, 5 Argentineans, 4 Colombians and 3 Venezuelans).
See full Press Release: http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2014-04-02/annual-income-113-richest-people-latin-america-could-bring-25-million-out-of-poverty
Monday, April 14, 2014
Today we are launching a new report, ‘Working for the Many: Public Services Fight Inequality.’ This is the next in Oxfam’s series of reports looking at the scandalous gap between rich and poor that is undermining poverty reduction, and putting the power increasingly in the hands of elites the world over.
So why have I spent the last few months immersed in ‘benefit incidence’ studies? No, not just because I am a sucker for punishment, but because there is such a strong case to be made for free public services as a weapon in the fight against extreme inequality. And now is the time to make it.
So if you are not convinced that you should read this paper – let me give you three killer reasons to do so:
See full Press Release: http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-04-03-free-public-services-3-reasons-read-about-1-easy-solution-extreme-inequality
In the EU28, 492 kg of municipal waste was generated per person in 2012, while 480 kg of municipal waste was treated per person. This municipal waste was treated in different ways:
- 34% was landfilled
- 24% incinerated
- 27% recycled
- 15% composted
Sunday, April 13, 2014
The evidence is clear: Strong development and the achievement of women’s rights are intrinsically bound — in everything from economic growth, access to education, food and health security to the environment, peace‐building and good governance.
Yet of the people who live in extreme poverty around the world, most are women. Women do two-thirds of the world’s work and produce half of the world’s food. They earn only 10 percent of the world’s income, and too often don’t have enough to eat.
Today, one in five parliamentarians worldwide is a woman — almost double the proportion in parliaments 20 years ago. This is good progress — thanks in large part to the work of women’s movements and women’s rights activists — but at this pace of change it would take nearly 40 years to arrive at gender parity in parliaments.
See full Press Release: http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-03-31-how-can-we-help-create-more-women-leaders
In the battle against natural disasters, forward-thinking macroeconomic policy can help countries prepare for and mitigate the eventual blow
IMAGES of destruction and grief following Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in November 2013, are still fresh in our minds. They summon up similar scenes of devastation following the great south Asian tsunami of 2004 and Hurricane Katrina, which hit the United States in 2005. And the damages are not limited to immediate effects.
The New York Times ran a heartbreaking front-page story in November 2013, describing the plight of a young man in the Philippines who sustained a simple leg fracture after Typhoon Haiyan (Bradsher, 2013). He lay on a gurney in a makeshift hospital, surrounded by his children, for five days awaiting treatment, only to die from an infection.
Not surprisingly, disasters have long-lasting psychological consequences. In addition to the immediate direct human cost, natural disasters often exacerbate poverty and undermine social welfare. Developing economies—and their most vulnerable populations—are especially at risk.
See full Article: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2014/03/laframboise.htm
This article provides an overview of statistical data on sustainable development in the areas of socioeconomic development. They are based on the set of sustainable development indicators the European Union (EU) agreed upon for monitoring its sustainable development strategy. Together with similar indicators for other areas, they make up the report 'Sustainable development in the European Union - 2013 monitoring report of the EU sustainable development strategy', which Eurostat draws up every two years to provide an objective statistical picture of progress towards the goals and objectives set by the EU sustainable development strategy and which underpins the European Commission’s report on its implementation.
The table below summarises the state of affairs of in the area of socioeconomic development. Quantitative rules applied consistently across indicators, and visualised through weather symbols, provide a relative assessment of whether Europe is moving in the right direction, and at a sufficient pace, given the objectives and targets defined in the strategy.
See page: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Sustainable_development_-_socioeconomic_development
IPCC Report: A changing climate creates pervasive risks but opportunities exist for effective responses
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report today that says the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans. The world, in many cases, is ill-prepared for risks from a changing climate. The report also concludes that there are opportunities to respond to such risks, though the risks will be difficult to manage with high levels of warming.
The report, titled Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, from Working Group II of the IPCC, details the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks. A total of 309 coordinating lead authors, lead authors, and review editors, drawn from 70 countries, were selected to produce the
report. They enlisted the help of 436 contributing authors, and a total of 1,729 expert and government reviewers.
The report concludes that responding to climate change involves making choices about risks in a changing world. The nature of the risks of climate change is increasingly clear, though climate change will also continue to produce surprises. The report identifies vulnerable people, industries, and ecosystems around the world. It finds that risk from a changing climate comes from vulnerability (lack of preparedness) and exposure (people or assets in harm’s way) overlapping with hazards (triggering climate events or trends). Each of these three components can be a target for smart actions to decrease risk.
See full Press Release, in pdf format: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ar5/pr_wg2/140330_pr_wgII_spm_en.pdf
Saturday, April 12, 2014
How badly will global warming hurt the world economy? The answer in yesterday's new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is clear. Depending on the assumptions, er… uh, carry the four… add the pure rate of time preference… hmmmm, we can't say without caveats.
"Different economies will be affected differently," the report states.
Even if there was an aggregate number that economists and scientists stood behind without hemming and hawing, it wouldn’t be practical. Companies and governments couldn’t just take a global GDP loss projection and plug it into their planning curves and cost-benefit analyses. (There is a number in the report, but hemming and hawing about it, too.)
See full Article: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-01/the-scientists-don-t-really-know-the-effect-of-climate-on-gdp-and-that-s-okay.html
Today leading international experts on climate change, the IPCC, presented their latest report on the impacts of climate change on humanity, and what we can do about it. It’s a lengthy report, so we’ve boiled it down to Oxfam's five key takeaways on climate change and hunger.
1. Climate change: the impacts on crops are worse than we thought.
Climate change has already meant declines in global yields of staple crops, and it is set to get worse.
Not so long ago, some people suggested crops could actually grow better because of climate change. Not any more. The IPCC is clear that we are already seeing the effect of climate change on food production. That will come as no surprise to farmers like Vladimir or Auntie Jacoba. But what is more striking is that the IPCC finds that climate change has meant significant declines not just in some areas in developing countries, but in aggregate global yields for staple crops like wheat and maize. Harvests will continue to be hit hard in the future, both in developing countries and in major crop exporters, at the same time as demand for crops is expected to rise rapidly. That doesn't add up to a more food secure future for our planet.
See full Press Release: http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-03-31-5-critical-things-we-learned-latest-ipcc-report-climate-change
India may upgrade nationwide fuel standards to eliminate cancer-causing particle emissions from vehicular exhaust by 2021, nine years behind other developing countries such as Turkey and Brazil.
India’s pumps may start selling fuels of the same quality sold in Europe by April 2021, according to a draft copy of recommendations by the oil ministry’s auto fuel policy panel, obtained by Bloomberg News. The deadline is contingent on state-run refiners such as Indian Oil Corp. (IOCL) getting the funds needed to upgrade their facilities, according to the draft.
“There are real constraints,” to upgrading emission standards, said Saumitra Chaudhuri, head of the panel and a member of India’s Planning Commission that formulates five-year economic plans, adding that the recommendations are a working draft and not meant to be public yet. “Our refiners are not the most profitable in the world.”
See full Article: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-01/india-mulls-fuel-standards-lagging-brazil-as-cities-choke.html
Friday, April 11, 2014
An urgent need for job growth is spurring an innovative trend in CSR and high-minded commercial initiatives.
In most developed nations, corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives center on issues such as environmental sustainability, alternative energy, clean technology, and social welfare. Driving these activities, more often than not, is a company’s desire to appeal to strong consumer sentiment.
But in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), CSR is becoming something fundamentally different. It is focusing less on catering to consumer attitudes, and more on addressing social and economic challenges that are hindering development, most notably the shortage of jobs.
See full Article: http://www.strategy-business.com/article/00241?gko=20aae
Innovation often comes from having an eclectic approach. It’s less about expertise and more about minds that can think through details while focusing on the bigger picture. It’s about having an aptitude for both the qualitative and the quantitative. It’s also about the ability to mesh a wild idea with reality, and the fortitude to bring it to market.
- Strategic imagination: the ability to dream with purpose and generate new ideas.
- Provocative inquiry: the knack for asking smart and unsettling questions.
- Creative problem solving: the application of best practices from diverse sources to create fresh solutions.
- Agility: the ability to adapt and be resourceful in unanticipated situations.
- Resilience: a track record of tenacity and courage in the face of obstacles.
- Strategic Imagination
- Provocative Inquiry
- Creative Problem-Solving
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Many years ago in Bangkok, on my first World Bank mission, I made an error in judgment by taking a Tuk-Tuk, the ubiquitous three-wheeled "golf cart" taxi, in order to experience local transit patterns in a more intimate manner. At least that's how I retroactively justified what was nearly a fatal decision as the driver weaved in-between two buses which narrowly avoided squashing the tiny vehicle. What struck me more than anything at that time were the overall chaos of the transit system and the lack of safe mobility, unfortunately both quite common in a majority of low and middle-income countries which shoulder 90% of the world's road crashes.
In this context, and to better assist countries achieve safer and cleaner mobility, the World Bank, in partnership with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), has issued a new report: Transport for Health: The Global Burden of Disease from Motorized Road Transport. The IHME is the home of the Global Burden of Disease study, widely considered among the preeminent global health metrics publications.
The Transport for Health report, for the first time, quantifies the global health loss from injuries and air pollution that can be attributed to motorized road transport. The results are stark and call for immediate action: deaths from road transport exceed those from HIV, tuberculosis, or malaria; together, road injuries and pollution from vehicles contribute to six of the top 10 causes of death globally. Moreover, road injuries are among the top-10 causes of death among women of childbearing age and the fourth leading cause among women aged 15-29.
See full Article: http://blogs.worldbank.org/transport/global-check-we-need-safer-and-cleaner-mobility
With its scenarios of increasing risks as a result of climate change – from sea level rise to disappearing fish populations, food insecurity, and forest diebacks from extreme heat – the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) paints a picture of a complicated future where no one gets by unscathed, where existing vulnerabilities are exacerbated, and where, as Fred Pearce so aptly puts it, we need to “prepare for the worst.”
But, as the scientists rightly point out, it doesn’t have to be like this.
Climate change, the report concludes, is a challenge in managing risks and planning under increased uncertainty. It says the effects of climate change that have already occurred are widespread and “consequential”. Its emphasis on risk makes plain that the world is largely ill-prepared for climate risks.
See full Press Release: http://blogs.worldbank.org/voices/climate-action-now-building-scalable-solutions
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warns of growing risks to global food security from climate change. In a new blog post, World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change Rachel Kyte writes that the future doesn’t have to be like this, that we can take action now. She points to opportunities for scalable climate-smart agriculture solutions.
See full Details: http://blogs.worldbank.org/climatechange/world-bank-vp-rachel-kyte-climate-action-now-building-scalable-solutions
“This insect seems insignificant, and yet it has the highest protein content of all foods in Burkina Faso,” maintains Kahitouo Hien, an agrochemist and founder of FasoPro, a startup that uses shea caterpillars to develop nutritional products. This young man is convinced that the “chitoumou” (shea caterpillar in the Dioula language) can play a key role in combating malnutrition, a scourge that continues to wreak havoc in Burkina Faso.
See full Press Release: http://blogs.worldbank.org/youthink/young-african-entrepreneur-invests-shea-caterpillars-fight-malnutrition
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
In an earlier blog post, we commented on the sources of corruption, the factors that have turned it into a powerful obstacle to sustainable economic development. We noted that the presence of dysfunctional and onerous regulations and poorly formulated policies, often created incentives for individuals and businesses to short-circuit them through the paying of bribes. We now turn to the consequences of corruption, to better understand why it is a destroyer of human prosperity.
First, corruption undermines government revenue and, therefore, limits the ability of the government to invest in productivity-enhancing areas. Where corruption is endemic, individuals will view paying taxes as a questionable business proposition. There is a delicate tension between the government in its role as tax collector and the business community and individuals as tax payers. The system works reasonably well when those who pay taxes feel that there is a good chance that they will see a future payoff, such as improvements in the country’s infrastructure, better schools and a better-trained and healthier workforce. Corruption sabotages this implicit contract. When corruption is allowed to flourish taxpayers will feel justified in finding creative ways to avoid paying taxes or, worse, become bribers themselves.
See full Article: http://blogs.worldbank.org/futuredevelopment/nine-reasons-why-corruption-destroyer-human-prosperity
Change cannot come soon enough for women in developing countries, who often face economic exclusion and legal discrimination. But it is equally critical for economies seeking to grow. IFC has worked across many developing countries to strengthen women’s education, rights, health, and access to the workforce. This is not just a moral imperative. It’s also good economics.
See full Press Release: http://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/corp_ext_content/ifc_external_corporate_site/ifc+news/news/privatesectorsolutionsgfordevelopment/featurestory_win
IFC puts a priority on renewable energy—focusing on first-of-a-kind projects that demonstrate technical feasibility, attract additional private financing, and encourage key policy reforms.
In addition to financing climate-smart infrastructure projects directly, we also support local financial institutions active in the sustainable energy market. IFC’s customized lending and advisory services packages help these clients build profitable new lines of business, leveraging domestic resources that would otherwise be unavailable for clean energy financing. Together, this combination helps increase the private sector’s role as part of the World Bank Group's strategy for the fight against climate change.
See full Press Release: http://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/corp_ext_content/ifc_external_corporate_site/ifc+news/news/featurestory_renewableenergy
Monday, April 07, 2014
Dice que el 95% del cambio se debe a la actividad humana
Insta a tomar medidas como reducir los gases de efecto invernadero
El Panel Intergubernamental de la ONU sobre Cambio Climático (IPCC) alertó este lunes sobre el mayor riesgo de sequías, inundaciones e incendios forestales en Europa debido a los efectos del cambio climático tanto a corto como a medio plazo.
Así lo concluye el informe presentado este lunes en Yokohama (sur de Tokio) y elaborado por unos 500 expertos científicos y representantes políticos, donde se analizan los conocimientos actuales sobre el cambio climático y el impacto de este proceso sobre el hombre y la naturaleza en distintas regiones del mundo.
Ver Artículo completo: http://www.rtve.es/noticias/20140331/onu-alerta-cambio-climatico-traera-mas-sequias-inundaciones-incendios-europa/907702.shtml
El impacto del calentamiento global es probablemente "grave, generalizado e irreversible", según un informe elaborado por Naciones Unidas.
Científicos y funcionarios reunidos en Japón publicaron la evaluación más exhaustiva hasta la fecha del impacto del cambio climático en el mundo.
Integrantes del panel del clima de Naciones Unidas dicen que su informe brinda pruebas abrumadoras de la escala de estos efectos.
Ver Artículo completo: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/noticias/2014/03/140330_cambio_climatico_onu_informe_jgc.shtml
Sunday, April 06, 2014
A Greenpeace report into the green credentials of tech firms has singled out Amazon as having the "dirtiest cloud" services.
Apple, Facebook and Google were praised for "significant improvements" in energy transparency and attempts to move to 100% renewable energy.
But Amazon Web Services (AWS), which powers many net firms, only uses 15% clean energy, according to the report.
See full Article: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26867362
No se ajustan a los "fines científicos" exigidos por la legislación internacional
Australia acusó a Japón en 2010 de esconder la caza en un programa científico
La Corte Internacional de Justicia (CIJ) ha ordenado este lunes a Japón que "revoque" los permisos de caza de ballenas en la Antártida porque no se ajustan a los "fines científicos" exigidos por la legislación internacional.
"Por 12 votos a cuatro, la Corte decide que Japón tendrá que revocar cualquier permiso o licencia relacionado con el programa Jarpa II y evitar pedir otros permisos en el contexto de ese programa", ha anunciado el presidente del mayor órgano judicial de las Naciones Unidas, Peter Tomka, en la lectura del fallo, que acusa a Tokio de haber llevado un negocio haciéndolo pasar por investigación científica.
Ver Artículo completo: http://www.rtve.es/noticias/20140331/tribunal-haya-ordena-japon-revoque-permisos-caza-ballenas-antartida/907908.shtml
What is quality of life and how can its different aspects be measured appropriately? This question can be answered by a new online publication on Quality of life indicators released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union on the occasion of the International Day of Happiness established by the United Nations and celebrated throughout the world on 20 March. These quality of life measures complement the one indicator, GDP, traditionally used for measuring economic, and often social, development. Two examples from health and education, which are important determinants of the quality of life of individuals, are presented below.
The overall health level of a society is related to its GDP, but the correlation becomes weaker after a certain level of economic development is reached. Based on the relation between the two, EU Member States can be broadly divided into three groups. Those in the central and eastern EU have relatively lower life expectancy and relatively lower GDP per capita. Those in the southern EU, have a higher GDP per capita and a life expectancy which reaches the highest values, while those in the western and northern EU have the highest GDP per capita, but life expectancy at around the same level as in some of the southern Member States, or even slightly lower.
See full Press Release, in pdf format: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_PUBLIC/3-19032014-CP/EN/3-19032014-CP-EN.PDF
One of the most important issues in a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the impact on migration flows – a phenomenon not limited to the world’s poorest regions, warns a Swiss migration expert.
Thousands of Americans, fleeing the intense cold, are seeking refuge in Mexico. OK, that’s science-fiction, but the scene from 2004 Hollywood blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow illustrates a very real issue: climate migration.
By 2100, hundreds of millions of people will have abandoned coastal zones as a result of rising sea levels, highlights the IPCC in the report to be published on Monday.
See full Article: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/science_technology/Climate_migration_also_concerns_rich_countries_.html?cid=38265582