Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Avalon Sustainability School

Programs this year in July in the Spanish Pyrenees & in Brandenburg, Germany, both in English.

Any interest, visit:

Arms Deals in the Dark: secret contracts in the defence sector | space for transparency

Arms Deals in the Dark: secret contracts in the defence sector | space for transparency

Clean technology – Silver lining to China's smog

Clean technology – Silver lining to China's smog

China Considers Imposing Prison Terms for Eating Endangered Species - Businessweek

China Considers Imposing Prison Terms for Eating Endangered Species - Businessweek

Climate change adaptation practice across the EU - Environment - Ecology - EU Bookshop

Climate change adaptation practice across the EU - Environment - Ecology - EU Bookshop

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Haiti: a new anti-corruption law brings hope | space for transparency

Haiti: a new anti-corruption law brings hope | space for transparency

Removing Impediments to Sustainable Economic Development - Corruption


This paper examines causes and consequences of corruption within the process of economic development. It starts by reviewing some of the factors that, over the past couple of decades, have transformed corruption from a subject on the sidelines of economic research to a central preoccupation of policy makers and donors in many countries. Drawing on a vast treasure trove of experiences and insights accumulated during the postwar period and reflected in a growing body of academic research, the paper analyzes many of the institutional mechanisms that sustain corruption and the impact of corruption on development. This paper argues that many forms of corruption stem from the distributional attributes of the state in its role as the economy’s central agent of resource allocation. What is the impact of corruption on public finances and on the characteristics and performance of the private sector? What distortions does corruption introduce in the allocation of resources and in the relationships among economic agents in the marketplace? The paper also addresses the question of what can be done about corruption and discusses the role of economic policies in developing the right sorts of incentives and institutions to reduce the incidence of corruption. Particular attention is paid to business regulation, subsidies, the budget process, international conventions, and the role of new technologies. The paper concludes with some thoughts on the moral dimensions of corruption.

See full Report, in pdf format:

OKR: Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided

OKR: Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided

Legacy of corruption: a challenge at the ballot box and beyond | space for transparency

Legacy of corruption: a challenge at the ballot box and beyond | space for transparency

Arctic research funded by the European Union - Environment - Ecology - EU Bookshop

Arctic research funded by the European Union - Environment - Ecology - EU Bookshop

Assessing the U.S. Environmental Movement on Earth Day 2014

Happy Earth Day 2014

Earth Day 2014 Dedicated to 'Green' Cities

Cute Video HAPPY EARTH DAY 2014

Happy Earth Day 2014!

Earth Day 2014 (Short Film) [PSA]

Earth Day 2014 Promo

Earth Day 2014 with Rufous Hummingbird - Google Doodle

Earth Day 2014 From Orbit #GlobalSelfie #EarthRightNow

Earth Day today

Sunday, April 20, 2014

U.N. climate chief urges radical clean-up of oil, gas industry

Report Finds Restoring Fisheries Triple Win For Business, Community and Environment

Global dip in renewable energy investment

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:

How CEOs can save the world from global warming

WHO World Immunization Week

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Arctic Sea Ice Reaches Annual Peak, But Falls Far Short of Average

Bringing U.S. Energy Policy Into the 21st Century

A shifting climate could mean trouble for one of Africa’s staple crops

Reducing car pollution easier than UN experts thought

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:

Supermarkets criticised over food waste

Friday, April 18, 2014

As Scientists Examine Landslide, Questions About Logging's Potential Role

China pursues the holy grail of ocean energy, in a massive way

Car-Sharing Means There Are Already 500,000 Fewer Vehicles On The Road

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

Window closing on world’s ability to meet global warming targets: UN study

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Food and Climate Justice

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:

See full Press Release:

Can Deserts Stop Global Warming? No, but They Help, Study Says

Científicos reconocen fracaso reiterado en las metas para reducir emisiones

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:

BBC News - World 'needs Plan B' on climate - IPCC report

BBC News - World 'needs Plan B' on climate - IPCC report

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Europe’s greenest and cleanest cities

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:

BBC News - World 'needs Plan B' on climate - IPCC report

BBC News - World 'needs Plan B' on climate - IPCC report

No one and nowhere immune to climate change: UN

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:

Annual income of the 113 richest people in Latin America could lift 25 million out of poverty

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:

Monday, April 14, 2014

When It Comes to Shared Prosperity, 40 Is Key

3 reasons to read about 1 easy solution to extreme inequality: Free public services

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:

In 2012, 42% of treated municipal waste was recycled or composted

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
For the EU4 there has been a significant increase in the share of municipal waste recycled or composted, from 18% in 1995 to 42% in 2012. The amount of municipal waste generated varies significantly across Member States. Denmark, with 668 kg per person, had the highest amount of waste generated in 2012, followed by Cyprus, Luxembourg and Germany with lower amounts but above 600 kg per person and Malta, Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Finland and Greece with values between 500 and 600 kg. The United Kingdom, Lithuania, Spain, Sweden, Bulgaria, Belgium, Portugal and Hungary had values between 400 and 500 kg, while values of below 400 kg per person were recorded in Croatia, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Estonia. See full Press Release, in pdf format:

WEF - Towards a New Climate and Development Agenda

Sunday, April 13, 2014

How can we help create more women leaders?

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:

Man versus Mother Nature

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:

Sustainable development - socioeconomic development

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:

IPCC Report: A changing climate creates pervasive risks but opportunities exist for effective responses

Responses will face challenges with high warming of the climate

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:

Saturday, April 12, 2014

What Climate Change Means in Dollars and Cents

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:

5 critical things we learned from the latest IPCC report on climate change

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:

IPCC - AR5 Working Group II

ndia Mulls Fuel Standards Lagging Brazil as Cities Choke

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:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Corporate Social Responsibility’s New Role in the Middle East

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:

Melinda Gates examines why women farmers across the continent produce less than men. - Project Syndicate

Melinda Gates examines why women farmers across the continent produce less than men. - Project Syndicate

Fourteen Interview Questions to Help You Hire Your Next Innovator

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
  • Agility
  • Resilience
See full Article:

Rwanda: A Model for Building Strong Safety Nets

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Donald Sadoway: The missing link to renewable energy

A Global Check-up: We Need Safer and Cleaner Mobility

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:

The Future is here | Renewable Energy Source 2014

Climate Action Now: Building Scalable Solutions

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:

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

World Bank VP Rachel Kyte on 'Climate Action Now: Building Scalable Solutions'

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:

Press releases - Transparency International board alarmed at crackdowns on civil society around the world

Press releases - Transparency International board alarmed at crackdowns on civil society around the world

Renewable Energy in Chile